"Vogueing" was a dance craze popular in the gay community where dancers used elaborate hand gestures and frequently stopped to pose. This song brought the dance style to the mainstream and solidified Madonna's standing as an icon in the gay community.
Madonna's best friend Debi Mazar first noticed the Vogue craze while they were out clubbing. She was fascinated by the way these men would "Strike a pose" while holding their bodies in strange positions. Madonna took the idea to the New York producer Shep Pettibone, who she had recently begun working with, and they wrote the song together. Pettibone was a DJ at Sound Factory, which is the club where Madonna saw the dancing.
This song was originally written as the B-side to "Keep It Together," a single release in America only. However, when Shep Pettibone played "Vogue" to the record company executives at Sire, they decided that the song was too good to waste on a B-side.
Madonna mentions many glamorous actors and actresses in the lyrics, including Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and Jean Harlow. Some of the mentions are a little forced: "They had style, they had grace, Rita Hayworth gave good face."
Lauren Bacall was the last surviving legendary actor or actress mentioned in this song. She passed away after a stroke on August 12, 2014. Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Joe DiMaggio (the only non actor mentioned), Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, and Lana Turner all previously departed before the husky-voiced Hollywood icon.
The video featured the "House Of Extravaganza," a group of New York City dancers who "Vogued" along with Madonna. Before fading into obscurity, they performed on talk shows as America became interested in the Vogue phenomenon.
The video was directed by David Fincher, who directed Alien 3. He went on to direct Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999) and Zodiac (2007). Fincher also directed Madonna's "Express Yourself," "Oh, Father" and "Bad Girl."
This was included on Madonna's album I'm Breathless, which was "inspired by" the movie Dick Tracy. Madonna starred in the movie with Warren Beatty, and they became a couple. Speaking about this song in the October 29, 2009 issue of Rolling Stone, Madonna said, "I wrote it when I was making Dick Tracy. After we shot the movie, Warren Beatty asked me if I could write a song that would fit my character's point of view, that she could have conjured up. She was obsessed with speakeasies and movie stars and things like that. The idea for the lyrics came through that request."
One of the dancer's striking a pose in the video was Belgian dancer Salim "Slam" Gauwloos, who went on to choreograph and create ballets. He recalled to Q magazine June 2009: "I first auditioned for her tour with 2000 other hopefuls. People turned up with flowers and gifts for Madonna, which was weird to me - I just danced." He added: "Shooting a video in two days, 16 hours a day, required a lot of focus. David Fincher told me to stand and hit different poses with my body and face. I was ambitious and became frustrated I wasn't dancing that much and thought, 'Great - no one's going to see me.' So I was really surprised I got so much focus in the video."
Madonna was the subject of a lawsuit in 2012 claiming that portions of the song borrowed the horns and strings heard in Salsoul Orchestra's 1983 dance tune, "Ooh, I Love It (Love Break)." Music Bosses at American record company VMG Salsoul only discovered the apparent sample thanks to new technology designed to identify specific sounds. VMG claimed that Pettibone had access to "Love Break," because he had been hired by them to remix the song before beginning work on "Vogue."
The suit was resolved in November 2013 with a ruling in favor of Madonna and Pettibone. A District Court judge out of California ruled on summary judgment that the sampling of the horns and strings was "trivial," in that they could not be recognized.
The word vogue was very fashionable in 1990. Not only did this song top the charts, but the magazine Vogue was enjoying a resurgence under the guidance of Anna Wintour, and the group En Vogue emerged with their first hit, "Hold On."
Camille from Toronto, OhThis is my favorite Madonna tune. Not even sure why it is, but I am happy to read all the positive comments here about it. Dave from St Louis, I well remember watching Madonna perform this in Victorian garb at the MTV awards & agree: a most memorable performance.
Paula from Laredo, TxGosh,this song brings back memories. A cheap prom dress, bad make-up, and the end of the 80's. Madonna was everywhere. And who didn't want to be her.
Paul from Kennewick, WaWhen this song came out I had no idea it had caught on so much to the gay community, but watching the video it all makes sense. I've always loved it regardless, it gets better with time.
Terry from Mason, MiI have always loved this song. I was getting ready to go to war in 1990 and while the Gulf War wasn't pleasant, the memories this song brings back are.
Terry, Mason, MI
Daniel from Rio De Janeiro, Brazilsorry, but house/dance music has ups and downs in the mainstream. Madonna wasn't the first to ressucitate it and she won't be the last. Go read a bit about Donna Summer, New Order, the techno trend of the 90s, etc... and the list goes on...
Bertrand from Paris, FranceIt was not really part of any album project. It was added on to the I'm Breathless album of [b]Dick Tracy[b] - related material. "Vogue" was also significantly late in spotlighting the underground world of "voguing" (Malcolm McClaren made it there earlier), but this song is possibly the most perfect dance song Madonna, the most successful dance artist of all time, has ever recorded. The acclaimed David Fincher video wraps out a stunning pop-dance package.
Lied from New York, NyActually, it was "The House of Ninja" that started Vogue, here in NYC @ "Balls" (under-ground house parties, where different "Houses", like "House of Extravaganza" would compete in different categories -"butch fem", to see who's the fiercest "Queen of the Ball" e.g. Cinderella). http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=vogue
Jay from Atlanta, Ga"When the women's movement was emerging"(?) The women's movement began in the late 60's. Madonna was born in '58. Are you saying that when she was 10 years old she single-handedly brought in the women's movement?
Leon from Waterbury, CtA fabulous song...love it.
Ben from Dallas, TxWhen this song came out, it was everywhere! It came out at a time when the Women's movement was emerging (thanks to Madonna) & attitudes were changing about everything. Her timing was perfect with this song & video.
Sum Sum from New Delhii like the "spoken" verse.. Greta Garbo and Monroe...
Sum Sum from New Delhi, IndiaI love madonna..and ofcourse vogue...so many fashion shows played this song on ramp walks. She s the ultimate queen..waiting for a madonna stage show in India. God knows when
Elson from Los Angeles, CaThis was the first hit single that brought house music into the mainstream. Prior to "Vogue" the house music sound was relegated to underground clubs. Now it's all over the place.
Bryttany from Charlotte, NcI love that song! Its like a song that would be played at a photo shoot or fashion show!
Connor from Woodbridge, VaIn 1990, i was not even one yet, but i somehow remeber sitting down with my dad and watch her parade around singing about being vogue. We have home movies of me doing the little dance to it. That is how i got started on my madonna craze.
Dave from St. Louis, MoAll of the background dancers and backup singers were present on stage when Madonna performed the song live at the MTV awards in 1990. The costumes and backdrops were Victorian style. It was one of Madonna's most memorable performances, even though it was obviously lip-synced.