Behind the Hit

 
Updated August 14

The following features interesting facts and stories behind classic singles from the past. Songs are chosen arbitrarily.

 

Frozen - Madonna (1998)

UK Charts - #1 .. U.S. Charts - #2

 

"Frozen" is a song by American singer Madonna from her seventh studio album Ray of Light (1998). It was released as the lead single from the album on February 23, 1998, by Maverick and Warner Bros. Records. The song was also included on the compilation albums GHV2 (2001) and Celebration (2009). "Frozen" was written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, and it was produced in collaboration with William Orbit. A mid-tempo electronica ballad, "Frozen" talks about a cold and emotionless human being.

 

single

It became Madonna's sixth single to peak at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, making her the artist with the most number-two hits in the history of that chart. "Frozen" also became her first single to debut at the top of the UK Singles Chart, while reaching number one in Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Scotland, and Spain, and the top five elsewhere.

The accompanying music video for "Frozen" was directed by Chris Cunningham in a desert in California, portraying Madonna as an ethereal, witch-like, melancholy persona, who shapeshifts into a flock of birds and a black dog. The music video received a MTV Video Music Award for "Best Special Effects" in 1998. "Frozen" has been covered by a number of artists, such as Talisman and Thy Disease.

 

video

Since 1996, Madonna went through a number of "life-changing experiences" which included giving birth to her daughter Lourdes, gaining interest in Eastern mysticism and Kabbalah, as well as earning the title role on the film adaptation of the musical Evita (1996). A year later she started working on Ray of Light, her eighth studio album. Madonna wrote songs with William Orbit, Patrick Leonard, Rick Nowels and Babyface. The album would reflect the singer's changed perspectives about life.

 

Lourdes

Madonna worked primarily with William Orbit after Guy Oseary, Maverick Records's partner, phoned Orbit (pictured) and suggested that he send some songs to the singer. He sent a 13-track digital audio tape (DAT) to Madonna, and "Frozen" was among these tracks. "I was a huge fan of William's earlier records. [...] I also loved all the remixes he did for me and I was interested in fusing a kind of futuristic sound but also using lots of Indian and Moroccan influences and things like that, and I wanted it to sound old and new at the same time", Madonna said. The singer drew inspiration from Bernardo Bertolucci's 1990 British-Italian drama film, The Sheltering Sky, which dealt with a couple trying to save their marriage during a trip to Africa. She wanted to have the "whole Moroccan/orchestral/super-romantic/man-carrying-the-woman-he-loves-across-the-desert vibe" for the track. Still continuing work with Leonard on some of the tracks, Madonna asked him to give her a composition with "tribal feel, something really lush and romantic". They composed the melody on the DAT and recorded the demo, which stretched to over 10 minutes due to Madonna continuing writing the track.

 

Orbit

In November 2005, a Belgian judge seated in Mons ruled that the opening four-bar theme to "Frozen" was plagiarized from the song "Ma vie fout le camp" ("My Life's Getting Nowhere"), composed by Salvatore Acquaviva. The judge subsequently ordered the withdrawal from sales of all remaining discs, and forbade any further playing of the song on Belgian TV and radio. The judge also ordered Warner Bros., EMI and Sony to spread the decision within fifteen days to media outlets on pain of a penalty of ¤125,000 for non-compliance with the court order. Acquaviva's lawyer, Victor Vicent Dehin, said: "We tried to reach a friendly agreement... but they didn't want to negotiate so I sued for plagiarism. They have stolen a song, so they have to pay the value of the song." No award damages for the song were granted.

In February 2014, a Belgian court repealed the verdict on the case and proclaimed that Madonna did not plagiarize Acquaviva's work for "Frozen". The court spoke of a "new capital offense" in the file: composer Edouard Scotto Di Suoccio and societies Tabata Atoll Music and Music in Paris had also filed a complaint for plagiarism. According to them, both "Ma vie fout le camp" and "Frozen" originated in the song "Blood Night" which they composed in 1983. After all three tracks in the case were compared, the final ruling was that the songs were "not sufficiently 'original' to claim" that any plagiarism had taken place. This ruling ended the eight-year ban of the song that was in place in Belgium since 2005.

