Madonna Surpassed Label's Expectation For Like A Virgin

  • 17 August 2018

Madonna's record label never expected 1984's 'Like a Virgin' to sell three million copies - let alone 28 million.

Chic legend Nile Rodgers, who produced the 60-year-old Queen of Pop's second studio album - which featured top five hits 'Material Girl' and the album title track - has revealed he pitched to Sire Records boss Seymour Stein that if the record shifted more than three million units, he'd like to have a large percentage of the royalties.

Seymour later confessed to the 'Le Freak hitmaker that he'd lied about the sales of Madonna's 1983 debut self-titled LP, which he later admitted only sold 200,000 copies.

The 65-year-old studio wizard - who first met Madonna at a nightclub in New York in the 80s when she was just 25 - recalled to The Sun newspaper: ''I was told her first album had sold 375,000 copies but Seymour told me the truth a few months ago in Ibiza. It was more like 200,000.

''I said, 'What!?' And he said, 'We couldn't sell that album for nothing. People just gravitated towards the singles.

'''They bought 'Holiday' and 'Everybody' as 12-inch records but nobody would touch the album.'

''And I said, 'So you mean at that first meeting, you guys were lying to me?' and he replied, 'Yeah!' I just said, 'Wow!'''

The 'Get Lucky' guitarist had just recorded late music icon David Bowie's album 'Let Dance' - which went platinum in the US - but taking a chance on the former doughnut shop waitress, even though the label had doubts in his confidence in the young star, paid off.

He continued: ''The reason I got such a huge producer royalty was because her first album hadn't sold that well.''

He had told Seymour: ''I can guarantee you that I will sell three million albums with this girl, guarantee you!''

He added: ''They looked at me and started laughing. They said, 'Three million albums? Her album's been out a year and she's only sold 375,000 . . . ' and she hadn't even sold that!

''I said, 'Here's the deal. I don't want any money now, but if I go over the three million mark, you gotta pay me a high percentage.

''They were like, 'Sure! You sell three million we'll be jumping up and down. We'll take the bet.'

''The Like A Virgin album has sold 28million. I bet they wish they could redo that deal!''