Deeper and Deeper

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This article is about the song. For other uses, see Deeper and Deeper (disambiguation).
"Deeper and Deeper"
Single by Madonna
from the album Erotica
B-side "Deeper and Deeper" (Instrumental)
Released December 8, 1992
Format 7", 12", cassette single, CD single
Recorded November 13, 1991
(Manhattan, New York)
June 16, 1992
at Soundworks Recording Studios
(Astoria, New York)
Length 5:33
  • Madonna
  • Shep Pettibone
Madonna singles chronology
"Deeper and Deeper"
"Bad Girl"

"Deeper and Deeper" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna, for her fifth studio album Erotica (1992). It was written by Madonna, Shep Pettibone and Anthony Shmikin, and was released by Maverick Records as the album's second single on December 8, 1992, by Maverick Records. The song also appeared in shortened form on her second greatest hits compilation GHV2 (2001). "Deeper and Deeper" is a dance-oriented song, and features instruments such as acoustic guitars, with some Spanish, flamenco style lead and the use of castanet beats in the song's bridge. Lyrically, the song is a metaphor about a boy coming to accept his homosexuality.

"Deeper and Deeper" was met with positive reviews. Music critics have called the song one of Madonna's strongest disco inspired tracks and complimented the song's refreshing dance oriented nature. "Deeper and Deeper" attained success worldwide. The song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, it became a success on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart, reaching the top position. "Deeper and Deeper" also found commercial success outside the US, peaking in the top ten in several countries including Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, while topping the charts in Italy.

The accompanying music video for "Deeper and Deeper" was directed by Bobby Woods. It was seen as a homage to artist Andy Warhol and his films, and was set in the 1970s. Madonna plays a character based on Edie Sedgwick, who goes out to a nightclub and finds her friends and boyfriend. Madonna has performed "Deeper and Deeper" in two of her concert tours. She first performed the song on The Girlie Show World Tour in 1993. This performance had a strong disco theme, with Madonna and her backup singers and dancers wearing afro wigs and bell bottom pants. The song was not included on a tour again until eleven years later on the Re-Invention World Tour (2004), where it was performed in a jazz version and featuring Madonna dressed as a circus showgirl.

Background and development[edit]

"Deeper and Deeper" was one of those songs she always had a problem with. The middle of the song wasn't working. We tried different bridges and changes, but nothing worked. In the end, Madonna wanted the middle of the song to have a flamenco guitar strumming big-time. I didn't like the idea of taking a Philly house song and putting La Isla Bonita in the middle of it. But that's what she wanted, so that's what she got.

—Producer Shep Pettibone talking about "Deeper and "Deeper" in an article published by Icon magazine.[1]

After the completion of filming A League of Their Own, Madonna began working on her fifth studio album Erotica with Shep Pettibone.[1] The singer was feeling miserable after a string of failed relationships, and she vented out the frustration and depression in her music. According to Lucy O'Brien, author of Madonna: Like an Icon, there were no "sugar-coated" songs on the album, most of which dealt with Madonna's emotions. She altered her identity and image once more, as she had done in the past. She began to answer directly to her minority fans and critics in the homosexual community and became known as a self-conscious postmodern icon of gender and sexuality.[2] She appropriated a dominatrix persona called Dita, and the songwriting for the album, as well as the imagery in the coffee table book Sex, reflected her S&M thoughts.[3]

"Deeper and Deeper" was one of the songs developed for Erotica. According to Anthony Shinkin, who is a co-writer of the song, Madonna wanted to add flamenco style guitar to the song after hearing him play Spanish flamenco style lead on his acoustic guitar. Castanets and voila were also added and that is how the Latin style bridge of the song was created.[4] Shep Pettibone was opposed to the idea of having a flamenco guitar used in the song, but Madonna insisted on including it.[1]


A 30 second sample from "Deeper and Deeper"

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Deeper and Deeper" is a disco inspired song written by Madonna, Shep Pettibone and Anthony Shimkin. It contains a juxtaposition of swirling disco synths, of-the-moment Philly house beats, and flamenco guitar.[5] Lyrically, it talks about a boy coming to terms with his homosexuality.[6] The song also has references to the song "Do-Re-Mi" from the musical The Sound of Music in the opening line for the first verse ("When you know the notes to sing you can sing most anything") as well as another reference to Madonna's previous hit song "Vogue" in the lines "You got to just let your body move to the music/You got to just let your body go with the flow". According to Author Georges-Claude Guilbert, the sampling of Vogue "enhance[s] the ending of the song, in an ultimate post-modern twist."[7]