 

lawsuit

Madonna considered shooting the video in Iceland but opted for a desert in California. She explained to MTV News: "You know what, I'm going to be freezing. I'm going to be miserable, I'll be complaining all day, I'll be sorry that I ever chose a cold place. So I said, 'Let's do it in the desert, it'll be warm,' and it would be sort of the opposite, because even though you think of deserts as being hot, they're still sort of frozen in terms of there's no vegetation and they're very desolate. I thought that would still work as a visual, but then we got there and it was like 20 degrees below zero, it was bitterly cold, and I was barefoot. I was barefoot for the entire video, and then it started pouring rain and everyone got really sick, and it just actually turned out to be a really miserable experience."

 

music video

 

This was featured in the 2010 Glee episode "The Power Of Madonna," though it was not performed by the cast.

 

"Glee"

In 2003, Madonna fans were asked to vote for their "Top 20 Madonna singles of all-time", by Q magazine. "Frozen" was allocated the number ten spot on the list. Billboard also ranked "Frozen" at number 25 on a list containing Madonna's 40 hits, stating that the song marked a sonic change in Madonna's career. Rolling Stone also ranked the song as Madonna's sixth best song of all time according to a readers' poll, saying that the song is "striking the perfect balance of pop accessibility, sophisticated balladry and cutting-edge electronic textures". VH1's Mark Graham included "Frozen" on his list of his favorite songs from Madonna at number 36 during a list compiled in honor of the singer's 53rd birthday. In May 2018, Billboard ranked the top songs of 1998, ranking "Frozen" at number 31. Frank Digiacomo from the publication asserted that the composition showed "a wiser, more mature Madonna, one still at the top of her game".

Ray of Light is the seventh studio album by Madonna. It was released in Japan on February 22, 1998 by Maverick and Warner Bros. Records and worldwide on March 3, 1998. After giving birth to her first child, Madonna started working on the album with producers Babyface and Patrick Leonard. The recording process was the longest of Madonna's career and experienced problems with Orbit's hardware arrangement, which would break down, and recording would have to be delayed until they could be repaired.

 

"Ray of Light"

Ray of Light won four Grammy Awards from a total of six nominations. Commercially, the album peaked at number one in many countries, such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom. On the US Billboard 200, the album debuted and peaked at number two, with the biggest first week sales by a female artist at the time. Ray of Light has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.

 

Grammy

According to spokesperson Liz Rosenberg, Madonna considered titling the album Mantra, which she thought was a "really cool title". However, she changed the title to Ray of Light, as her albums were always titled after one of the songs from that album. The artwork was shot by Peruvian photographer Mario Testino (shown below) on November 28, 1997 in a studio in Golden Beach, Florida. They had previously collaborated for a Versace brand collection in 1995. Madonna was impressed with the natural look Testino had captured, so she booked him again for the album's photoshoot. He recalled, "At 2pm she said, 'OK, I'm tired. We're done'. And I said, 'But I don't have the pictures yet'. She said, 'You're working for me and I say we're done'. I said, 'No, we carry on'. The picture she used on the cover came after that".

 

artist

 

Lyrics:

You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
You're frozen
When your heart's not open

You're so consumed with how much you get
You waste your time with hate and regret
You're broken
When your heart's not open

Mmmmmm, if I could melt your heart
Mmmmmm, we'd never be apart
Mmmmmm, give yourself to me
Mmmmmm, you hold the key

Now there's no point in placing the blame
And you should know I suffer the same
If I lose you
My heart will be broken

Love is a bird, she needs to fly
Let all the hurt inside of you die
You're frozen
When your heart's not open

Mmmmmm, if I could melt your heart
Mmmmmm, we'd never be apart
Mmmmmm, give yourself to me
Mmmmmm, you hold the key

You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
You're frozen
When your heart's not open

Mmmmmm, if I could melt your heart
Mmmmmm, we'd never be apart
Mmmmmm, give yourself to me
Mmmmmm, you hold the key

If I could melt your heart
Mmmmmm, we'd never be apart
Mmmmmm, give yourself to me
Mmmmmm, you hold the key

If I could melt your heart

 

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