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TGJ Replay: Madonna – ‘The Evita Years’

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Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.  So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits.

Today’s edition, in honor of what truly is a remarkable career, we press play on Madonna’s ‘Evita’ era. An era, which kicked off towards the end of her ‘Bedtime Stories’ and influenced the shape and sound of  1998’s ‘Ray Of Light’.

Step back in time below…

She may not have known it then, but the 1994 release of ‘Stories’ would no doubt serve as the catalyst behind what many would agree was the strongest creative era of Madonna’s career.

An era, she used to lobby for the role of ‘Evita’ with the Haussman directed clips, ‘Take A Bow‘ and ‘Something To Remember‘s ‘You’ll See’.

Peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, ‘Bow’s video and subsequent chart success marked yet another triumph for R&B driven music in the decade, with BabyFace responsible for the direction she took on the jam and its supporting album.

Winning her the role of Eva, ‘Donna’s portrayal of the political icon earned her a reported $1 million but served to strengthen her brand on a far deeper level, by way of vocal lessons she took in preparation for the musical.

Under the pupilage of ‘CATS‘ producer Andrew LLoyd Webber, the mezzo-soprano saw her entire range utilised in ways prior projects hadn’t warranted. On this era, she told ‘Spin‘:

“I studied with a vocal coach for Evita and I realised there was a whole piece of my voice I wasn’t using. Before, I just believed I had a really limited range and was going to make the most of it.”


So, with a new found confidence in her voice and the birth of daughter Lourdes birthing a new outlook on her craft, 1997 saw her begin work on the William Orbit driven ‘Ray Of Light’. An album, the saw the icon ditch the sex and sass found on ‘Erotica‘ and swim toward a new creative shore.

A shore, that gave the world ‘The Power Of Goodbye’ and the haunting…’Frozen’.


Peaking at #11 and #2 on the Hot 100 respectively, both singles saw sales of the album pushed to the commercial height of 16 million units moved worldwide, going 4x Platinum in the US, 6x Platinum in the UK and 7x Platinum in Russia.

While eras that followed failed to serve the magic ‘The Evita Years’ did, its ‘time’ marks one of the greatest ‘moments’ in Pop music- marking the only time the ‘Material Girl’s craft was allowed to take center stage and solidifying her status as one of the world’s greatest musicians.

With today’s scene lacking the emotion and artistry we were introduced to on ‘Light’ and ‘Stories’, here’s hoping the coming years see a number of her a number of her less talented Pop daughters pull from the era to deliver material and videos just as riveting.


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  • I STAN(D) FOR TALENT

    I STAN(D) FOR TALENT (154)

  • Tyler

    Tyler (140)

  • rita ora can win a oscar

    rita ora can win ... (139)

  • Mark111

    Mark111 (81)

53 Comments

  1. March 6, 2013 at 9:27 am
    CCFAN007 says:
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    GaGa wishes her career was as epic as Madonnas

    • March 6, 2013 at 9:32 am
      JOHNVIDAL says:
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      Are u mad?

      • March 6, 2013 at 9:35 am
        CCFAN007 says:
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        Never honey

    • March 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm
      Music Soul Harmony says:
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      Same way Ciara wishes hers was as epic as Rihanna and beyonce #oop. At least Madonna and lady gaga would actually have lunch together. Rih and Bey would never have such a flop in their same circle lol

  2. March 6, 2013 at 9:32 am
    BrandNu211 says:
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    Yall know ive always loved TGJ but these pieces you’ve been doing reminds us that yall are knowledgable about the music you write about. I feel the passion in every article you write. The Anita Baker one is my fave and this one comes close second.

  3. March 6, 2013 at 9:37 am
    BitchyBey says:
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    Gaga wants to be Madonna but she doesn’t know that less is more. Could you see her carrying a song like TAB or YS. She just does too much and she’ll never be get to on M’s level if she doesn’t change her sound. I was just on the gun thread about her and she has literally turned me off which is sad because I used to stan for her so hard circa 08/09.

