The Madonna Timeline: Song #68 – ‘Fever’ – Late Winter/Early Spring 1993

{Note: The Madonna Timeline is an ongoing feature, where I put the iPod on shuffle, and write a little anecdote on whatever was going on in my life when that Madonna song was released and/or came to prominence in my mind.}

Never know how much I love you…
Never know how much I care…

Ahh, Fever. Like ao many pop references, I only know Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’ thanks to Madonna, and after hearing the original (and countless other covers), I really have no preference. Madonna’s version came out as the B-side to ‘Bad Girl’ in the first half of 1993, and at a time when the ‘Sex/Erotica’ backlash was at its worst. As such, an ‘Us’ magazine story recounted the tale of a gym whose patrons only got into the groove when they played the instrumental version of Madonna’s ‘Fever’ – a joke in and of itself.

While I remember the song when ‘Erotica’ first came out in the fall of 1992, and then a brief resurgence when she performed it on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and the Arsenio Hall Show in early 1993, my main memories came in the early spring of that year, when the CD Maxi-Single of ‘Bad Girl’ was on perpetual play, and much of it occupied by the ‘Fever’ remixes.

Catchy as hell, with vocals as dry as my favorite martini, this was not a landmark moment in Madonna’s career, but I do view it favorably, and as covers go she could have done a lot worse (bye bye Miss American Pie indeed). Still, it was mostly filler for the otherwise-brilliant ‘Erotica’ album – and totally unnecessary at that.

Of more import was the video, which went uncharacteristically ignored ~ a pitiful shame, as it stands as a stylist’s dream-stash of images. Jittery, hot, and soaked in flaming color, it set the stage for the brilliant cool-down of ‘Rain’.

What a lovely way to burn.

Song #68 – ‘Fever’ – Late Winter/Early Spring 1993


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