The Immaculate Collection is the first greatest hits album by American singer-songwriter Madonna. It was released on November 9, 1990, by Sire Records and Warner Bros. Records. It contains new remixes of fifteen of her hit singles from 1983 to 1990, as well as two new tracks, "Justify My Love" and "Rescue Me". The title of the album is a loose pun of theImmaculate Conception, the conception of the Virgin Mary without any stain of the original sin. This name follows Madonna's religious-themed songs and videos, as well as the second section of her Blond Ambition World Tour, which also employed religious motifs. An extended play titled The Holiday Collection was issued in Europe to accompany the compilation and the re-release of the single "Holiday". It is the first album ever to use an audio technology calledQSound.[1]

The album was ranked at number one on the Blender magazine's list of "100 Greatest American Albums of All Time". In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named the album the 184th greatest album of all time.[2] It became Madonna's second album to be certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipment of over 10 million copies across the United States. It spent the second highest number of consecutive weeks at number one for a female solo artist in the U.K., being at number one for a 9 week stint. The album has sold 30 million copies worldwide,[3] making it the best-selling compilation album by a solo artist and one of the best selling albums of all time. "Justify My Love", the album's first single, became Madonna's ninth number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and was one of her most controversial singles due to its sexually explicit music video. "Rescue Me" was released as the second single and became the highest-debuting single on Hot 100 by a female artist at that time, entering the chart at number fifteen and peaking at number nine. Due to space restrictions, the compilation excludes several of her top 10 hits of the 80's, such as "Angel", "Dress You Up", "True Blue", "Who's That Girl", "Causing a Commotion", "Keep It Together" and "Hanky Panky".

Contents[edit | edit source]

 [hide*1 Background

Background[edit][edit | edit source]

Originally titled Ultra Madonna, the name was changed as Warner Bros. felt that it was too similar to the name of dance artist Ultra Naté. Madonna dedicated the album to "The Pope, my divine inspiration". This led to many believing it was dedicated to Pope John Paul II, but it was actually dedicated to her brother, Christopher Ciccone, who had spent the year on tour with Madonna ("The Pope" is one of his nicknames). The production of this album is notable for its use of QSound; all songs were mixed in using it, except "Justify My Love" and "Rescue Me". A QSound mix of "Justify My Love" was later released on the US maxi-single to the song.

All of the songs on The Immaculate Collection (with the exception of the two new songs) were remixed by Shep Pettibone alongside either Goh Hotoda or Michael Hutchinson and some were also edited down from their original lengths in order to decrease the overall running time. While all the vocals remain the same as in the original recordings, "Like a Prayer" and "Express Yourself" feature different music backing Madonna's vocals than their original album release. It was decided that a mixture of ballads and pop-dance hits would be included, although there wasn't space for every single that Madonna had released. "Justify My Love" became the first single to promote the album, and created a furor over the sexual video and the controversy in regards to who wrote it; poet Ingrid Chavez claimed she wrote part of the lyrics alongside credited lyricist Lenny Kravitz. The single shot to number one in the U.S. and number two in the UK. A second release, "Rescue Me", was released in early 1991, which also went top ten.

Warner Bros. released an EP in the UK and Europe titled The Holiday Collection which had the same design as The Immaculate Collection. The full-length version of "Holiday" was included alongside "True Blue", "Who's That Girl", and the Silver Screen Single mix of "Causing a Commotion". The re-released "Holiday" eventually went to No. 5 in the UK charts, while a re-release of the ballad "Crazy for You" (using the new remixed version) peaked at No. 2. Blender magazine ranked the album at number one on their list of "100 Greatest American Albums of All Time".[4] In 2003, the album was ranked number 278 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In November 2006, the album was confirmed by the British Phonographic Industry to be the biggest selling album by a solo female artist in British history, and the tenth biggest selling album of all time in the UK by any artist.[5] On December 11, 1990, a box set entitled The Royal Box was released which included either a Cassette/VHS (US-only) or Satin CD Digipak/VHS (US, Germany/UK) with additional postcards and poster. The VHS version also included the 1990MTV Video Music Awards performance of "Vogue".

