I Know That Song! The One Where Madonna Plays The Cowbell

Today’s song from 1983 was given to the singer by her producer JellyBean Benitez when she was looking for a hit for her debut album. It ended up becoming her first mainstream hit single in the US, peaking at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. She was only 25 at the time and knew how to rock a mean cowbell, which she was listed for playing in the album’s liner notes.

It is a classic party anthem that became her first mainstream hit But the song almost didn’t happen: It was a last-minute substitute for another track on her first LP., but there was just one problem: today’s singer found out that a song she had recorded called “Ain’t No Big Deal” had already gone to disco act Barracuda, so the track was no longer an option. 

A replacement was urgently needed. “And I had a demo of [Today’s song]’ so I played it for her, and she loved it,” the producer says.

This song became this future superstar’s first single to hit that chart and jump-started one of the biggest careers in pop history. 

Today’s song could come actually out today and be a huge hit. With lyrics like: "We can turn this world around. And bring back all of those happy days. It is time for the good times. Forget about the bad times”

Because of her soulful delivery on today’s song and the fact that the song was getting played on black radio, there were those who didn’t realize that today’s singer was actually white. “Back then, people thought she was black,” says her then producer. “They didn’t know.” 

In 2003, Q Magazine ranked "this song at number 88 in their list of the "1001 Best Songs Ever" and she still performs this song on tour all these years later...usually as part of the encore. 

We are talking about Madonna and “Holiday” on I Know That Song! Check out the low-tech video, back when she was recording herself in a dance studio.

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