Critical response[edit]

Madonna and her back up singers and dancers Donna De Lory and Niki Haris wore disco inspired clothing for the performance of "Deeper and Deeper" in 1993's The Girlie Show World Tour

"Deeper and Deeper" received generally positive reviews from music critics. Rolling Stone described the dance-pop song as a "pure disco" moment, adding that the track doesn't need "emotional resonance" to make it race.[8] When reviewing Madonna's compilation album GHV2 in 2001, Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine said the song was "both a product of its time and a timeless Madonna classic in the 'Vogue' vein." He goes on to say, "The track even invokes that famous chart-topper's invitation to the dancefloor: 'Let your body move to the music!' One of the few tracks from 'Erotica' not weighed down or muddled by Pettibone's gritty production, 'Deeper and Deeper' sounds just as good today as it did nearly a decade ago."[9] In 2011, Slant Magazine listed "Deeper and Deeper" at number 36 on their "Best Singles of the '90s" list, referring to the pop anthem as among Madonna's "finest achievements" and describing it as "both an acute distillation of Erotica's smut-glam decadence and the singer's lifelong blond ambition."[10] Entertainment Weekly said that the song "whooshes like a subway train going express at 4 a.m."[11] Billboard Magazine called the song a "playful disco-throwback" and also added that it was a "potential hit single" from the Erotica album.[12] Charlotte Robinson of also gave the song a positive review, stating that the song is "at heart, a great pop song about the importance of listening to Mom and Dad's advice."[13] Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote in All Music Guide to Rock that "Deeper and Deeper" (along with Rain) is some of Madonna's "best and most accomplished music."[14]

Commercial response[edit]

"Deeper and Deeper" achieved success worldwide, reaching number one in Italy, the top 10 in most countries and peaked higher than the lead single in Canada and France, but failed to have as big an impact as her previous singles. In the United States, the song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent a total of 17 weeks on the chart. It topped the Hot Dance Club Play chart and also reached number two on the U.S. Pop Chart.[15] On the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart it came in the number 66 position. In Canada, it peaked at number two on the Canadian Singles Chart.

In Europe, "Deeper and "Deeper" reached number one in Italy (her second number one single from the album), the top 10 in Belgium, Ireland and the UK, and also became the only top 20 hit from Erotica in France, reaching number 17. It peaked at number nine in the European Hot 100 Singles chart. It debuted at number ten on the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number six in its second week, spending a total of nine weeks in the chart, seven of which were in the top 40.[16] It was her first record to miss the UK top five since "The Look of Love" in 1987. As of 2008, "Deeper and Deeper" has sold over 136,800 copies in the United Kingdom.[17] It became Madonna's 21st top 10 hit in New Zealand,[18] and almost broke into the top 10 in Australia, peaking at number 11.

Music video[edit]

Screenshot of the "Deeper and Deeper" music video, featuring Madonna and her girlfriends watching a stripper as they eat bananas; this has been seen as a reference to the Warhol penned cover art for The Velvet Underground & Nico.

The music video for "Deeper and Deeper" was shot on November 7–8, 1992 at Ren-Mar Studios and The Roxbury nightclub in Hollywood, California, and was directed by Bobby Woods (who was also the executive producer at Madonna's company, Boy Toy Inc.). The 1970s inspired music video is a tribute to American artist Andy Warhol and Italian director Luchino Visconti.[7] The video begins with a male character, played by German actor Udo Kier (who had appeared in the Andy Warhol films Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula and had previously appeared in Madonna's "Erotica" video and Sex book), in a darkened room speaking German words that are subtitled in English: "Beware! Our idols and demons will pursue us. Until we learn to let them go!"[7] This subtitle is not translation, though. The true words are: "You don't measure that boy a dress, you measure him pants!" Then in the video Madonna (playing a character which was inspired by Edie Sedgwick), visits a night club and looks for her friends.[19] She walks around and dances in the night club until she finds her boyfriend (played by Kier), who seems to have a big influence on the character Madonna plays.[20] According to Author Georges-Claude Guilbert in his book Madonna as Postmodern Myth, the viewer is "obviously meant to gather [Madonna's character] has signed some kind of Faustian pact with the diabolical Udo Kier."[7]

"The images of 'Deeper and Deeper', associating drag, modeling, narcisscism and lesbianism, provide a typical commentary on the construction of Madonna's success...[&] comfort Madonna's gay icon status, especially when you spot on the disco dancefloor the voluminous drag queen Chi Chi LaRue, famous singer and director of gay pornographic movies."