    • March 6, 2013 at 9:43 am
      JOHNVIDAL says:
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      Please, we could understand if you were talking about any other skill… but singing? Gaga has that on lock

      • March 6, 2013 at 9:48 am
        TaylorWins says:
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        I’m sorry but voices aren’t important if nobody wants to listen to your music. Gaga USED to be fresh and exciting but all the imagery and messages she put out sucked the life out of her work.
        Madonna has never lost what makes her exciting and that’s why she’s still respected today. Gaga needs to learn a thing or two about stripping back and letting the music speak for itself.

  4. March 6, 2013 at 9:39 am
    MDNA2013 says:
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    Just amazing. Just amazing. I look forward to these every week.

  5. March 6, 2013 at 9:40 am
    king z says:
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    absolutely awesome writing and great narration of this era. she was certainly her most clothed and exhibited the best vocals of her career!!!

  6. March 6, 2013 at 9:41 am
    JOHNVIDAL says:
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    How many TGJ replay is TGJ doing now? One per day? Anyway, I think is nice so these retarded kids learn something about music, always thinking their basic models are slaying the numbers and the game lol

    But… TGJ: why do u always repeat yourselves so much? Didn´t you just do one of these about Madonna the other day? Come on. You can do better

    About this post: Madonna made two important decisions during this period: Evita film and Ray of Light album. Her career was struggling, nothing similar to what she did in the 80´s (commercially I mean). Evita finally gave her critical acclaim in the cinema world (after more tries than Ritry in a world tour attempting to entertain someone) and Ray of Light in the music world, winning her first real grammys after 15 years of career. She did what she needed to do to save her career and evolved to something else once more.

    • March 6, 2013 at 9:44 am
      ARTPOPPINIT says:
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      Sit sister. They posted on a performance she did in 91. That was seven years before ROL.

      • March 6, 2013 at 9:59 am
        JOHNVIDAL says:
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        And? My point is that they have done two about Madonna in no time. I want them to make this with many other huge acts. So that ignorant people can learn something about true greats

      • March 6, 2013 at 10:03 am
        FentySoSnatched says:
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        f*** off ART, don’t be rude to Vidal.

    • March 6, 2013 at 10:07 am
      That Grape Juice Team says:
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      @johnvidal

      why are you complaining about how many they do? hell if they do ten a day, it’s a great break from non-stop beyonce and rihanna posts.

      next, if YOU DON’T LIKE IT, then don’t click. just like everytime i see a gaga post, i pass

      LAST, the other madonna post they did was in honor of oscar weekend and not a TGJ replay if you just must be technical (click the tag to see). two madonna posts a month vs rihanna posts everyday? lol..come on now. why does it matter

      • March 6, 2013 at 10:21 am
        Rita is Queen says:
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        Johnvidal is old & bitter he always has to find some reason to b**** moan & complain about anything… if he has a problem with the way tgj is handling things then he shouldn’t visit the site anymore that simple

      • March 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm
        JOHNVIDAL says:
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        I´m not complaining. I´m asking for more, and not only from Madonna but from all the tru greats. Of course it is good news not having to put up with 5 Ritry or Beyonce posts per day

    • March 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm
      ƸӜƷ MC ƸӜƷ says:
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      I agree. Ray of Light and Evita ears are damage control to what Erotica, Bedtime Stories, Sexbook did to her career. I’m not complaining, RoL is a masterpiece but she needed those eras to save her career.

      • March 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm
        EIEIO says:
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        What are you talking about? WHAT did Bedtime Stories do to her career? Bedtime Stories was the damage control album. Evita and Ray of Light weren’t. She had rebounded from the Erotica era by the time those projected were made.

      • March 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm
        JOHNVIDAL says:
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        @MC
        Exactly!

  7. March 6, 2013 at 9:42 am
    BeyWhoUWanna says:
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    Madonna is the biggest w**** the business has ever seen. She copied Janet and Cyndi but for some reason everyone is unconvinced she’s so original.

    • March 6, 2013 at 10:19 am
      MovieAmi says:
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      lol Madonna never “copied” Cyndi or Janet. Shush.

