This was recorded for the soundtrack to the wrestling film Vision Quest, which also featured a guest appearance by Madonna herself, who played a singer at a local restaurant. After the success of this song, the film was renamed Crazy For You in some European countries to capitalize on the song's popularity.
Madonna was relatively unknown when this song was recorded, as only her first album had been released. Bettis and Lind wrote it based on the script of Vision Quest, not for Madonna's voice. In fact, they were aghast to find out the Material Girl would be taking on the song. Bettis recalled to Billboard magazine: "'Borderline' was out at the time and I said, 'Excuse Me? This is for Madonna? Really? Can she sing a song like this? Jon and I were surprised at the choice of artist at the time, if you want to know the truth."
When Madonna's second album Like A Virgin was released in November 1984, her popularity soared, but all of her singles up to that point were medium or uptempo dance songs that didn't showcase her singing ability. When "Crazy For You" was released in March 1985, the ballad proved that Madonna could handle a challenging song and had singing talent to go along with her image.
Madonna recorded her vocals in one take.
In February 1991, a remix of this song by Shep Pettibone, Madonna's producer of the choice at the time, was re-released in the UK. Again, the song failed to reach the top spot in the UK and peaked at #2. However its combined sales topped 750,000, making it her best-selling British single to date.
A worldwide hit, this reached #1 in Australia and Japan.
This song earned Madonna her first Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 1986 ceremony. She lost to Whitney Houston for "Saving All My Love For You
Producer John "Jellybean" Benitez had only worked on dance/pop songs before this and was understandably nervous about approaching a ballad. "I was tense because I had never done a record like this," he told Billboard magazine. "Everything I did was totally on instinct. I tried to make the song stand on its own, but at the same time work in the two scenes (in which) it was used in the movie."
Songwriters Bettis and Lind, who were left disappointed after the first sessions, praised Jellybean for bringing in award-winning composer Rob Mounsey to transform the song into a hit record with a new arrangement and background vocals.
This was featured in the 1994 romantic comedy 13 Going on 30, starring Jennifer Garner and in the Will & Grace episode "Lows in the Mid-Eighties" in 2000.