REVOLUTION KEYBOARDIST MATT FINK ENJOYED MADONNA’s TRIBUTE

A key member of Prince’s Revolution enjoyed Madonna’s Billboard Music Awards tribute to the late superstar. But he felt there was room for improvement, too.

Revolution keyboardist “Doctor” Matt Fink, who continued playing with Prince for five years after the Prince dissolved the band in 1986, is threading the needle between critics who loved Madonna’s performance and fans on social media who have been caustically critical.

I’m a huge Madonna fan, always have been, and I know her heart was in, all of it,” Fink tells Billboard. “My own personal opinion was I wish she’d done more of a medley, maybe, not just ‘Nothing Compares’ and go right into ‘Purple Rain’ with Stevie Wonder. I thought there should have been more thought put into it as a real tribute, give the fans more than two songs. Maybe she should’ve done three or four where it’s more medley style and culminating with ‘Purple Rain.‘”

Fink — who’s part of the Minneapolis-based Prince tribute band the Purple Xperience — also echoes the sentiment of some fans online who opined that the Revolution should have been invited to take part in the tribute, not unlike the Eagles playing at the Grammys just weeks after Glenn Frey passed away. “I wish the producers of the show had asked affiliated Prince artists to be involved with it, too,” says Fink, although he quickly adds that, “I don’t know if the Revolution would have done it. Even if we’d been asked in a proper way I think we may have turned it down because…it’s too soon. I don’t know how that would be perceived. But nobody asked us.”

The Revolution does plan to ride again, however. Fink confirmed that the group plans to start doing shows together later this year, following a large-scale memorial concert that’s expected to take place during mid-August in Minneapolis. “Maybe October or November, December we’ll start to do a few shows here in the U.S., and it would slowly ramp up throughout 2017 to possibly go overseas into Europe and Japan, that kind of thing,” Fink says.

The group, sans Prince, did reunite in 2012 for an American Heart Association benefit at First Avenue in Minneapolis put together by drummer Bobby Z, which provided a template for how the upcoming Revolution shows will work. “Wendy [Melvoin] will front the band and sing,” Fink says, “and we’ll have guest singers possibly join us on stage. We don’t know who yet — that’s still to be determined. But we have offers from various people who are recognizable.

Fink adds that Prince had even expressed some interest in reuniting with the Revolution in the fall of 2014, the last time Fink saw Prince. “He was considering it at that time, actually,” Fink recalls. “He acted like he was open to it. It’s something that we’ve tried to do over the years…and he really didn’t want to, so we just put it on hold. Now we feel like it’s more timely than ever to do it.

Fans might get the chance to hear the Revolution again on record as well, according to Fink, once Prince’s vaults are opened and explored. “At the end of 1986 there were definitely two albums in the can that never saw the light of day,” he says. “It’s stuff that was recorded with the group and co-written with the group, just a continuation of what we were doing after the Parade album and before Prince made the decision to disband the group at that point.” Fink adds that the Revolution members have made “an open offer to Prince’s family to put those out as soon as possible.

Until all this transpires, however, the Revolution members have been in close touch, dealing with their former boss’ shocking death. “We’re consoling each other,” Fink says. “We’re all incredibly shocked and saddened by his passing. We loved him quite a lot. Even though I’m pretty far removed from working with him, I never stopped communicating with him over the years and always respected him as a musician. You can’t deny what a talent he was. It’s hard, because you think about how he went, how he passed, and it’s very hard to take. It’s just not fitting for someone of his stature to have gone the way he did. It bothers me to no end that he was possibly alone or that it was possibly drug use and it wasn’t addressed properly.

Not surprisingly, the Purple Xperience has been “inundated” with offers since Prince’s passing. The group went ahead with a show in Chicago the night after Prince died, and Fink acknowledges that he feels a bit more responsibility now to carry the tour for that particular period of Prince’s career.

The fans have been extremely grateful and appreciative to be able to come out and hear the music performed like it was back in the day, accurately, and having a former member of the Revolution guiding that and making it work in a way that sounds a lot like the records, as close as we can get it,” Fink explains. “We’re doing our best to emulate the artist. I get fans who say, ‘I was unable to see Prince, I was never able to get to a concert’ or ‘He didn’t come to our city’ or ‘I couldn’t afford the tickets’ or any number of reasons. So for them it’s the next best thing to seeing Prince live…and that’s what tribute bands should do.”