    • March 12, 2013 at 2:41 am
      candy sherran says:
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      your mama is the biggest w**** for birthing an absoloute NOBODY like you. it’s no wonder youre so fkg bitter. janet copied Madonna and started to be s***,,, wasn’t she a tomboy in the beginning? but she saw Madonna and wanted to be just like her… cyndi came out the same time and Madonna never dressed like rag. cyndi was great, but no too creative… so sit down and shut thefk up!

  8. March 6, 2013 at 9:45 am
    RoyalNavi says:
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    I’m impressed with all the Replay thingies you’ve been doing 2bh. Like I really go away feeling like i’ve learned something new. Does anyone where i can watch that Evita movie?

    • March 6, 2013 at 9:48 am
      Rita is Queen says:
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      probably YouTube search for it on there

      • March 6, 2013 at 9:53 am
        RoyalNavi says:
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        Thanks sis.

  9. March 6, 2013 at 9:47 am
    Rita is Queen says:
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    GaGa Struggles to be like her smh unlike gaga Madonna has timeless music & wonderful music videos… all gaga has is Halloween costumes

    • March 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm
      Music Soul Harmony says:
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      Rita is nobody’s queen, dumb b****. And before you come for gaga think about the impact she has made that Rita will never have. Also think about how the b**** can work on those shakey vocals and then she may have a chance.

  10. March 6, 2013 at 9:48 am
    JOHNVIDAL says:
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    How is it possible that the first thing some Madonna fans do on a beautiful post about their idol is naming Gaga??? Give me a f****** break. Get over it already. It´s like the people who stan for Whitney or Mariah but hate the other… still in 2013. Pathetic

    • March 6, 2013 at 9:51 am
      Rita is Queen says:
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      how do you stan for a respected legendary artist like Whitney Houston yet support such attention seeking trash as in gaga makes no sense

      • March 6, 2013 at 10:04 am
        JOHNVIDAL says:
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        Gaga has talent, all the attention seeking part I don´t care about it and that´s it. But I seriously don´t care that much about her like some of her haters-fans on here. I´ve watched no video from her tour for example and it´s been a year since it started. Many of the people constantly hating on her have watched it
        But nothing like I defend greatness, my faves, Like Whitney Houston as you said
        And btw… your user names refers to Rita Ora? Then you are invalidated to tell me anything about any artist. Sorry

      • March 6, 2013 at 10:13 am
        Rita is Queen says:
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        Oh ok well rita has more talent then gaga and rita doesn’t have to rely on gimmicks like tranny gaga so b**** dont go there…

      • March 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm
        JOHNVIDAL says:
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        Oh yeah right. Rita has more talent than Gaga… LOL What is it? Her songwriting skills? Her voice? Her videos? Her vision? lmao

  11. March 6, 2013 at 9:49 am
    QueenCeline says:
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    A beautifully written piece for a beautiful era. This took me all the way back to my childhood.

  12. March 6, 2013 at 9:54 am
    King B>Rihanna says:
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    RAY OF LIGHT IS STILL THAT ALBUM.

  13. March 6, 2013 at 9:55 am
    AQueenLikeB says:
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    I have to laugh at these haters talking smack about Gaga when everyone knows Madonna swagger jacked Queen Cyndi and Bananarama.

    • March 6, 2013 at 10:00 am
      FentySoSnatched says:
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      A Beyonce fan talking about stealing? How rich.

  14. March 6, 2013 at 10:06 am
    Lana Del Slay says:
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    My favorite thing about Ray of light is that it showed her versatility. I kinda wish Beyonce would be a little similar and talk about something new. Tab is a love song but it’s not typical you know, like it’s different. I want her to learn from that.

  15. March 6, 2013 at 10:08 am
    Dossome says:
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    Ray of light remains one of the best albums in history and her best album to date

    • March 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm
      ƸӜƷ MC ƸӜƷ says:
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      I agree about it being one of the best albums to date, truly a masterpiece.

      I prefer Erotica though

  16. March 6, 2013 at 10:09 am
    QueenOnikaMaraj says:
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    Where is Suicide Blonde? This thread won’t be the same without his input.

