Released at the start of the Madonna-mania storm of 1985, Into The Groove represents the pivot point of the pop icon’s stellar career – the moment when her fame exploded across the planet. Many international audiences first heard the song when she performed it during her set at the Philadelphia leg of the legendary Live Aid concert. Perfectly scheduled – particularly for UK viewers – for prime-time Saturday-night TV, this now-signature classic had a surprising genesis.
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Dancefloor escapism with an emotional rush
Work on the Like A Virgin album, produced by Nile Rodgers, had finished in 1984, but the continuing success of songs from Madonna’s self-titled debut album meant Like A Virgin’s release was delayed in order to allow singles such as Lucky Star to finally burn out. Meanwhile, Madonna was still writing material as her attention turned to her first major movie role, in Desperately Seeking Susan. A scene filmed at the Danceteria nightclub, in New York City, needed a song for the extras to perform to, and so the sequence featuring Madonna and her late co-star, Mark Blum, was recorded using a demo that she had to hand.
That demo was Into The Groove, and the original plan had been to pass the song to Mark Kamins, the producer of her first single, Everybody, to record with Cheyne (aka Cheyne Anderson), an up-and-coming dance act he was working with. (Cheyne would go on to top the US dance charts with Call Me Mr Telephone (Answering Service) and also contribute a cover of Private Joy, a cut from Prince’s Controversy record, to the Weird Science soundtrack.)