Source : Billboard

“LIKE A VIRGIN” RETURNS TO THE CHART SINCE 1987

Madonna’s classic album, Like a Virgin, returns to the chart “for the very first time” this may since 1987. Like Panic! at the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor, Like a Virgin was also sale priced for just 99 cents during the tracking week in the Google Play store. Consumers snapped up the set, yielding 5,000 in digital sales (up 1,028 percent – a gain from less than 1,000 sold the previous week) of its total 6,000 sales for the week (up 888 percent). Its 6,000 units total (nearly all from pure album sales) were up 835 percent. Thanks to Google, Like a Virgin scores its best sales week since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991, and its first week on the Billboard 200 chart since Sept. 19, 1987. The effort was Madonna’s second studio album, and first No. 1, spending three weeks atop the chart in 1985.

Source : Billboard

MADONNA’S PURPLE PERFECT PRINCE TRIBUTE

The only thing offensive about Madonna’s tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards was the offense it triggered: Complaints, Twitter feuds erupting like purple spitballs, a petition to get her replaced! You’d think people were fighting over the proper structure to replace the World Trade Center. In our social media universe we often seem to take things as seriously.

You don’t have to like Madonna, like her tribute, like anything about her, to respect the BBMA‘s choice to have her perform. Never mind that it wasn’t the Grammy’s, the Oscars, the Nobel Peace Prize or whatever ceremonies that will be honoring Prince’s death. There will be many, forever, and it’s beside the point. The BET awards promo, right after the ceremony, with the tagline “Yeah, We Saw that. Don’t worry. We got you,” was shameful and an an insult to all involved, including Stevie Wonder.

Madonna, in case anyone’s forgotten, was the biggest female star of the 1980s and the most famous woman in the world. Prince was one of the biggest, along with Michael Jackson and a few others—Bono, Boy George, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, Janet, Whitney. But the first three share something distinct: They didn’t just capitalize on the era; they defined it.

Jackson is gone too, and he and Madonna and Prince were born within a couple of months from each other, all in the Midwest. The three of them rose to incomprehensible heights and splashed across the MTV generation like thunder. They dazzled us, each differently, all exhilarating. They pushed boundaries we didn’t know existed, in song and on our TV screens, intertwining sex with love and androgyny and our own perceptions of masculine versus feminine. And like so few others from that time, their careers flourished long after the VJ’s died.

Madonna and Prince did a duet on her career-defining Like a Prayer album, appropriately titled “Love Song,” and if you’ve ever heard her discuss Prince, it’s clear she idolized him. Adored him like so many of his fans. It was more than appropriate to have Madonna do the tribute; it was an honor. Madonna is the Queen of Pop, by many accounts the most successful female recording artist of all time. Her peers are leaving us. For those of us who grew up under the umbrella of these giants, it’s been a heartbreaking time.

The performance was royalty honoring royalty, and to turn it into something else, something political, racist, is demeaning to the memory of Prince, his music and his legacy. Music, as Prince knew, transcended the trite. He worked with everyone, wrote for everyone, performed for everyone. It’s also discourteous to Madonna and disrespectful of her achievements and monumental career in the music world, once again.

Madonna performed a love song for Prince, and it wasn’t about who’s the most talented performer on Earth, or who’s the best (there are no “bests” in subjective mediums), or who can prove they’re the right person to honor a dead man. No one wins that prize. The best we can do is appreciate the gifts Prince left us and allow people to show their love and share their memories and keep his spirit alive. That’s what Madonna did on the BBMA‘s, and she did it simply, elegantly, and pure of heart.

Because, in their own words, “this is not a love song that I want to sing.”

Source : HuffingtonPost

ONCE IN A LIFETIME : Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince

In the Beginning…

The waters flowing through the Great Lakes region were magical in the spring and summer of 1958, as the births of Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson all occurred within a mere two months of each other. Prince Rogers Nelson was born June 7 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, followed by Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone on August 16 in Detroit, Michigan, and Michael Joseph Jackson nearly two weeks later on August 29 in Gary, Indiana. Each of these musical innovators would become household names, putting their stamp on pop culture in their own, unique ways. While these artists’ styles and work have been compared and contrasted for decades, what’s often overlooked is the impact their formative years had on their young, developing minds, and ultimately their sense of self and worldview.


