I’ve got something that you’ll really like (as long as you keep it small)
The final single to be lifted off the ‘Like A Virgin‘ album internationally was the upbeat ‘Dress You Up‘. Released following the success of the Virgin Tour, in which it opened the show, Sire decided to design up a lovely sleeve showing a spotlit Madonna performing on the tour taken by concert photographer extraordinaire, Neal Preston.
Preston is one of the world’s foremost live concert photographers, his legendary images of Led Zeppelin launched him into the photography elite and those of Freddie Mercury and Bruce Springsteen performing at Wembley Stadium have become some of the most enduring shots in concert history. Neal’s site is under construction – but you can see a little slideshow of some of his brilliant snaps at www.prestonpictures.com
The photo Neal took was pressed up into dummy sleeves for the ‘Dress You Up‘ sleeve and Sire were very happy with the design. As was the custom procedure, Madonna and Freddy DeMann had approval of the designs and were expected to simply go with whatever the marketing design department at Sire deemed best for the release. However, Madonna took one look at the dummy sleeve for the 7″ single and demanded they change the design for the 12″ as she was totally unhappy with the idea of the fuzzy profile shot of her that had been chosen being blown up into even larger image!
Below is the South African 7″ single sleeve using the image Madonna disliked, and as you can see Madonna had a point! Would the term ‘transvestite-a-like’ be too harsh?
Madonna got her way (no surprise there!) Here is the sleeve Sire managed to get designer Jeri McManus to knock up, using an alternate Neal Preston snap, for the 12″ single at the very last minute. An improvement? Well, we’ll leave that up to your own judgement…
It would appear that the message sent to the various Sire offices around the world got through as all the 12″ releases featured this new version. Well, all but the UK that is! Sire UK went ahead with not only using the profile picture gloriously blown up on the 12″, but to add insult to injury they thought it was the perfect design to create Madonna’s first 12″ foldout poster sleeve issue!