Critical reception[edit][edit | edit source]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [6]
Robert Christgau A+[7]
Entertainment Weekly A[8]
Mojo favorable[9]
Rolling Stone [10]
Sputnikmusic 3/5[11]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic graded the album five out of five stars. He starts by saying that "On the surface... [the album] appears to be a definitive retrospective of Madonna's heyday in the '80s". However, his opinion is that remastering in Q-Sound, making some of the songs faster than the original versions and other changes, makes it so "while all the hits are present, they're simply not in their correct versions." Nevertheless, he concludes that "until the original single versions are compiled on another album, The Immaculate Collection is the closest thing to a definitive retrospective."[6] Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A rating, saying: "More than a mere greatest-hits set, it's hands down the catchiest collection of '80s singles."[8] Ross Bennett from Mojo called the album "truly the best of best of's" and stated: "This has to be right up there with Abba Gold as a collection of singles so deeply ingrained in the collective consciousness [...] But there is no denying the pop nous behind Ms Ciccone's first 15 years of hits, here brilliantly packaged in, gasp, chronological order.[9]

Commercial response[edit][edit | edit source]

The Immaculate Collection stayed atop the UK Albums chart for nine weeks, becoming the biggest selling UK album in 1990, also breaking the record for the longestconsecutive weeks at #1 by a solo female artist, a record that would not be matched until 2011 by Adele's album 21. On March 12, 2006, the album re-entered the UK charts more than 15 years after its release at #38 (it reached #1 on its original release in 1990).[12] Madonna's Confessions on a Dance Floor was also in the top 20 at #13. In 2006, the album returned to Ireland's Top 100 Albums chart, entering at #21, charting higher than Confessions on a Dance Floor, which was at #95. On the week of April 28, 2008, the album rose 50 places from #122 to #72 on the official UK Albums Chart, the same week that Madonna's eleventh studio album Hard Candywas released internationally.

In the United States, The Immaculate Collection was certified Diamond (10× Platinum) by RIAA, becoming one of the best-selling albums in the country. In the United Kingdom, The Immaculate Collection was certified 12× Platinum by BPI for shipment of 3.6 million copies. It remained the best-selling album by a female artist in the United Kingdom for eleven years, until the release of Adele's 21 (2011).[13]

The Immaculate Collection was certified 12× Platinum by Australian Recording Industry Association, becoming one of the best-selling albums in Australia.[14] In France, the album was certified Diamond for shipment of one million copies of the album. The Immaculate Collection has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, making it Madonna's best-seller and one of the world's best-selling albums of all time. It also remains the best-selling compilation album ever released by a solo artist.[15][16][17][18]

Singles[edit][edit | edit source]

From this album, Madonna released four singles:

# Title Date
1. "Justify My Love" November 6, 1990
2. "Crazy for You" (Remix) (UK) February 19, 1991
3. "Rescue Me" February 26, 1991
4. "Holiday" / The Holiday Collection(UK re-release) June 4, 1991

Track listing[edit][edit | edit source]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Holiday"   *Curtis Hudson*Lisa Stevens John "Jellybean" Benitez 4:04
2. "Lucky Star"   Madonna Reggie Lucas 3:39
3. "Borderline"   Lucas Lucas 4:00
4. "Like a Virgin"   *Billy Steinberg*Tom Kelly Nile Rodgers 3:11
5. "Material Girl"   *Peter Brown*Robert Rans Rodgers 3:53
6. "Crazy for You"   *John Bettis*Jon Lind Benitez 3:45
7. "Into the Groove"   *Madonna *Madonna 4:10
8. "Live to Tell"   *Madonna *Madonna
  • Leonard
9. "Papa Don't Preach"   *Brian Elliot
  • Madonna[b]
  • Bray
10. "Open Your Heart"   *Madonna
  • Gardner Cole
  • Peter Rafelson
  • Leonard
11. "La Isla Bonita"   *Madonna
  • Leonard
  • Bruce Gaitsch
  • Leonard
12. "Like a Prayer"   *Madonna
  • Leonard
  • Leonard
  • Pettibone[a]
13. "Express Yourself"   *Madonna
  • Bray
  • Bray
  • Pettibone[a]
14. "Cherish"   *Madonna
  • Leonard
  • Leonard
15. "Vogue"   *Madonna
  • Pettibone
  • Pettibone
  • Craig Kostich[c]
16. "Justify My Love"   *Lenny Kravitz*Ingrid Chavez
  • Madonna[b]
  • André Betts[d]
17. "Rescue Me"   *Madonna
  • Pettibone
  • Pettibone
  • ^a signifies an additional producer
  • ^b signifies additional lyrics by
  • ^c signifies an executive producer
  • ^d signifies an associate producer
  • All tracks are remixed using QSound, with the exception of "Justify My Love" and "Rescue Me".
  • Chavez sued Kravitz in July 1991, claiming that she wrote "Justify My Love" but received no credit. She received an out-of-court settlement and gained a co-writing credit.[20]
  • In an interview with website Madonna Tribe, Tony Shimkin, who co-wrote seven songs from Madonna's Erotica, claimed that he co-wrote "Rescue Me" but never received credit for it.[21]

