Madonna Like A Prayer demos surface

Madonna‘s old producer and songwriting partner Patrick Leonard has made available some Like A Prayer demos in an attempt to de-value the activities of the star’s former aid who is trying to sell unreleased recordings at auction.

On YouTube, Leonard has posted a demo of ‘Like A Prayer’ from “the day it was written” along with a demo of ‘Cherish’ and perhaps most interestingly, the demo of an unreleased song called ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’ which Patrick has described as “a finished song with her vocal that no one has ever heard and it’s pretty damn good.”

Tapes of these recordings are being sold by Madonna’s former art adviser Darlene Lutz. Madonna tried, unsuccessfully, to stop this happening. Patrick Leonard writes on YouTube that “I hope these posts stop the sale of that cassette at auction. Not cool at all that someone would sell it. Not theirs to sell.”

These demos are a rare insight into work-in-progress Madonna. None of her classic studio albums in the 1980s and 1990s have so far received the expanded reissue treatment (as physical product) and even if they did, it’s not a given that she would chose to include such demos. So enjoy these before she tells Patrick Leonard to take them down!

42 responses to Madonna Like A Prayer demos surface

  1. Bernard Reynaert says:

    According to the website Pop Music Deluxe (in French) there is a rumour that a remastered deluxe edition of “Like a prayer” will be released at the end of november. The album will be rereleased as a “1 CD / 2 CD / 4 CD / vinyl et vinyl picture disc…

  2. william says:

    Makes you wonder why Madonna doesn’t want to reissue her albums as deluxes or super deluxes? She would make a ton of money and also she reawaken her older fans to her earlier stuff. A lot of her new stuff is just too autotuned.

  3. Jim Brady says:

    Considering how easy it is to turn YouTube videos into MP3 files, Patrick’s release of these demos is a bit of an F-you to the person intending to sell this tape and I honestly don’t blame him. Knowing many people can and will do just that makes this music much less “rare” and therefore less valuable at auction.

  4. Griffin says:

    Thank you Paul S. for this post. Nice to have a listen of the Like a prayer & Cherish demo’s. Not sure whether I would pay for a demo which is “basically” the same as the final/album version. It is definitely nice to hear Angels with dirty faces. A big thank you to Patrick Leonard. I think I would pay for a good expanded super deluxe edition with 3/4/5 or more discs of Like A Prayer with all the 7” & 12” remixes, dub, instr, acapella etc etc (un)released along with “finished” songs like Angels with dirt faces on it, hahaha.

  5. Massimo says:

    These are inutil polemics, is enough to release a Deluxe Edition of the albums with the demos…

  6. Colin says:

    Once the Demo’s have been sold at auction would they be able to release them and profit from the sales of them? Could be nice little earner for someone!

  7. Jason says:

    Sugababes would also have a song called Angels With Dirty Faces later on…

  8. Bengt says:

    Angels with dirty faces:
    Does anyone else get “Eight Wonder” vibes? Imagine Patsy Kensits vocals on that track…
    A little bit more up-tempo and it would have been “Cross my heart”.

  9. Stephen says:

    “Angels with dirty faces” reminds me of “Supernatural” the b-side of “Cherish” it’s nice to hear something “new” from Madonna that isn’t auto-tinned to death

  10. ed says:

    I do love it when madonna demos leak and theres been quite a few lately. angels with dirty faces is intriguing but sounds very similar to whos that girl. makes me wonder if angels with dirty faces then became whos that girl

    • DavidB says:

      Who’s That Girl would’ve been out before these demos I’d guess.

    • Ged says:

      “Who’s That Girl” released circa: June 1987.
      “Like A Prayer” album recording sessions 1988 – title track released March 1989, followed by album a week or two later.

  11. Ian says:

    The vocal on LAP sounds, for the most part (especially the intro), like the take used on the eventual release…? Odd, so polished at the first demo stage.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I’m taking the whole ‘the day it was written’ with a bit of a pinch of salt. Seems unlikely that in the very day the song was written finished studio quality vocals were recorded with full lyrics. Finished vocals are normally the last thing to happen and most demos have some kind of guide vocal with embryonic lyrics that get updated as the song develops.

