You Can Dance….Just Not Yet!
Hmmmm, so what exactly happened to You Can Dance to delay it so much? Madonna’s album discography reads:
Album / Catalogue Number / Date Entered Chart
True Blue – WX54 – 12 June 1986
Who’s That Girl – WX102 – 1 August 1987
You Can Dance – WX76 – 28 November 1987
…as those of us old enough remember, from purchasing the albums as they came out, that is the correct order of release. However, take a look at the catalogue numbers. Something’s wrong there, eh? Logically, following the sequence of the (above) or the general European/US one – (TB – 925 442-2, WTG – 925 611-2, YCD – 925 535-2) – shows clearly that You Can Dance was completed and ready for release far far before Who’s That Girl. Why was it held back so long? No-one knows.
What we do know is that ‘Spotlight‘, the lead single from ‘You Can Dance‘, was a rejected song from the ‘True Blue‘ album. Strange to lead a new compilation with a song not considered strong enough even as a mere album filler track almost two years previously.
The Liner notes for ‘You Can Dance‘ were dated September 1987, a full two months before the album reached the shops, but also a month after the ‘Who’s That Girl‘ album had been released. The liner notes, however, talk of ‘Where’s The Party‘ being taken from Madonna’s ‘most recently released album, ‘True Blue”. The cover photo shoot used for the ‘You Can Dance‘ album was completed early enough for the various countries around the world to use different shots from it as their ‘La Isla Bonita‘ single art. The remixes contained on the album must have been completed by at least March 1987 as the mix of ‘Into The Groove’ which features on the album was included in the set of the Who’s That Girl Tour… the costumes were a hint of what was to come too.
Back to the supposed ‘contemporary’ liner notes – Brian Chin, in discussing the remix of ‘Into The Groove‘ states it is ‘the mix she currently performs on tour. She certainly wasn’t still on tour in November 1987! LOL
Did Sire hold ‘You Can Dance‘ back to allow sales of the ‘Who’s That Girl’ soundtrack to flourish without confusing the public? Was there some contractual restraint stalling a full Madonna album coming out a certain amount of time after the ‘Who’s That Girl’ soundtrack? We know this has been the case with other Madonna film vs music projects – the ‘I’m Going To Tell You A Secret‘ vs ‘Re-Invention Tour‘ debacle has shown that can happen! Was ‘You Can Dance‘ a pre-planned stalling product purely put out to reinvigorate sales of her back catalogue and to fill the planned 1988 gap caused by the ‘year out from music’ Madonna filled with acting work? Cynics would suggest so, and with the ‘unique remixes’ only being available on the cassette and different ones only on the CD it can been seen as a general money-generating project, albeit a pretty high quality one.
So, just how soon after the ‘True Blue‘ album was ‘You Can Dance‘ completed? Well, one way to guess would be to look at the release date of the record with the catalogue number before it. That would be Falco’s ‘Emotional’ album – catalogue number WX75. Release date? 1986. Hmmm. Answers on a postcard….