This Used To Be My Playground

Album: A League Of Their Own soundtrack (1992)
Charted: 3 1

Songfacts®:

  • Madonna scored big with another motion picture theme song, this one for the movie A League Of Their Own. The film, which Madonna starred in along with Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Rosie O'Donnell, was based on the true story of an all-women baseball team that was popular during World War II.

    Because of licensing issues, the song wasn't included on the film's soundtrack.
  • The song is a slow ballad about a woman who can't and let go of her past, with the implication that her present circumstances aren't so good. The lyrics fit well with the film's premise as the now-elderly women reunite and recall their glory days as baseball stars. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA, for above 2
  • Madonna wrote this with Shep Pettibone, a New York producer who she collaborated with on her Erotica album, including "Vogue" and the ballad "Rain."

    Pettibone was thrilled to get to work with all live musicians for the first time on this song. He told Billboard: "We took the track and put a live drummer to it and live strings and live piano. We didn't have any strings written for the song [originally]. Jeremy Lubbock was chosen to do the arrangement on the strings and I think that had a lot to do with the final outcome of the song."

    But working with the orchestra did not turn out how Pettibone expected. He told Icon in 1992: "Everything went fine until the point when the orchestra played their parts; we didn't like what we heard. Madonna and I had to change the whole arrangement, right there in the studio, with a full orchestra sitting there getting paid for taking up space - around $15,000 for three hours, $3000 for every half hour over that. And of course, Lubbock was talking to two people who didn't know a C from a B natural. The pressure was on.

    I can only sing the notes I hear at the moment, so that's what I did. Madonna and I stood there over my little Mac, singing the notes, and Lubbock would go, 'Oh, that's a G; Oh, that's a B' and that's how it got done. We completed the session in 2 hours and 58 minutes – two minutes away from another three grand."

    Jeremy Lubbock, among many other credits, worked with Madonna on I'm Breathless, the soundtrack album for Dick Tracy (1990), another film starring the singer.
  • Columbia Records' music supervisor Jay Landers had a bit of fun at Madonna's expense when he received a rough cut of the movie, which none of the actors had seen yet. He was cruising down Doheny Boulevard in Los Angeles when the singer coincidentally pulled up next to him. He told Billboard magazine: "I rolled down the window and held up the tape and said, 'You are so terrific in this movie! You're going to be so happy!' She chased me all the way down Doheny and at the next red light said, 'Who are you? Can I see the movie?' And I said, 'No, I'm sorry,' and drove away."
  • The video for this song, which shows Madonna singing from the pages of a photo album, bears a strong resemblance to Boy George's video for his 1987 song "To Be Reborn." The similarities were not lost on the Culture Club singer, who angrily dubbed it "This Used to Be My Video" in his autobiography.

Comments: 8

  • Left Body Kick from Middle Class UsaReally good song, really good lyrics. I think of my last girlfriend with this song ; we were together a long time. Sometimes I have a hard time listening to this because it takes me back to a lot of things I remember about her. “Don’t hold on to the past , well that’s too much to ask.” That’s true I can tell you. I opened up to her like I never did with anybody else. I think of her every day. It’s hard during the pandemic because sometimes I want to reach out and talk to her because she was real. But I’m the one who ended things although it was strained at the end, and sometimes I feel in the wrong if I call her. But I miss how we used to be together because things were fucking awesome the first several years, not months, years! There’s a lot of things I don’t wanna do anymore because she’s not around and a lot of places I don’t wanna go anymore because she’s not around. The lyrics made me think of a place where someone longs to be because that person knew them back when. She is that person. She knew me. She used to talk to me different. But we wanted different things and the same frustrations came about. But goddamn, I think about her all the time. I think maybe I met her in a past life. The best things in life are free. That’s true. There are times I wish she was standing with me. But that would be living in the past.
  • “i’m Not A Crook” from Surf Town, UsaThis is a great song. I heard it on a lot as of late. Seems to be about a woman who doesn’t wanna let go of the past.

    What’s new.
    I can relate. I was with a woman, a very beautiful lady. She either had BPD, borderline personality disorder or BPD traits. But I’m not a doctor. I’m more of a crook. But I was a good boy with her. Because I feel good around her. I feel different around here. But little did I know. It would not last. It could not last.

    If you’ve never been in a relationship with someone who has BPD, let me tell you. You are in for something different. Enjoy the ride, and I hope you buckle up.

    Sometimes I wish she was still here with me. But she pushed me away. And I got sick of fighting, making up, and walking on egg shells. In the beginning it was f--king awesome. I couldn’t wait to see her. She made me feel so special. She made me feel different. And that feeling did not go away. For years. Of course I did not want to get married and I told her that and that’s another story but she had a certain ability to heal me with touch. Her touch, healed me. And I think she knew that.

    And the fighting began, the resentment, taking her issues out on me, the accusing, walking on egg shells, the picking at little things, etc.
    It became too much. Unhealthy.

    But you know what? I still think of her every day. And I miss her. I’ll probably never get over her. It’s been over a year. She was someone different. She looked at me different. I was “the supply”. I was giving her attention and love.

    Every time I hear this song I think of her. And I think of those times that I wish she was still standing here and we were laughing, on one of our excursions.

    “Don’t hold onto the past, well that’s too much to ask.”
  • Left High Kick from Middle Class UsaReally good song, great lyrics. Great job by the material girl.

    Man, The song is sometimes hard to listen to.

    I think of my last gf when I hear this one especially when she says:

    “Don’t hold on to the past,
    Well that’s too much to ask.”

    “This used to be the place I ran to..
    I wish you were standing here with me.”

    Goddamn right.

    Although I’m done with that relationship and it did not end well, I can’t help but hold on to things we did in the past, my upbringing, things I shared with her, things that were said between us, places we went to, and places we would run to together. Some of those places, I won’t go to now. I just don’t want to.

    It takes me back to those days of yesteryear. But I guess that would be holding onto the past.

    Life is short. Guess I have to find a new person for that.
  • Angel from PennsylvaniaI'm sure there's multiple meanings in the lyrics if this song, as there are with most but, I know one for this particular song is a tribute to Madonna's best friend Martin when she first moved to NY. He had just moved from FL and they lived and worked together. They were extremely close. Unfortunately, it was the beginning of AIDS, not much was known, Martin developed the disease and, although Madonna was a star at this point, living in Cali and married to her homophobic abuser, was devastated when she learned he had been stricken. She paid most of his expenses, including medical and was holding his hand as he died. This song is also about her memories of him and her early life in NY. She's stated many times that even though she was poor at the time, it was the best time of her life because of the friends and experiences she had. NY is way different now she has said.
  • Leo from Westminster 1, MdThis Used to Be My Playground-beautiful art song about an America where Mustangs once roamed free and Corvettes were king-a Michigan that Madonna is unable to recognize because of her mother's death. A song of absolute existential sadness, Playground is absolutely chilling and haunting. Madonna Ciccone-Our Lady of Sadness, brilliant job!
  • Joey from Okanogan, WaMadonna did an amazing job of making this and all of her other ballads sound highly dramatic. Her vocals are what makes her ballads dramatic.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnYes Madonna can sing a ballad. Loved the video, she is remarkable when she allows herself to be vulnerable.
  • Jason from Dublin, Irelandsounds sad
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