—Author Georges Claude Guilbert in his book Madonna as Postmodern Myth[7]

The video features images in both color and black-and-white and features appearances and cameos from gay-porn director Chi Chi LaRue, Sofia Coppola (acclaimed director of films such as The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation) and Madonna's long time friend and collaborator, actress Debi Mazar, who had previously appeared on Madonna's music videos for her songs "Papa Don't Preach", "True Blue" and would once again appear in a Madonna music video seven years later in Madonna's video for "Music".

There are two different versions of the "Deeper And Deeper" music video: One for the 'Radio Edit'-Version of the song, which is edited in a more mainstream and accessible way, and a slightly longer version which fits the 'Album Version' of the track. The longer version features more footage of Udo Kier, including the ending scene, in which he cuts off Madonna's balloons. Additionally there's also a scene of Madonna and her girlfriends peeling and eating bananas while watching a stripper (played by gay pornographic actor Joey Stefano, who had also appeared on Madonna's controversial Sex book) pose in his underwear. The bananas in this scene have been thought to be a reference to a Warhol print of a banana, which was featured on the album cover to The Velvet Underground & Nico.[7] The "Deeper and Deeper" music video marked the first time Madonna appeared in one of her musics video with her eyebrows completely shaved off,[21] which according to herself one of the best things she ever did.[22] Shown within a scene in the music video is a vinyl record with the Maverick Records logo, the record label which Madonna had just co-founded at that time.

Up until 2009, the music video for the song had never been commercially available, as it had been excluded from Madonna's Video Collection 93:99 compilation released in 1999. It was not until 10 years later that it was included on Madonna's Celebration DVD that the video was finally made available to the public.

Live Performances[edit]

Madonna performing a slow, Jazz version of "Deeper and Deeper" during the Re-Invention World Tour of 2004

Madonna first performed "Deeper and Deeper" during The Girlie Show World Tour of 1993. The beginning of the song was connected to the end of the previous performance, "Express Yourself".[23] This performance began with a male member from the audience jumping onto the stage trying to dance with Madonna, who starts calling out for security. The man then proceeds to rip off his breakaway pants revealing himself as one of the dancers from the show. For this performance, Madonna and her dancers were dressed in a Donna Summer-style disco ensemble, which consisted of a blond afro wig, 1970's style halters and royal blue bell-bottom pants, and sang the song in a retro-seventies mode, with disco balls sparkling across the stage.[24][25] John Pareles from The New York Times felt that it was during the performances of "Express Yourself" and "Deeper and Deeper" that the show reached its climax; "The core of the show takes place in a disco stage setting with glittering Mylar curtains and mirrored balls. Madonna and the dancers, wearing wildly patterned neo-1970's halters and bell-bottoms, romp through "Express Yourself" and "Deeper and Deeper"—songs about freeing desire."[26] Towards the end of the performance, Madonna and her dancers found themselves engaging in an hedonistic orgy, which gave way to the next performance of the show; "Why's It So Hard".[27] In the book Madonna's Drowned Worlds, the "boyish" and "androgynous" looks of the female dancers in the Girlie Show World Tour are discussed, and it is said that it is only when one of the females appears topless during the performance of "Deeper and Deeper", that her sex is determinable.[28]

