Thursday, February 12, 2009

When Madonna Was Hot - "La Isla Bonita"

This is part of my series on various Madonna singles from the 1986 to 1998 period - a period in which her sound experienced extensive growth, and she issued songs that were light years away from her earlier dance-by-the-numbers numbers such as "Holiday."

Several years away from her performance in "Evita," Madonna tackled the song "La Isla Bonita," adding a deep southern flavor to her sound. No, not deep south...REAL deep south. As in south of the border.

And, according to Wikipedia, the song wasn't originally intended for her:

"La Isla Bonita" was originally written by Patrick Leonard and Bruce Gaitsch, and intended for Michael Jackson for his Bad album, who, according to Gaitsch, turned it down. Working with Leonard on the True Blue album, Madonna accepted it in Jackson's place, and re-wrote the song's lyrics, earning herself a co-writing credit.

As for which "la isla bonita" is referenced, the controversy rages. Pick any of several Caribbean, Central American, or South American islands, or perhaps San Pedro, California (home of Mrs. Penn's friend, Charles Bukowski), or perhaps something else. Personally I think she was writing about Greenland, but I could be wrong.

The important thing is that Madonna again opened up her sound in this song, presaging things to come.
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