30 Years of Vogue
On this day 30 years ago (May 19, 1990) Vogue – the first single from Madonna’s second soundtrack album, I’m Breathless – became the Queen of Pop’s eighth Hot 100 No. 1, topping the Billboard chart for three consecutive weeks and remaining one of her most enduring hits.
The song was written by Madonna with producer Shep Pettibone and was recorded between December 1989 and January 1990; the music video was filmed by director David Fincher at The Burbank Studios on February 10 and 11 and premiered on MTV on March 29, 1990.
Both the song and the video quickly became some of the most iconic works in Madonna‘s career.
Speaking with MadonnaTribe in his exclusive interview a few years ago, dancer and award winning choreographer Luis Camacho remembers how he auditioned for the video and how was being directed by Fincher on the set.
I sent in a video tape because I heard she was looking for “voguers”. We eventually met her and did a private audition for her. Madonna then asked us to come to the regular audition to see how we would match up with the other dancers.
And at that audition, Madonna was impressed that we had technical dance technique as well as the ability to vogue. She wasn’t aware that many of us technical training as dancers.
Madonna was very small, and petite. I didn’t know much about her because I was a hip hop dance club kid. I actually thought she was black. All I knew was “Holiday” and “Borderline” and wasn’t aware of her music videos. Basically, I wasn’t a fan at all.
Vogue-ing started long before Madonna ever brought it to the mainstream. People who vogued were expressing and conveying model poses that were seen in the fashion magazines. Images that conveyed a lifestyle that alot of the people who vogued didn’t have. It was an escape for these individuals as well as myself. I think Madonna has been a voice for the underdog. I admire her efforts in trying to broaden people’s horizons with different cultures, for example Dance, Fashion, Religion, Sexuality.
It was amazing working with Director David Fincher.
I was just a kid from “el barrio” and this was my first foray into the Hollywood scene and make up of what it takes to produce a music video of this caliber. I was very fortunate that this was my first gig.
In his MadonnaTribe interview, multifaceted artist Carlton Wilborn also shared his Vogue memories and more tidbits from the set.
I remember when I showed up at the audition Niki was there with her, Niki always stood on the auditions.
I wasn’t really that intimidated. I had already worked on big things and I had the “Whitney thing”, so for me it was absolutely great to meet her but I wasn’t like “Oh my God that’s Madonna!”
It wasn’t my first time on a film set, but it was the first time on a video I knew it was going to be that big. We knew David Fincher was at the time a really big music video director, so that was a big deal and it was a video for Madonna so it was going to be everywhere.
We knew from the way it was designed that we were going to be featured in the video and not being just as extras. It was amazing.
Oh and by the way that same day we also shot, as the cast of Blond Ambition, a Nike commercial that Madonna was going to do and that never aired.
I remember we were all dressed in different Nike clothes and Madonna decided who was going to wear what, and which dancers were going to be used for separate shots and I remember the moment when they wanted me to finish a workout of dance and then I had to flop down a sofa.
I don’t remember exactly why it never aired.
Salim Gauwloos aka Slam, who recreated the Vogue choreography in a 25th Anniversary video tribute together with fellow dancer Jose, also recalled some moments from the video shooting in his MadonnaTribe interview a few years ago:
We flew down to LA to start rehearsing for the Tour (this is where I met Jose and Luis) and while we were rehearsing they told us that we were going to rehearse for two weeks for this new video Madonna was going to shoot before the Tour.
The video was shot at Burbank Studios in LA, there I met David Fincher, and I remember being disappointed because I wasn’t in all the dance scenes! (I am a dancer so I wanted to dance) They put me in a suit and make me look like Valentino, and shot my part in 15 minutes… so I thought I needed to maybe work harder to be more featured.
I never knew that they were going to feature me like that, so when the video came out, I was like: – Oh… so that’s why I wasn’t in all the other dance scenes!
Shooting the video was amazing, Madonna was amazing, and I want to use this opportunity to set the record straight, that most of the choreography from the Vogue video was created by Jose and Luis…
Vogue was included in Madonna’s first greatest hits compilation, The Immaculate Collection (1990), and in her final collection with Warner Music, Celebration (2009).
The song was performed live at MTV Video Music Awards in year 1990, at the Super Bowl Half Time Show in 2012 and at the New York City’s 50th anniversary of Stonewall World Pride celebration in 2019.
Vogue is also one of the most played hits in Madonna’s world tours appearing in the setlist of the Blond Ambition, Girlie Show, Re-Invention, Sticky & Sweet, MDNA, Rebel Heart and Madame X tours.