Formats[edit][edit | edit source]

  • CD — containing the 17-track compilation album.
  • CD Limited Edition Box Set — The Royal Box containing a Satin Digi-Pak CD with VHS containing "Vogue" (from the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards), a 24" × 36" color poster and postcard assortment, housed in a lingerie-inspired LP sized box.[22]
  • CD Limited Edition Gold Edition — Rare 1995 Taiwanese exclusive limited 'Gold' edition in a unique gold-bordered slipcase.[23]
  • Cassette — containing the 17-track compilation album.
  • Cassette Limited Edition Box Set — The Royal Box containing the Cassette version with VHS containing "Vogue" (from the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards), a 24" × 36" color poster and postcard assortment, housed in a lingerie-inspired LP sized box.[22]
  • LP  — double disc, containing 17 tracks.
  • LP Limited Edition Picture Disc — UK double picture disc, containing 17 tracks.[24]
  • Mini Disc — 17-track compilation, released October 25, 1999.[25]
  • VHS — 13-track video compilation, contains "Oh Father", not included on the audio releases, and "Vogue" (from the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards).
  • Laserdisc — 13-track double disc video compilation, contains "Oh Father", not included on the audio releases and "Vogue" (from the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards).
  • VCD — Asia only, 13-track video compilation, contains "Oh Father", not included on the audio releases and "Vogue" (from the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards).
  • DVD — 13-track video compilation released in November 1999, contains "Oh Father", not included on the audio releases and "Vogue" (from the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards).[26]
  • iTunes version — released digitally in 2005, contains different versions of: "Lucky Star" (U.S. remix) – 7:15, "Borderline" (remix) – 5:18 and "Like a Prayer" (extended 12" version) – 7:24; all other tracks are the same as the original release.

The Holiday Collection[edit][edit | edit source]

The Holiday Collection is an EP by American singer-songwriter Madonna. It was released as an accompanying title to the greatest hits package The Immaculate Collection only in the United Kingdom in 1991 by Sire Records.[27][28] The EP was a CD and Cassette maxi-single with "Holiday" as the lead track. It includes three tracks which were omitted from The Immaculate Collection and had been big hits in the UK; "True Blue" (#1), "Who's That Girl" (#1) and "Causing a Commotion" (#4). This was the third time "Holiday" had entered the UK Singles Chart, the first in 1984 reaching number six and the second in 1985 where it reached number two, only being kept off the top spot by her own single "Into the Groove"). This time it reached number five. Some weeks after the CD was released, a very limited cassette was also released, with the same track listing.

UK CD / Cassette single
  1. "Holiday" (album version) – 6:09
  2. "True Blue" (album version) – 4:17
  3. "Who's That Girl" (album version) – 3:58
  4. "Causin' a Commotion" (Silver Screen single mix) – 4:06

Charts[edit][edit | edit source]

Sales and certifications[edit][edit | edit source]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Argentina (CAPIF)[62] 3× Platinum 180,000x
Australia (ARIA)[63] 12× Platinum 880,000[64]
Austria (IFPI Austria)[65] Platinum 50,000x
Brazil (ABPD)[66] 2× Platinum 500,000
Canada (Music Canada)[67] 7× Platinum 700,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[68] Platinum 50,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[69] Platinum 92,500[69]
France (SNEP)[70] Diamond 1,114,700[71]
Germany (BVMI)[72] 3× Gold 750,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[73] 4× Platinum 800,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[74] 3× Platinum 750,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[75] 3× Platinum 300,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[76] 7× Platinum 105,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[38] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Sweden (GLF)[77] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[78] Platinum 50,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[79] 12× Platinum 3,600,000^
United States (RIAA)[80] Diamond 10,000,000^

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

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