Rewinding the Charts: 25 Years Ago, Madonna Was in 'Vogue' Atop the Hot 100
In 1990, with the help of a video directed by David Fincher, the pop star's No. 1 single propelled a dance craze.
ONE OF MADONNA'S BIGGEST hits – the 1990 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 dance anthem "Vogue" – had surprisingly humble beginnings. "The whole thing was done on a shoestring budget," says Shep Pettibone, the track's co-writer and producer. Allotted just $5,000 by Warner Bros. Records to create what was initially slated as a B-side, he finished the song in three weeks, recording the then-31-year-old pop star's vocals in a "basement on West 56th Street" in New York, where, he says, a closet had been converted into a vocal booth.
The song starts with suspense-building synths before kicking into "Philly Salsoul"-style house music, and its lyrics and sumptuous black-and-white video, directed by future Academy Award nominee David Fincher (Gone Girl, The Social Network), celebrate voguing, a style of dance popularized in New York's mostly gay ballroom club scene in the 1980s that mimicks fashion-shoot poses.
Released as an A-side, "Vogue" topped the Hot 100 on May 19, 1990. Madonna and Pettibone also collaborated on the singer's 1992 No. 1 ballad, "This Used to Be My Playground," but Pettibone left the music business in the late '90s and now owns The Empress Hotel and Paradise Nightclub in Asbury Park, N.J.
Madonna released her latest album, Rebel Heart, in March, and "Vogue" continues to be a staple of her live shows.
A version of this article first appeared in the May 23 issue of Billboard magazine.