80s pop star

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On this day in music history: February 13, 1983 - Marvin Gaye performs “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 33rd NBA All-Star Game at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Just ten days before winning two Grammy Awards for his comeback smash “Sexual Healing”, the R&B legend sings the National Anthem prior the All-Star Game airing on the CBS television network. Working with his frequent musical collaborator and brother-in-law, guitarist Gordon Banks, Gaye and Banks craft a highly distinctive and stripped down version of “The Star Spangled Banner”, played on keyboards and a Roland TR-808 drum machine. Not having performed in front of an audience in several years, Marvin’s legendary stage fright resurfaces during rehearsals, causing NBA officials to worry as to whether the singer will be able to pull it together. However, all concerns are quickly forgotten when Gaye strides confidently out to center court, impeccably dressed and wearing dark shades. Marvins’ effortlessly soulful and smooth performance draws enthusiastic hollers and screams from the crowd throughout, ending in thunderous applause throughout the arena. The performance goes down in history as one of the most memorable and beloved renditions of the National Anthem by any artist. Following the game, the footage of Gaye’s performance is rebroadcast on major news outlets, and later becomes the first video shown on the newly launched music video channel VH-1 on January 1, 1985. The video is included in the “Motown On Showtime” program  on the late singer released in 1988. The audio portion of Marvin Gaye’s “Star Spangled Banner” is released on the CD box set “Marvin Gaye - The Master (1961 - 1984)” in 1995.

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On this day in music history: July 27, 1983 - “Madonna”, the debut album by Madonna is released. Produced by Reggie Lucas, John “Jellybean” Benitez and Mark Kamins, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in New York City from May 1982 - April 1983. Proceeded by the singles “Everybody” and “Burning Up”, Madonna works with former Mtume guitarist Reggie Lucas on the album until the two have musical differences during the sessions. Lucas abruptly leaves the project midway through the recording. Madonna calls upon her then boyfriend, club DJ, producer, and remixer “Jellybean” Benitez to help finish mixing and recording the album. It sells slowly for the first few months of release until “Holiday” (#16 Pop, #25 R&B, #1 Club Play) is issued as a single in September of 1983. Within a year, it spins off the top 10 hits “Borderline” (#10 Pop) and “Lucky Star” (#4 Pop). Its belated success delays the release of the follow up album “Like A Virgin” (recorded in the Spring of 1984) by several months, it ascends the charts during the Spring, Summer and Fall of 1984. Original vinyl LP, cassette and CD pressings of “Madonna” include a shorter version of the tracks “Everybody” running 4:57 and “Burning Up”, running 3:41. The remastered CD released in 2001 substitutes original version of “Everybody” for the 12" version clocking in at 6:02. Later LP pressings also include a longer version of “Burning Up” running 4:48, also used on the European release of the album, and remastered CD. The album is remastered and reissued in 2001 with the track line up from the second LP pressing, and includes the original 12" dance mixes of “Burning Up” and “Lucky Star” as bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records in 2016. “Madonna” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, number twenty on the R&B album chart, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.