“The whole thing was done on a shoestring budget,” Shep Pettibone, the track’s co-writer and producer, told Billboard in 2015. Allotted just $5,000 by Warner Bros. (now Warner) 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 said, 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 dated 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.
In June 2019, Madonna released her latest album, Madame X, which arrived as her ninth No. 1 on the Billboard 200. “Vogue,” meanwhile, continues to be a staple of her live shows.
A version of this article first appeared in the May 23, 2015, issue of Billboard magazine.