  17. March 6, 2013 at 10:11 am
    LambilyKiss says:
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    Thank you for this, I was six when this album came out and it was a huge part of my child hood. I remember being little but smart enough to admire the videos for Frozen and POG. I’m in class smiling as I read this. Very unexpected.

    • March 6, 2013 at 10:30 am
      T4JC says:
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      :::: blank stare ::::

      You were six when ROL came out? Seriously?

  18. March 6, 2013 at 10:21 am
    Mad-on-her says:
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    You’ll See isn’t from Bedtime Stories, it’s from Something To Remember, a compilation of her ballads that included a few new tracks.
    Ray Of Light is of course, amazing, but Like A Prayer is just as strong in my opinion. I couldn’t choose between the two. The LAP era is always hugely associated with the Pepsi, Black Jesus, burning crosses controversy which sometimes overshadows the album itself. Ray Of Light was probably Madonna’s first era without a big controversy distracting from it. Maybe that’s why people only remember the music.
    But I always like a bit of controversy with my Madonna albums.. ;)

  19. March 6, 2013 at 11:05 am
    os says:
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    I always love this woman…she is legendary.

  20. March 6, 2013 at 12:10 pm
    spotlight says:
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    Beyonces mrs carter show Is like the living version of Michael Jackson’s Ghosts

  21. March 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm
    ƸӜƷ MC ƸӜƷ says:
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    Masterpiece, one of the best albums ever.

    That album is like The Velvet Rope for me, they both destroy careers.

  22. March 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm
    Music Soul Harmony says:
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    Lol at the losers on this site stanning for random nobodies, artists with no merit or impact on music: Rita Ora, kreayshawn, kat de Luna…I could see if their talent was exceptional but really???!! Gtfo…it’s bad enough we have ci-error Stans bullying beyonce, when the bish can’t get a hit to save her life. Sticking to the same formula of bland crunk&b which died years ago won’t save her. She’s done. Bye.

  23. March 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm
    Absolved says:
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    The middle 90s were an excellent time for Madonna musically. She became much more toned down and serious, focusing more on the music than she ever had before (or sense.) And both “Take a Bow” and especially “You’ll See” were vocally excellent songs.

  24. March 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm
    Suicide Blonde says:
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    Ray of Light is so special to me, still it gives me chills every time i hear “Drowned World” and “The Power of Good-Bye” always saves me, the emotion in her voice, the way in which each word is sung on that album is just out of this world, her voice was symphonic, her artistry is so beautiful, full of meaningful things, i love this woman, a survivor, she never ceases to amaze me, her figure has been crucial in my life, I will always thank God for the existence of this woman, her entire career is legendary, 1000 different looks and each one of those Madonna is Iconic. She never had to save his career because she has always been relevant and essential to the Music industry, without Madonna the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s wouldn’t had been the same, a timeles Icon.

    Thank you THAT GRAPE JUICE staff for this, This made my day.

    • March 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm
      PRINCE MACHIAVEL says:
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      “You were my lesson I had to learn
      I was your fortress you had to burn
      Pain is a warning that something’s wrong
      I pray to God that it won’t be long
      Do ya wanna go higher?”

      Yeeeees This Song Is So PowerFuuull, I Feel So Good Everytime I Listen To It! Your Majesty, Aka The Ultimate Bad b****, Aka The Ultimate Queen, Aka The Only One, Aka The Ultimate Fighter, Maybe Not A Great Singer, But Her Artisty And Her Catolog Are Just Excellent!!!!!!

  25. March 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm
    PRINCE MACHIAVEL says:
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    Your Majesty Is So Fierce!!! She f****** Slay The f*** Out Of Me With:”FROZEN & THE POWER OF GOODBYE”!

  26. March 12, 2013 at 2:46 am
    candy sherran says:
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    Puhleeze stop bringing up flopga, beyfounce and cyndi flauper here. This is about someone they will never ever match up to even be considered anywhere near Madonna’s league… Madonna has done way too much for the music world and YES you all know about it, especially the haters, but it’s too late… Everyone knows and acknowledges that Madonna is the single most important female in music. If all female pop stars are compared to Madonna (which they all are), then she (Queen Madonna) is the greatest female artist of ALL TIME… LOOK IT UP BTCHES!

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