“You can dance…for inspiration”
It’s those simple, yet meaningful words that take us, um, into “Into the Groove,” which is fingerless black lace gloves down not only one of Madonna’s best dance singles, but one of the best singles of her lengthy career.
Recorded for the classic 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan,”Groove” was featured on the re-issue of the Material Girl’s second studio set, Like a Virgin, and released on July 23, 1985 by Sire Records (!) as the album’s fourth single outside the states. Madonna’s inspiration for the disco-kissed ditty actually came when she was stalking, err, watching a sexy Puerto Rican Papi across her balcony. In an ’85 interview with Time magazine, Madonna went on to explain,
“When I was writing it, I was sitting in a fourth-floor walk-up on Avenue-B, and there was this gorgeous Puerto Rican boy sitting across me that I wanted to go out on a date with, and I just wanted to get the song over with. I ultimately did go out with him and the song was finished just before my last date with him, which I’m kinda happy that it did not continue… The dance floor was quite a magical place for me. I started off wanting to be a dancer, so that had a lot to do with the song. The freedom that I always feel when I’m dancing, that feeling of inhabiting your body, letting yourself go, expressing yourself through music. I always thought of it as a magical place – even if you’re not taking ecstasy. Hence that came to me as the primary inspiration for ‘Into the Groove.”
Upon its release, the groovy dance track was met with great reviews, appreciated by contemporary critics as well as authors, who unanimously called it “Madonna’s first great single.” The song was am across-the-board success, reaching the top of the charts in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom, where it was Her Madgesty‘s first number-one single. However, In the U.S, the song was only available as the B-side of the 12-inch single of “Angel,” which kept it ineligible to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 according to the rules at the time. But by the end of the crazy ’80s, “Into the Groove” was honored by Billboard as the Dance Single of the Decade.
Of course, the Susan inspired accompanying video is also a fun romp, laced with various clips from the film, with the lyrics often matching the images. The reason that this was done was because there were already five Madonna videos on full force diva rotation on MTV, and Warner Bros. did not want the audience to be saturated with any new video.
In a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, the living legend herself pretty much sums it all up..
“‘Into the Groove’ is another song I feel retarded singing, but everybody seems to like it.”
We most certainly do.