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Madonna - Everybody (1982)

  • Video Views 6,671,368
  • 80's Score 80's score: 1.09
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Everybody" is the debut single by American singer Madonna, released on October 6, 1982, under the label Sire Records. The ...

"Everybody" is the debut single by American singer Madonna, released on October 6, 1982, under the label Sire Records. The single was featured on her eponymous debut studio album Madonna (1983). Madonna had recorded a demo of the song with Steve Bray. She urged DJ Mark Kamins, who played at her dance club, to play it. He was impressed by the song and took her to Sire Records, who signed her for a two-song deal. However, after the recording of the two singles was over, Sire executive Michael Rosenblatt was not interested in the other song produced and decided to release only "Everybody".

By incorporating R&B infused beats in the music and not including her image on the cover artwork, marketing for the song gave the impression that Madonna was a black artist. That impression did not last long as Madonna would later convince Sire executives to shoot a music video for the song. The low-budget video directed by Ed Steinberg showed Madonna and her friends in a club singing and dancing to the song. The video helped to further promote the song and Madonna as an artist.

Critically, "Everybody" did not receive any acclaim and failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It did, however, appear on the dance charts. The song helped Madonna achieve her first appearance in a dance magazine. She has performed "Everybody" live a number of times. It was first performed during The Virgin Tour, then as the final song of The Girlie Show World Tour, later on The MDNA Tour and most recently on the Rebel Heart Tour. She also performed it in her Coachella appearance in 2006. The song was included in a remixed form on Madonna's 1987 remix album, You Can Dance, and on the deluxe edition of her 2009 compilation album, Celebration.

Music Video

Sire Records had marketed the "Everybody" single as if Madonna was a black artist. This misconception was cleared by the release of the music video for the song. Regarding the importance of shooting a music video for the song, Madonna commented that, "If I didn't have a video, I don't think all the kids in the Midwest would know about me. It takes the place of touring. Everybody sees them everywhere. That really has a lot to do with the success of my album." She invited Sire Records executives, including Stein and Rosenblatt, to the New York nightclub Danceteria. She performed "Everybody" on the dancefloor, wearing a top hat and tails. On the night of the performance, Madonna's friend Haoui Montaug introduced her to the 300 strong audience. Cheered by them, Madonna and her dancers performed their choreographed dance moves, later described as a 'disco act backed by avant-garde dancers.' Seeing the performance, they also realised that Madonna appeared visually stunning. They ordered an in-house video of "Everybody" to be sent to the clubs around the country which used dance videos.

Rosenblatt contacted Ed Steinberg, who ran the Rock America video company and asked him if he could spare a few hours to make a music video for "Everybody" with Madonna on stage at her next performance in Danceteria. The idea was to play the video as promotion across the United States so that people will come to recognize an image of Madonna and her performance. Rosenblatt offered Steinberg $1,000 for the in-house production video, when artists like Duran Duran and Michael Jackson were spending six figure sums on videos. They finally agreed on $1,500. With the low-budget the video was directed by Steinberg, who suggested filming on location at the Paradise Garage, a downtown gay disco, instead of recording a live performance. Madonna's friend Debi Mazar did the makeup and joined her other backup dancers, namely Erika Belle and Bags Rilez. Mazar brought a few of her friends to act as a disco crowd in the video, including African-American artist Michael Stewart. Steinberg was impressed by Madonna's professionalism on the set and he helped to send copies of the tape to nightclubs across America which used to dance music videos for their entertainment. This promotion helped the song to grow from being a dance hit in New York to a nationwide hit.

The video starts with Madonna and her two backup dancers dancing in a club while lights blink in the background. The shots continue while interspersing close-up shots of Madonna dancing while wearing a coat and junk jewelry. Author Douglas Kellner in his book Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity, and Politics Between the Modern and the Postmodern noted that already with her first video, Madonna was deploying fashion, sexuality and the construction of an individual image to present herself both as an alluring sex object and as a transgressor of established norms. The band Fab Five Freddy reminisce that with the video Madonna "is attracting those who were more street, more savvy, more flavorful."

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