      • Luc Swaenen says:

        Bwaah.. Could be real, don’t forget that those song we’re probably completely finished as they’re written and conceived without Madonna…

  12. Shane says:

    I honestly dont get how the auction houses/platform just allow for stolen goods to be sold. If they managed to ban sale of promos on ebay back years ago!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      A judge declared the auction could go ahead, so presumably he deemed that the possessions weren’t ‘stolen’ as such.

  13. Dan says:

    Angels with Dirty Faces is perfect late 80s synth pop joy, I’m glad it’s finally surfaced. Also, that Like a Prayer demo is heavenly, her harmonies are beautiful. Hoping the rest will leak.

  14. Bridge says:

    Great sleuthing on this Paul!
    That Angels song is actually quite good.

  15. -SG- says:

    Having a look at the auction, these tapes are going for small potatoes, with max bid estimates $1,000 at best. I wonder why she didn’t just pay the ransom or use a proxy bid and be done with the lot for $10,000; probably less than the legal cost of fighting the sale of these curiosities.

    • Dan says:

      Just like on eBay, the major bidders will come in the last 5 minutes of the auction. Madonna is a very collectible artist with plenty of filthy rich fans, I’m sure they’ll go for a lot.

  16. Scott says:

    Peter Allen also had a song called “Angels With Dirty Faces.” Such a unique and unusual title, I thought it had to be the same song, but its not. Interesting.

  17. Gary C says:

    I’d recommend the Guy Pratt book, he played bass on LAP and later some awful MJ song.
    He has some great little stories regarding his experiences working with both.

  18. paul wren says:

    Like A Prayer is remarkably complete for an early first run through. Really nice.

  19. Andrew Greenwood says:

    PS: Angels with Dirty Faces is very nice, despite my shock that it isn’t the Jimmy Pursey / Sham 69 one!

  20. Andrew Greenwood says:

    it would be nice if she just reissued True Blue with the original version of Papa Don’t Preach on it!

  21. David Roest says:

    What a treat. First a full demo disc of Ray Of Light sessions and now this.

  22. Bogdan says:

    These sound fantastic! One can only hope one day she decides to reissue her classic albums and include such demos.

  23. Andreas says:

    ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’ is very good. Shows again how good and touching music used to be. Even this demo is better than most of today’s stuff!

  24. Kevin says:

    Technically, Prince and Madonna did not work together. They sent tapes back and forth. But yes, it would be intriguing to hear Prince’s contributions that didn’t make the final cut.

  25. Daniel says:

    Are the vocals on LAP demo the same from the finished version?

    • Carlos says:

      It seems so. Someone posted on the YouTube video an excerpt from a Patrick Leonard interview talking about the LAP album, and he says that many songs in that album were done very quickly, including LAP, with Madonna singing the demo and then they’d use that take in the album version (DJMichaelAngelo credit):

      “Madonna would write the lyrics in an hour, the same amount of time it took me to write the music (laughs). And then she’d sing it. We’d do some harmonies, she’d sing some harmony parts, and usually by three or four in the afternoon, she was gone.

      That’s how “Like a Prayer” was written, and then the next day we wrote “Cherish,” and then the next day we wrote “Dear Jessie.” And that’s how it was. We wrote the album in less than two weeks.

      Because we wrote a song a day, and we didn’t change them. And oftentimes the vocal that she did was the lead vocal, we didn’t even change the lead vocal. That was it. She sang it. It was done.”

    • JPH says:

      Definitely sound like the final vocals that were used. Pretty much identical, as someone who’s listened to that song 8 billion times in the last 30 years haha.

  26. MusicFan says:

    What I’d really like are the Like A Prayer sessions which Madonna did with Prince.

    Prince plays guitar on Like A Prayer, Keep It Together and Act of Contrition (all uncredited) and co-wrote and performs on Love Song.

    Patrick Leonard confirmed this, so it would be great to hear what else Prince and Madonna worked on together during these sessions!

    • -SG- says:

      You can hear a lot of the edited out Prince content for Like a Prayer on the bass dub mix available on the promo 12″, albeit her vocals are mostly missing, you get the idea that he wanted to make the song a lot more funky.

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