The precocious trifecta of future megastars grew up in devoutly religious households: Madonna’s family was Roman Catholic; the Jacksons were members of the Jehovah’s Witness faith; and Prince was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist. A foundational religious discipline would easily lend itself to the establishment of a strict and rigorous work ethic later in life. Each of these rising talents would have a pivotal childhood heartbreak, which forced them to grow up quickly and discover creative ways to cope with emotional trauma. At the age of 5, Madonna would lose her mother to breast cancer, never to regain the unconditional love and bond of a maternal figure. And at the age of 6, Michael Jackson would become the lead singer of the Jackson 5, forcing him out of the playground into the working world of show business. Prince’s parents would separate and divorce before he was 10 years old, leaving his family broken and home life scattered.

All three entertainers had strained relationships with their fathers, which would inspire some of their future work: In Prince’s movie, Purple Rain, we see his character grappling with a critical and abusive father and in Madonna’s autobiographical single “Oh Father,” she laments: “You can’t hurt me now, I got away from you, I never thought I would.”

Baby I’m a Star!

Budding stardom was recognized early on for these recording artists.

Michael Jackson stepped into entertainment at the age when most kids are making milestones in kindergarten. Led by his father/manager, Michael grew up on the road, in the studio and on the stage. “I am most comfortable on stage than any other place in the world,” he shared in a 1980 interview on the TV program 20/20. Michael recorded his first album with the Jackson 5, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, at the age of 11. Being a part of the Motown family at an impressionable age allowed Michael to learn from some of the greats — backstage at the Apollo watching legendary James Brown and Jackie Wilson captivate audiences with their soulful singing and breathtaking choreography, and in the studio quizzing producers on how the recording process works. By the age of 20, Michael would produce 15 more studio albums with the Jackson 5, and later the Jacksons, developing and perfecting his vocal style, dance skills and songwriting abilities, before the release of his smash hit, solo album debut, Off the Wall, at the age of 21.

Continue reading “ONCE IN A LIFETIME : Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince”

MADONNA’S ONLY WRONGDOING IS THAT SHE IS STILL ALIVE

queenWhen Madonna honored Prince at last night’s Billboard Music Awards, I thought to myself, there is no other artist more suitable to honor the music and art of the tragically deceased Prince. After all, Madonna’s close relationship with Prince is well known and documented (check their duet- Love Song on her Like a Prayer Album) and let’s be honest, she is the only artist from the “Prince era” still managing to fill stadiums and make hit records (her latest Rebel Heart Tour grossed over US$170 million, making her the highest grossing solo tour artist and her latest album peaked at number one worldwide when released last year).

So what went wrong with Madonna’s tribute? Or should I say, why has the whole world become so anti-Madonna?

My honest answer- the world simply cannot accept the fact that Madonna, a music icon and legend, is still alive. But not just that! She is 57 and looks better than girls half her age. Hell, she even sings better than the latest parade of manufactured Barbie pop stars. Yes, she might not be scoring Top 10 hits like in her prime but people still pay big bucks to see her and the fact that her latest album which was leaked 3 months before its release still managed to become number one album worldwide, says a lot about a woman that many claim is “irrelevant”.

If Madonna (god forbid) died tomorrow, all of the haters would post her music videos on Facebook, buy her albums and praise her as a genius and a true revolutionary. Her name would be trending on Twitter (not because of hate but praise) and I am confident that radios will play her music nonstop(unlike now). They would say that she changed the world, paved the way for women around the world, fought for sexual revolution and stood for her beliefs. Continue reading “MADONNA’S ONLY WRONGDOING IS THAT SHE IS STILL ALIVE”

MADONNA & STEVIE WONDER PAY TRIBUTE TO PRINCE AT 2016 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS

BMA (13)

The announcement that Madonna would be paying tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards caused no shortage of controversy — perhaps understandably. After all, Prince was probably the greatest musical genius of his generation; while Madonna is a phenomenal talent at many things, her chops as a musician are maybe not at the top of that list.

But the tribute is much more fitting than it might seem to some. More than any other music stars, the two defined the ‘80s, and they enjoyed a kind of frenemy relationship that saw them collaborating several times over the years and hanging out even more — the most recent time that we know of was a late-night private concert at Paisley Parkin October that was attended by around 60 people, about half of whom were Madonna and her entourage, when she was in Minnesota on her Rebel Heart tour. Continue reading “MADONNA & STEVIE WONDER PAY TRIBUTE TO PRINCE AT 2016 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS”

MADONNA SILENCED THE HATERS WITH HER TOUCHING PRINCE TRIBUTE

BMA (2)After an intense week of fan furor over the Billboard Music Awards’ choice to have Madonna perform a tribute to Prince, the pop icon closed the show with a solid, not-terrible tribute — and showed why she was a smart choice for the job all along.

