100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #17 Madonna – Into The Groove

Released : 1985

If it was good enough for Prince – and Bowie before that – then the number one accoutrement for any pop star since Elvis had always been an acting career. Appearing on the big screen as well as in the record charts proved your talent was multi-faceted and whilst arguably MTV was fast becoming the means of establishing visual identity, for Madonna swapping New York for Hollywood seemed a logical next step.

Ignoring the art-house sexploitation of her actual celluloid debut in 1979’s A Certain Sacrifice and a subsequent cameo in Vision Quest, the singer’s first legit turn in Desperately Seeking Susan was to largely play one version of herself. More of a contribution to it’s box office chances though was a decision to write Into The Groove for the soundtrack, although it wouldn’t be used; rarely has a song become more synonymous with a film it didn’t actually feature in.

If it was clear on viewing that a new major dramatic talent hadn’t been unearthed that hardly mattered – Madonna’s true g(r)ift after all was an understanding of the importance of personal brands decades before they became standard practice. Ever building her own mythos, Into The Groove was written supposedly after spying a gorgeous Puerto Rican boy on an opposite apartment balcony, a temporary object of desire whom in charachter was supposedly consumed and then discarded shortly after. What was most significant however was her transformation from docile prey on the likes of Dress You Up, Angel and Like A Virgin to nocturnal huntress, the lyrics a promisory note, but only if you lived up to a bar which was almost certainly beyond mortal man.

In musical terms Into The Groove was more intricate than any of Like A Virgin, a complexity that this new, more grown up star must’ve felt she merited, with a club-friendly synth bassline dominating after a spoken word intro cued up this new look-but-maybe-touch public relationship. Icon status for it’s creator was still a few years away, but fame and intrigue were now assured.

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