11 years later, during 2004's Re-Invention World Tour, a slowed-down cabaret, jazzy-style version of "Deeper and Deeper" was included on the show's Circus-Cabaret segment. Following the energetic performance of "Hanky Panky", Madonna performed the song flanked by her two back-up singers Donna De Lory and Siedah Garrett. Dressed in a sequined red-and-white striped showgirl corset with flapper headband and red high-heels, Madonna sang the phrase "when you know the notes to sing, you can sing most any - thing" instead of the original "when you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything".[29] Critics praised Madonna's vocals during the performance. A reviewer from The Washington Times commented that the Madonna "brought a jazzy touch to “Deeper and Deeper,” which showed vocal nuances we didn’t know she had."[30] Liz Smith from The New York Times commented that "The arrangements are forcefully driven or sensually slowed" and praised Madonna's ability of turning a dance song into a slow romantic one; "who knew her 1992 'Deeper and Deeper' dance hit had such erotic/romance resonance?".[31]

Track listing and formats[edit]


Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"I'm Gonna Get You" by Bizarre Inc featuring Angie Brown
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
30 January 1993
Succeeded by
"Don't You Want Me" by Felix featuring Jomanda

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Pettibone, Shep (1993). "Erotica Diaries". Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ Visual Sense: A Cultural Reader. Berg Publishers. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  3. ^ O'Brien 2008, p. 256
  4. ^ "MadonnaTribe Meets Tony Shinkin". 
  5. ^ "Album Review: Madonna Erotica". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  6. ^ Dan Cadan, "GHV2" album notes
  7. ^ a b c d e f Madonna as Postmodern Myth. McFarland & Company. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  8. ^ Berger, Arion (1992-11-26). "Erotica". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  9. ^ "Madonna: GHV2 Album Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  10. ^ "The 100 Best Singles of the 1990s". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  11. ^ Browne, David (1992-10-23). "Erotica Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  12. ^ "Billboard Magazine 1992(Erotica)". 
  13. ^ "Madonna: Greatest Hits Volume 2". 
  14. ^ All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul. Hal Leonard Corporation. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^
  17. ^ "The Immaculate Guide to 50 Years of Madonna". 
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Kaye, Jeff (1993-09-23). "The Blue Material Girl Pop music: Madonna's lusty `Girlie Show' tour opens in London to cheers of 72,000 fans". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  24. ^ Metz & Benson 1999, pp. 22
  25. ^ Lenig, Stuart (June 16, 2010). The Twisted Tale of Glam Rock. p. 145. ISBN 9780313379864. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  26. ^ Pareles, Jon (October 16, 1993). "Review/Pop; From Madonna, a New Palatability but Still Spicy". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  27. ^ Madonna: The Rolling Stone Files : The Ultimate Compendium of Interviews, Articles, Facts and Opinions from the Files of Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone. 1997. ISBN 978-0786881543. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  28. ^ Madonna's Drowned Worlds. Ashgate Publishing. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  29. ^ Timmerman, Dirk (2007). Madonna Live! Secret Re-inventions and Confessions on Tour. p. 145. ISBN 90-8595-002-3. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  30. ^ "Madonna serves up dull inventions". The Washington Times. June 14, 2004. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  31. ^ Smith, Elizabeth (2004-05-24). "Liz Smith review of the Re-Invention Tour". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  32. ^ a b c d e f g Hit Parade (1992). "Madonna — Deeper and Deeper (European Charts)". Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  33. ^ radio2top30. "Radio2 Top 30". 
  34. ^ Volume 57, No. 5, February 13 1993
  35. ^ Charts-Surfer (1992). "German Singles Chart (Search)". Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  36. ^ "Irish Singles Chart (Search)". 3 December 1992. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  37. ^ "Madonna: Discografia Italiana" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. 1984–1999. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  38. ^ Every Hit (1992). "UK Singles Chart (Search)". Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  39. ^ a b "Billboard Charts". AllMusic. 1992. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  40. ^ "Madonna Chart History: Pop Songs". Billboard. 
  41. ^ "Madonna Chart History: Rhythmic Songs". Billboard. 
  42. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1993". RPM. 1993-12-18. Retrieved 2011-05-13. 
  43. ^ "I singoli più venduti del 1993". Hit Parade Italia. Federation of the Italian Music Industry. 1996-12-31. Retrieved 2012-06-06. 
  44. ^ "ACTUAL ARTICLE TITLE BELONGS HERE!". Billboard. 1993-12-31. Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  45. ^ "1993 The Year in Music, Special Double Issue". Billboard 105 (52). 1993-12-25. ISSN 0006-2510. 

External links[edit]