She didn’t exactly sound wonderful — pitchy at times, screeching at others. But Madonna’s never really been a vocalist. She’s a performer and entertainer, and that’s where she succeeded. Madonna didn’t match the purple one’s vocal prowess, but she did give us a feeling (almost) worthy of Prince: dramatically revealing herself in a purple throne; wearing a shimmery purple suit; and white lace that harkened back to the era when he became a megastar.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” was the perfect choice of opener, and the montage of gothic, cemetery imagery flashing words including “Immortality” and “Brother” helped convey the appropriate (if a bit creepy) level of sadness. Their closing rendition of “Purple Rain” was decent, unremarkable even, but the fact is that very few people on the planet can do justice to a Prince song, especially now.

But what Madonna most got right was sandwiching herself between Questlove and Stevie Wonder. She was in a tricky spot, since the people who petitioned against her felt Madonna had little in common with Prince, versus more skilled musicians/vocalists. Friends of Prince including Wonder, Chaka Khan and Sheila E. came to mind. Accusations of “whitewashing” (when a white artist becomes the face of a form people of color invented) were bubbling up — a charge Madonna herself had heard before, especially after “Vogue.” Continue reading “MADONNA SILENCED THE HATERS WITH HER TOUCHING PRINCE TRIBUTE”

MADONNA WEARS GUCCI AT THE BBMAS

It’s safe to say that B. Akerlund is having a very big year. After putting Beyoncé into that mustard-color Roberto Cavalli confection for Lemonade, the stylist was enlisted by Madonna to dress the icon for her tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.

And judging by the Instagrams issued by the Queen of Pop leading up to Sunday night’s event—from lace layered under dangling crucifixes, to paparazzi shots of the pair in matching shades of yellow from the late ’80s, to stage pictures of Prince clad in thigh-high socks, bikini briefs, lace arm-warmers, and a fringed, beaded top—this was not an affair in which the costume considerations would be taken lightly.

When dealing with figures that loom as large in the collective cultural psyche as Madonna and Prince—both with their own distinct sartorial codas (and bestowed with such particularly unique lore)—the fashion has a lot to live up to. And thanks to Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, it did.

Madonna took to the stage for her emotional, intimate tribute, singing “Nothing Compares 2 U” before being joined by Stevie Wonder for a duet of “Purple Rain,” in an embroidered metallic brocade three-piece suit with swirling purple paisley print and underlying frilled blouse—a look that, thanks to the film adaptation, is as synonymous with Prince as the symbol he once took on as a name.

(And it’s worth noting that suiting made a few appearances earlier in the evening, in Kesha’s purple and embroidered white Gram Parsons–inspired versions, both vintage Nudie, and the ladylike Chanel take worn by Demi Lovato.) Michele, who has worked with the Material Girl before, most notably on Latin-influenced costumes for her Rebel Heart tour, perhaps put it best in the note sent to Vogue.com accompanying his sketch: “It’s more than a performance, it’s a real act of love.”

vogue.com

THE  PRODUCER OF “BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS” DEFENDS MADONNA

NEW YORK — The executive producer of Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards is defending the decision to have Madonna pay homage to Prince, which has been met with some criticism online and sparked a Change.org petition.

Listen, I think everybody is entitled to their opinion and everyone can have their own opinion, but I will say that we are honoured and could not be more excited for Madonna to be on the show and to pay tribute to someone that was her friend and her peer and her colleague,” Mark Bracco said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be fantastic.

Madonna and Prince collaborated on “Love Song” from Madonna’s 1989 album, “Like a Prayer.” Bracco didn’t say what song Madonna would perform, but said her tribute would be “really beautiful.”

It’s going to be very, very intimate and very respectful, and I think it’s something that is really going to pay tribute to Prince as the incredible, groundbreaking artist that he was and the influence that he had on music,” he said.
After the initial announcement earlier this month, a Change.org petition was launched. Bracco said that after Prince died on April 21, the show’s producers brainstormed ways to honour his legacy. And then Madonna’s folks called.

Honestly her team gave a call and inquired about what we might be thinking about and it led to many conversations about what would she want to do and how would we want to shape it creatively,” he said. “And after everyone (got) comfortable with exactly what the direction was, we all collectively wanted to go into Madonna, that she would do this and she has been very, very involved in how this will all unfold creatively.

Prince was found dead in his suburban Minneapolis home at age 57. Madonna is also 57.
The Billboard Awards will air live at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Other performers include Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Pink, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, the Go-Go’s, Nick Jonas, Meghan Trainor, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Tove Lo, Troye Sivan and Lukas Graham.