On this day: Sept. 20: 'Dress You Up' peaks at #2 on the Billboard singles chart (1985)

Dress You Up

Cover art for U.S. 7" vinyl single
 
September 20, 1985

'Dress You Up' peaks at #2 on the Billboard singles chart

 

Dress You Up
Single by Madonna
From the album Like a Virgin
B-side: "Shoo-Bee-Doo"
Released: July 24, 1985
Format: 7", 12", CD single
Recorded: 1984
Genre: Synthpop, dance-pop
Length: 4:01
Label: Sire, Warner Bros.
Writer(s): Andrea LaRusso, Peggy Stanziale
Producer(s): Nile Rodgers
 
"Dress You Up" is a song by American singer Madonna. It was released as the final single from her second studio album, Like a Virgin, on July 24, 1985, by Sire Records. The song was the last track to be added to the album as it was submitted late by songwriters Andrea LaRusso and Peggy Stanziale. Madonna pushed for the song's inclusion on Like a Virgin as she particularly liked its lyrics. Musically, the song is a drum beat driven dance track featuring instrumentation from guitars and vocals from a choir. The lyrics are an extended metaphor for fashion and sex, comparing dressing up with passion. A live performance from Madonna's first tour was used as the music video.
 
Critics reacted positively to the dance-pop nature of the track. "Dress You Up" became Madonna's sixth consecutive top-five single in the United States. It also reached the top-ten in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The song was most recently performed on the 2009 leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour. "Dress You Up" was added to the "Filthy Fifteen" list of the Parents Music Resource Center, due to the perceived sexual nature of its lyrics. The song has been covered in different forms by a number of artists.
 
Background and release
 
"Dress You Up" was the last song to be included on the Like a Virgin album. Producer Nile Rodgers had initially asked songwriters Andrea LaRusso and Peggy Stanziale to write a chic-styled song for Madonna. However, the writing took time, since both LaRusso and Stanziale were busy with other projects. When the lyrics of the song was submitted, Rodgers rejected it as there was no time to compose a melody and record it for the album. But Madonna liked the lyrics of the song, and persuaded Rodgers to include it on Like a Virgin. In Britain, the song was released as a limited-edition shaped picture disc. In this case, it was star-shaped to tie in with the Christmas release date for the single. The song is one of several of Madonna's hit singles not included on The Immaculate Collection compilation, released in 1990. "Dress You Up" was, however, later included on Madonna's 2009 compilation album Celebration. Although no music video was separately made for the song, a live performance of "Dress You Up" from The Virgin Tour, filmed at Detroit was used as the video.
 
 
Composition
 
"Dress You Up" is a characteristic drum machine driven dance track and consists of a two-chord verse. The chorus is supported by vocals from a choir, a four-chord progression and a single guitar note, played by Rodgers. A rock guitar solo plays during the bridge. Towards the end of the song, the sound of the drums are decreased, while the treble is increased. According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Alfred Publishing, the song is set in the time signature of common time, with a moderate tempo of 100 beats per minute. It is composed in the key of C minor, with Madonna's vocals ranging from a low-note of B♭3 to a high-note of F♯5. The song has a basic sequence of Cm–B♭–G7 in the verses and A♭–B♭–Cm–Cm/G in the chorus, as its chord progression.
 
The lyrics of the song are a metaphor for fashion and sex. Madonna sings about clothes she would like to drape over her man, so that she can caress his body with her hands, and cover him with "Velvet Kisses". According to Rikky Rooksby, author of Madonna: The Complete Guide To Her Music, the line "I'll create a look that's made for you", later became synonymous with Madonna's re-invention of her image throughout her career.
 
Legacy
 
In 1985, the song was the subject of much media attention, when it was included on the Parents Music Resource Center's (PMRC) "Filthy Fifteen" list, for the perceived sexual content of its lyrics. The Center's founder Tipper Gore had heard her daughter listening to the song, and considered the line "Gonna dress you up in my love" as exemplifying 'vulgar music'. The PMRC called upon the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to give parents a consumer-friendly means of identifying rock records unsuitable for minors – a rating system based on lyrical content. "Dress You Up" received a rating of 'S', for "sex and obscenity", from the RIAA. Gore commented on the song: "Popular culture is morally bankrupt, flagrantly licentious and utterly materialistic—and Madonna is the worst of all." According to Bruce David Forbes and H. Mahan in their book Religion and Popular Culture in America, Madonna's fans took the attitude "Can't you cultural conservatives see what she is trying to do—to annoy people like you! If you don't like it, don't listen to it. Stop trying to police my morality!" The campaign was successful and led to the creation of the Parental Advisory sticker. (Wiki)
 
Track listing and formats
 
US 7" single
"Dress You Up" – 3:58
"Shoo-Bee-Doo" (LP Version) – 5:14
 
US 12" single
"Dress You Up" (The 12" Formal Mix) – 6:15
"Dress You Up" (The Casual Instrumental Mix) – 4:36
"Shoo-Bee-Doo" (LP Version) – 5:14
 
Japan CD single
"Dress You Up" (The 12" Formal Mix) – 6:15
"Shoo-Bee-Doo" – 5:14
"Ain't No Big Deal" – 4:17
"Dress You Up" (The Casual Instrumental Mix) – 4:36
 
UK 7" single
"Dress You Up" – 3:58
"I Know It" – 3:45
 
UK 12" single
"Dress You Up" (The 12" Formal Mix) – 6:15
"Dress You Up" (The Casual Instrumental Mix) – 4:36
"Shoo-Bee-Doo" – 5:14
 
Germany / UK CD Maxi Single (1995)
"Dress You Up" (The 12" Formal Mix) – 6:15
"Dress You Up" (The Casual Instrumental Mix) – 4:36
"Shoo-Bee-Doo" – 5:17
 
Credits and personnel
 
Madonna – vocals
Nile Rodgers – producer, guitarist
Andrea LaRusso – writer
Peggy Stanziale – writer
Jimmy Bralower – drum programming
Rob Sabino – bass synthesizer, acoustic piano
Curtis King – background vocals
Frank Simms – background vocals
George Simms – background vocals

 

 

 

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