Madonna – Holiday
For us Dinosaurs of the 80s there are some moments of the year that, every year, bring us back to very specific songs, released at a particular time or that contain particular references in the text to some time of the year. The first example that come to my mind is undoubtedly the season of Do they know it’s Christmas, but there’s more.
Of course there has always been a song that praised holidays, a song that not only had a resounding success, but was of great importance in marking the career of the queen of the 80s. Perhaps without this song something would have gone differently.
We are in September 1983. Madonna had launched her first album, with the same name, a couple of months earlier. Two songs had already been released before the album, Everybody in October 1982, and Burning up in March 1983. Good success both times, and Madonna had started to get some exposure, but nothing compared to what would happen with the release of the third single, Holiday.
The song was written by two members of a New York dance group, Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens, who had tried to entrust it to musicians and producers, but without great success. As always, however, history is made up of the right things happening. In this case, the story changed when the two authors met a common friend who was a DJ, and by chance he asked them if they had any song to give him. Actually it wasn’t really for him, because he was collaborating on an unknown singer’s album and in short, he needed a song.
That DJ was John Benitez, also known as Jimbo or Jellybean, who became one of the biggest DJs and producers on the New York scene. In fact he was trying to help his girlfriend at the time to finish her first album, so when Lisa and Curtis gave him Holiday, Jellybean Benitez thought that all in all Madonna, his girlfriend, would more or less be fine with the song, also because he was planning to put his hands on the song to make it a little more danceable. The song was all in all simple, but very catchy, and expressed a quite universal feeling: the need to disconnect and take a vacation.
On September 7, 1983, Holiday was released, and it also had a video, but it was done in great savings: in a room, you can see only Madonna and two other people dancing, a scene almost more like a gym or a dance class rather than a disco. The two people are Madonna’s brother Christopher and a friend named Erica Bell or Erika Belle. The video was made on a budget because no one thought the song would have this success, but Holiday, as simple as it was, really stuck to everybody’s head, and made it to top ten in America and in great part of Europe, and actually launched Madonna’s career. By the way, this video circulated very little, but a more professional one was never shot. In place of this video, Madonna performances taken during her concerts were often used.
In fact, Holiday has always been one of the songs that Madonna was most fond of, and it could probably be the one that has been performed multiple times in concerts during Madonna’s long career. Madonna has always been so grateful to this song that it actually became the closing theme for her concerts. I could be wrong, but I think that among the many world tours of the singer, Holiday was not performed only in one tour, namely in the 2006 Confessions Tour. So, thinking of all Madonna’s concerts in her career, we can really say that this song took Madonna and her fans on vacation for thousands of times indeed!
Madonna on Wikipedia