"Hung Up" is Madonna's biggest selling single to date, and one of the most successful singles of all time, reaching number one in a record-breaking 45 countries. According to the United World Chart, it is the 5th most successful song since 1999 and the forty-third most successful song in music history. The song is the seventh most successful single by a female artist and thirteenth best-selling single in Europe.
According to Madonna, she approached Andersson and Ulvaeus by sending her "emissary to Stockholm with a letter and the record imploring them, telling them how much I worship their music; telling them it was a homage to them, which is all true". Andersson and Ulvaeus quickly gave their permission. They stated, "'Hung Up' is really good. If it wasn't any good we would not have said yes. It is a wonderful track - 100% solid pop music. Andersson and Ulvaeus asked for co-writer credits and a percentage of the profits. As a gesture of thankfulness for the permission, she also added another stealth ABBA reminiscence to her lyrics: Ring, ring, ring goes the telephone is supposed to point to another big hit of the group, Ring Ring (Why don't you give me a call?).
Following the ABBA reunion at the Swedish premiere of "Mamma Mia!" on July 4, Ulvaeus spoke to the Sunday Telegraph about the song. "Madonna wrote a very, very nice letter saying please please we have had a wonderful idea which involves Gimme Gimme," Ulvaeus said. "We said we would have to listen to it first but after half a minute I knew it was brilliant. That is one of the few we have allowed. Five years earlier we said yes to the Fugees. But to everyone else we said No. I think the Madonna record shows that ABBA is part of the DNA set up of Pop."
Madonna also samples herself in the song, with references to her previous recordings in the lyrics, including "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Love Song" (her 1989 duet with Prince). She commented at the time of the song's release that the new breed of female pop stars had been copying her for years, "so I thought it was about time I copied myself!"
On September 6, 2005, two thirteen-second clips of the song leaked onto the Internet. By October 13, 2005, the entire track had leaked, prompting Madonna's label to release it to radio the same day, a week ahead of schedule. It was officially made available as a download (via Apple iTunes) on October 17, 2005, before the U.S. maxi CD release date of November 15, 2005. "Hung Up" became Madonna's first single to be released digitally through online stores before a physical format was available.
Madonna had opened the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards, and the 2006 Grammy Awards with "Hung Up". She performed this song at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, and during her Confessions Tour, of which is available in DVD/CD. She also ended the London leg of Live Earth concert with "Hung Up". A rock version of the song was included in her 2008 world tour, the Sticky & Sweet Tour in the closing segment.
It was awarded as "The Best Selling Single" in Greek Arion Music Awards by IFPI Greece. The song was used on the commercial for Motorola which also features Madonna in the commercial. The song also appeared in an episode of CSI: NY.
In the United States, "Hung Up" debuted at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 — one of the highest debuts of 2005 — due to strong digital downloads. It became Madonna's 36th Top 10 single when it reached #7, tying her with Elvis Presley's record of 36 Top 10 hits. Its success was also significant as her previous three singles failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100. "Hung Up" went on to become her biggest single since "Die Another Day" in late 2002.
In the UK, "Hung Up" debuted at number-one, where it remained for three weeks, Madonna's 11th number one single there. It remained in the chart for 29 weeks, her longest run on the singles chart. It spent what was at the time a record seven weeks at number-one on the UK Download Chart. Upon the 2008 release of 4 Minutes, Madonna's first single from her 11th studio album Hard Candy, Hung Up re-entered the UK Charts at #183 and has since peaked at #153 on the May 18th chart.
"Hung Up" also reached number-one in Australia (one week, and the tenth chart-topper of her career), Canada (fifteen weeks, her longest stay atop the singles chart), South Africa (two weeks) and France (five weeks), becoming one of her biggest selling songs in the French market to date. In Italy, "Hung Up" spent 14 consecutive weeks at the top of the chart.
Its worldwide popularity was displayed on the United World Chart, where it spent 15 consecutive weeks at number-one, selling over 5 million copies (8.698.000 points inclusive of airplay) before its follow-up single "Sorry" replaced it at the top. This marked the first time that the same artist had occupied the number-one and number two positions. In the EURO 200 (European Union Top 200) the single remained at number one for fifteen weeks also.
In Latin America, "Hung Up" topped the chart for eight weeks in a row, and spent 15 weeks in the Top 10. It was also Madonna's first number one on the Latin American chart.
In Russia, "Hung Up" became Madonna's first number one single and the second song by an American artist to reach number-one (the first being Cher with her 2001 hit single "The Music's No Good Without You"). It is also the longest chart run at number-one for a song performed in a language other than Russian.
"Hung Up" is arguably the biggest hit single of Madonna's career. In March 2007, the United World Chart ranked "Hung Up" as the 43rd most successful song in music history. Referring to that same list, "Hung Up" is also the seventh most successful song released by a solo female musician, the third most successful single of the 21st Century thus far and the second biggest selling dance single of all time, after Cher's single, "Believe".
Due to the single's worldwide success, it currently holds the record of reaching the number-one position in the most countries for a single. This record was listed in the 2007 edition of "Guinness Book of World Records". "Hung Up" is also the second biggest-selling dance single of all time. With this song, Madonna achieved her 25th gold single, surpassing the Beatles for the most gold singles of all time.
Originally the video for "Hung Up" was scheduled to be directed by photographer David LaChapelle. LaChapelle wanted the video to have a "documentary"-style look, much like that of his film Rize, of which five of the dancers in the "Hung Up" video appear. LaChapelle and Madonna disagreed on the concept, prompting the project to be reassigned to Johan Renck. The video was filmed from October 8-10, 2005 at Pineapple Dance Studios, Great Guildford Street, the London Underground and Trocadero Centre, while other location scenes were shot in Los Angeles, California. Most of the dancers that appear in the video followed Madonna on tour and also appear in the music video for the follow up single, "Sorry".
Madonna broke eight bones in a horseback-riding accident a few weeks before shooting the video for "Hung Up". She stated: "When I shot the video, none of the bones had gone together. Pharmaceuticals and my will got me through the shoot.
The video also contains several scenes of the physical discipline parkour. It premiered worldwide on October 27, 2005. It was nominated for five MTV Video Music Awards and two MuchMusic Video Awards in 2006.
It was the first English language song to top the Latin America Top 40 since the creation of the chart in May 2004.