Erotica (song)


"Erotica" is the first single from Madonna's fifth studio album Erotica. The single was released in October 1992. Despite being released in a blaze of publicity and hype for the single and other projects at the time, Erotica became one of her first debut singles from an album not to hit number one in the US since her debut album in 1983. Fourteen years after its original release, the song received renewed attention with its inclusion in the set list for the Confessions Tour.

The song, along with "Secret Garden", were the only Madonna songs used in her feature film debut as a director, Filth and Wisdom (2007).

Song information

"Erotica" debuted at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, and instead of zooming to number one as had been expected, it peaked at number three in its second chart week and began to move down the chart the following week, charting for a total of 18 weeks. "Erotica" made the highest debut in the history of the Hot 100 Airplay chart, entering at its peak position of number two (it reached number four on Hot 100 Singles Sales). Despite its relatively short chart tenure compared to some of Madonna's other hits, the single was nevertheless certified gold by the RIAA.

There are three different versions of this song; the original demo, the album version and the song "Erotic" which was created exclusively for the 1992 book Sex. The latter was created during the "Erotica" album sessions. It was producer Shep Pettibone's idea to use the writing from the book included in the song, the result was more "erotic", borked down and raw than "Erotica." These lyrics can also be heard in the William Orbit remixes on the single. In the original demo for the song, which leaked to the internet in February 2008, the lyrics of the opening and chorus differ from the final recorded version. The lyrics "My name is Dita, I'll be your mistress tonight", are omitted. The chorus is also substantially different. Madonna performed "Erotica" as the opening song on her 1993 The Girlie Show Tour.

The song Erotica was highly controversial.

For Madonna's 2006 Confessions Tour, Madonna and Stuart Price created a remix of "Erotica", which used the demo chorus and featured musical excerpts from her very first single, "Everybody". This version mixes a different verse and chorus with the original album version's chorus ("Erotic/Erotic/Put your hands all over my body"). It also features the album version's intro and uses the bridge "Erotica/Romance/Erotica/I'd like to put you in a trance". While listed as "Erotica" in the Confessions Tour program, most fans know the song as "You Thrill Me" after its unique chorus:

You are who you are (and I)
Wouldn't want to change a thing (,in spite of)
All the pain that love can bring (tell me)
What can I do, I'm so in love with you

You thrill me/Surround me, you fill me/You send me/You put me in a trance
You fill me/Inside me you take me/You thrill me/You put me in a trance

Some of the lyrics from the original demo of "Erotica" can also be heard in the "Jeep Beats" remix on the "Erotica" maxi-single. Madonna can be heard singing "I'm so in love with you" and "You thrill me" in this mix - lyrics not used in the album cut of "Erotica".

The album version of "Erotica" contains a sample of the 1974 hit song "Jungle Boogie", performed by Kool and the Gang. In addition, the song samples an Arabic Easter prayer by Arabic singer Fairuz. Madonna used that prayer more prominently in her 'The Beast Within' track. The use of the Easter prayer song caused an enormous outrage in the Middle East and eventually the album and single were banned there.

The song has been remixed by William Orbit, who would later become Madonna's main collaborator on her 1998 album Ray of Light, and prolific DJs Masters at Work.

In the sleeve notes to I'm Going to Tell You a Secret and the live CD The Confessions Tour it credits an additional composer to have written this song: Antony Shimkin. ASCAP have officially confirmed this.

The single was the first of Madonna's releases to feature the label of her new record company, 'Maverick'. However, the German 7" still has the old-style 'Sire' label although the German 12" features the new Maverick label. Germany also pressed a second 12" of four of the 'Masters at Work' remixes. The sleeve is identical to the first 12" but has a gold rim round the edge of the sleeve.

A 12" limited edition picture disc was pressed by WEA in England and then withdrawn and destroyed as it depicted Madonna sucking Naomi Campbell's toe. Owing to the recent royal scandal of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York being caught topless by paparazzi engaging in a similar act with her then-financial adviser, John Bryan, the pressing of 50,000 copies was recalled and destroyed to avoid embarrassing the English Royal Family, and, to avoid accusations that WEA was cashing in on the scandal. There are less than 150 copies known to be in existence.

There is a set of in-house promo CDs, with unreleased and unleaked edits of the song.

Music video

The music video for "Erotica" is one of Madonna's most infamous videos, directed by fashion photographer Fabien Baron. The American MTV aired it a total of three times (all of these in the "safe harbor") due to its highly charged sexual content, and was eventually Madonna's second video to be banned from airing by that channel. There are two versions of the video - the "standard" version which contains no nudity was released in the United States (it can be viewed on Madonna's official web page); and a more explicit version of the video was released only in Europe and Australia, which contained full-frontal nudity of Madonna and variation in the editing. The video was ranked #16 on VH1's "50 Sexiest Video Moments".

Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini, and Big Daddy Kane appeared in Madonna's music video for "Erotica". The footage of Madonna performing the song in her S&M dominatrix costume was shot at The Kitchen in New York City. The rest of the footage for the video was shot during the New York City photo sessions for her infamous book Sex (many of the photographs in the book are actually stills from this footage) - an hour of this footage was compiled by Madonna and Baron for a film that was made for the party she gave at Industria in New York for the release of Sex, a film that included a soundtrack of French music from the 1920s and 1930s that included songs from such singers as Charles Trenet, Mistinguett, Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf, and Josephine Baker. This film was also given by Madonna to her closest friends. It later leaked out to the public and copies of it were sold on eBay for some time. Today this film, known as the Sex Book Video is very hard to find and can go for prices as high as USD $500 - even more than the Sex book itself although a low quality version is circulating on the internet.

  • Director: Fabien Baron
  • Producer: Eric Liekefet
  • Executive Producer: Bobby Woods
  • Director of Photography: Michael Bernard
  • Editors: John Murray, Tom Muldoon
  • Production Company: Heart Times Coffee Cup Equals Lightning

Official versions of the "Erotica" song

  1. Album version (5:17)
  2. Album version - instrumental (5:17)
  3. Album edit (4:31)
  4. Acapella Transfer (1:39) Unreleased, leaked
  5. Acapella Transfer 1 - Spoken Vox (3:01) Unreleased, Unleaked
  6. Acapella Transfer 1 - Lead Vox (5:58) Unreleased, Unleaked
  7. Acapella Transfer 1 - Harm Vox (5:58) Unreleased, Unleaked
  8. Acapella Transfer 2 - Spoken Vox (3:53) Unreleased, Unleaked
  9. Acapella Transfer 2 - Lead Vox (3:41) Unreleased, Unleaked
  10. Acapella Transfer 2 - Harm Vox (3:42) Unreleased, Unleaked
  11. Kenlou B-Boy remix +/+++
  12. Kenlou B-Boy instrumental+
  13. Madonna's in My Jeep Mix (5:46)+
  14. Jeep Beats dub+
  15. Underground Club mix+
  16. Masters at Work dub+
  17. Bass Hit dub+
  18. House instrumental+
  19. Underground Tribal Beats+
  20. William Orbit's 12" (6:07)++
  21. William Orbit's Dub (4:53)++

+ Remixed by Masters at Work and features vocalsamples from Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson's The Best Things In Life Are Free (CJ Mackintosh Mix)
++ Remixed by William Orbit and includes additional lyrics used in the "Sex" book version titled "Erotic"
+++ Madonna performs this version of the song on her 1993 Girlie Show Tour.

Official versions of the "Erotic" song

  1. "Sex" Version (5:20)
  2. "Sex" Version Edit (4:30)

In-House Promo CDs Set

Disc 1

  1. Master Version - Wet Vox
  2. Master Version - Dry Vox
  3. Master Version - Alternate Harms
  4. Master Version - Vox Up
  5. Master Version - Vox Down
  6. Master Version - Lead Up
  7. Master Version - Spoken Up
  8. Master Version - Harms Up
  9. Master Version - Lead Only
  10. Master Version - Spoken Only
  11. Master Version - TV Track

Disc 2

  1. Master Version w/ Alternate Vox
  2. Master Version w/ Alternate Vox - Vox Up
  3. Master Version w/ Alternate Vox - Vox Down
  4. Master Version w/ Alternate Vox - Lead Up
  5. Master Version w/ Alternate Vox - Spoken Up
  6. Master Version w/ Alternate Vox - Harms Up
  7. Master Version w/ Alternate Vox - Lead Only
  8. Master Version w/ Alternate Vox - Spoken Only
  9. Master Version w/ Alternate Vox - TV Track


Chart (1992) Peak
Australia ARIA Singles Chart 4
Austrian Singles Chart 15
Canadian Singles Chart 2
Dutch Top 40 8
French SNEP Singles Chart 23
German Singles Chart 13
Irish Singles Chart 4
Japanese Oricon International Singles 2
Norwegian VG-lista Singles Chart 2
Swedish Singles Chart 3
Swiss Singles Chart 8
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Singles Sales 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40 1
UK Singles Chart 3 (270,800)

External links

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