burning up road

Burning Up


"Burning Up" (AA side single with "Physical Attraction" in some countries) is the second single by American singer-songwriter Madonna and was released on March 9, 1983 by Sire Records. It appears on her 1983 debut studio album Madonna.

Song history

"Burning Up" was released with "Physical Attraction" on the flipside. The two songs were released together to clubs and DJs.

The song was released as a single in the U.S., The Netherlands, Chile, Mexico, Japan, and Australia, among others, but was not released commercially in the U.K. In Spain it was issued as "Ardiendo" in a unique picture sleeve.

Of particular note, it is possibly Madonna's only officially released song that she had written and performed long before being signed to Sire Records in 1982. Prior incarnations of the song appear in several bootleg forms, both live with her band Emmy and also as an early studio demo, featuring Madonna on rhythm guitar. Over two decades later, she would play rhythm guitar on the track again when it was performed on her 2004 Re-Invention Tour. The single was performed by Iggy Pop at the 2008 induction ceremony for Madonna into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The song was also performed on The Virgin Tour in 1985, although left off the commercial VHS release.

Original vinyl pressings of her debut album feature a longer, alternate studio version of the song which also appears on the Australian 7-inch single as well as the B-side to the UK 7-inch single of "Angel" from 1985. The shorter, more guitar-driven version which was used in the video and on subsequent pressings of the album is generally known as the definitive version of the song.

The cover-artwork for the single features pictures taken by David Cunningham and was designed by Madonna's friend Martin Burgoyne, who later died of AIDS.

The song has been covered by Sonic Youth side-project Ciccone Youth.

Music video

Steve Barron, famous for directing Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and a-ha's "Take on Me" music videos, also directed the video for "Burning Up". The video was Madonna's first "proper" music video and featured special effects and special camera angles. The video shows a young and wild Madonna crawling on the street, "burning up" for the love of her boyfriend. Her lover, the man driving the car in the video, was played by her real boyfriend at that time, Kenny Compton.

"Burning Up" was filmed at Castaic Lake and Angeles National Forest in Los Angeles, California. To date, the video has only been commercially released on the 1984 4-track video EP Madonna.

  • Director: Steve Barron
  • Producer: Simon Fields
  • Director of Photography: King Baggot
  • Production Company: Limelight Productions


She played rhythm guitar on the track when it was performed on her 2004 Re-Invention Tour for the first time.

Chart performance

"Burning Up", like "Everybody", failed to break into the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but this time "Burning Up" even failed to chart in the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. The song did manage to peak at number 3 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play Chart, staying on the chart for 16 weeks.

Burning Up/Physical Attraction

The song was a Top 20 hit in Australia in June 1984, peaking at number 13 after having originally charted in the lower reaches of the Top 100 in November 1983. Interest was renewed in the single after the Top 5 success of "Holiday" in May 1984. An interview on the Australian music show Countdown with Molly Meldrum also drew attention to the talent that would dominate pop music for the rest of the decade.

Despite the song being less successful than its predecessor, its still respectable performance in the club/dance charts prompted Sire Records to greenlight Madonna's debut album. It was released as a double A-side single in some countries with "Physical Attraction", which did not have a video shot for it. It has been reported that after this single, "Lucky Star" was released in some countries.


Chart (1983/4) Peak
Australia AMR Sales Chart 13
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play Chart 3
Brazil Hot Dance Charts : B-Side "Physical Attraction" 1


Official versions

Burning Up

  • Original versions
  • Main Album Version/New Album Version 3:45
  • Alternate Album Version/Original Album Version 4:50
  • Madonna First Album Sessions - Demo 11/17/82 3:46
  • Madonna First Album Sessions - Demo 11/17/82 5:56 aka 12" Version
  • Madonna First Album Sessions - Demo 11/17/82 5:42
  • 1981 Version/Pre-Madonna Version 4:06
  • Remixes
  • 12" Version 5:56
  • 7" Remix Edit 3:52
  • Re-Invention Tour Studio Demo 3:48
  • Re-Invention Tour Rehearsal 3:48
  • Live Versions
  • "Hacienda" (Manchester, UK. Featured on "The Tube" - Lip Sync) February 1983
  • "Uncle Sams" (Levittown, New York. No TV recording) September 24, 1983
  • "The Virgin Tour" (Not included on the official video release) 1985
  • "The Re-Invention Tour" 2004

Physical Attraction

  1. Album/12" Version 6:34
  2. 7" Version 3:52
  3. Edit/Fade Version (present on B-side of UK 7" single of "Borderline") 3:19
  4. You Can Dance Remix (Mixed) 6:21
  5. You Can Dance Single Edit of Album Remix 3:54

Included on


Other versions

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