So Why Would You Be A Madonna Fan?

August 13, 2009 by  
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That’s exactly what a former coworker (who will remain nameless) at Warner Bros. Records asked me one Grammy Awards night.  That year, 1990 something or other, a lot of the headquartered staff were watching a live feed of music’s most celebrated night right here in Burbank … the show was being broadcast from the East coast. Obviously everybody in the industry doesn’t go to all the Grammys, all the time, as some outside of “tin pan alley” would presume.  Anyway, everybody is having pizza, telling jokes, taking bets (for no money of course), checking the audience for WB artists, as well as wetting our individual whistles with a little vino, a little brew, a little fruit juice (remember, this is California )….  You get my drift; we’re having a great time.

A few hours or so into the show, a Best Pop Album, category was announced.  Naturally, we’re all pulling for Madonna’s “Ray of Light” project. The envelope. please .. And the winner is “Bingo”.   No, Bingo didn’t win, Madonna did … as she did so often during one of the most incredible runs of any pop icon. Well, I was ecstatic, nonetheless.  To my knowledge, I’ve never been called “Poker Face Jones”; that evening was no exception.  I was legitimately thrilled about her being the recipient of the honor she had been given. Looking back, I guess it showed, my excitement was pretty evident.

It was then that the ringing question of the evening was echoed from a WB staffer, who incidentally worked in the Pop promotion department: “So, why would you be a Madonna fan … you’re in the Jazz department? For a brief moment I was stunned … was this a trick question … was my friend serious … was he ready to be placed in a corner of the conference room with a dunce cap?  As I continued to try to make some sense of what I couldn’t imagine, he continued to baffle me with the notion that because Madonna was on the company’s Pop roster, she wouldn’t generate dollars for my department’s budget!!   I was quick to inform him that profits, budgets, expenditures and all those monetary “goodies” were the farthest thing from my mind. 

I simply explained to “Mr Finance” that my joy came from my appreciation for her as a talent and that she had won over our competition.  My thought was, and still is, that when you’re a family, as we positioned our mindsets to be at WB,  you root for all of your relatives … not just the ones who have the best jobs or the most degrees or trophies.  As a company and as a family, we pulled for each other, no matter what genre; no matter what background or influence.  When you think about it, music of one kind or another has influenced another kind to become another kind of music.  So it is with people, the more we explain and support the other, the more enabled and enriched the other becomes.  The more we become involved with the welfare of our neighbor … across the street or around the world, the music will be for everybody.

That’s how I could become a  Madonna fan ….