Why’s it so hard?
1994 was Madonna‘s 12th year as a successful solo artist. By then she had completed four sell-out tours, however, despite healthy sales of the home videos for ‘The Virgin Tour LIVE’, ‘Ciao Italia : Live From Italy‘ and the laser-disc ‘The Blond Ambition Tour‘, and Madonna’s reputation as the consumate live performer, Sire/Warner/Maverick had never put a live Madonna recording on an official Madonna audio product.
That all changed on March 21st, 1994 with the European release of the ‘I’ll Remember‘ single. Maverick trumpeted the release with the news that the single would feature a live recording from Madonna’s recently completed Girlie Show Tour, soon to be released on home video from ‘Down Under’.
Sadly, displaying a customary degree of incompetence, Maverick managed to screw this up royally! The single was meant to feature a live recording of ‘Erotica’ album track ‘Why’s It So Hard‘ – a pivotal mid-set performance from the Girlie Show in which a genuine Madonna reached out to her audience in an attempt to connect with each person.
Correct initial Pressings of the single were pressed in the normal German pressing plant at Alsdorf in Germany. German pressings are easily identified as the CD is completely white. These German pressings contain ‘Why’s It So Hard (Live)’ as the final track and the correct 5.13 track timing relating to the correct duration of that live recording:
German disc, correct track, correct times.
The second pressings of the CD single, made in the UK at the Nimbus Mastering pressing plant, correctly featured the performance of ‘Why’s It So Hard’ as the final track but printed an incorrect track time of 6.49 on both the discs and the accompanying sleeves. These correct track, wrong timing discs are easily identified by the large silver ring around the outside of the disc:
UK disc, correct track, wrong times – silver outer ring.
However, the most excellent blunder was saved for the final pressing of the single, and it was this one which gave lucky fans a little bit extra. Pressed in Germany, and somehow (the mind boggles at how!) the third version of the CD single combined the incorrect track timing for ‘Why’s It So Hard’ of the UK pressing – 6.49 – and included a completely incorrect live recording! The true 6.49 track duration actually applied to the live recording of another ‘Erotica’ album track from The Girlie Show – ‘In This Life‘ – and this third pressing of the German CD single for ‘I’ll Remember’ included the full, live recording of that song instead of the ‘Why’s It So Hard’ as it should have! These mis-pressed CDs are identifiable – now, listen carefully and take notes! They are the German pressings, with the full white disc and no outer silver ring, with the incorrect (for ‘Why’s It So Hard’) track timing of 6.49 on the disc and the sleeve and generally look like this:
German disc, wrong track, wrong times.
Why’s It So Hard? Indeed! Someone ask Warner Europe!