Rescue Me (Madonna song)

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"Rescue Me"
Madonna - Rescue Me (single).png
Single by Madonna
from the album The Immaculate Collection
B-side "Spotlight"
Released February 12, 1991 (1991-02-12)
Recorded August 1990
Studio Axis Recording Studios
(New York City, New York)
Length 5:31
  • Madonna
  • Pettibone
Madonna singles chronology
"Justify My Love"
"Rescue Me"
"This Used to Be My Playground"
"Justify My Love"
"Rescue Me"
"This Used to Be My Playground"

"Rescue Me" is a song by American singer and songwriter Madonna from her first greatest hits compilation The Immaculate Collection (1990). It was written by Madonna and Shep Pettibone, who also worked with her on the worldwide chart-topping single "Vogue" (1990) as well as her fifth studio album Erotica (1992). Sire Records released "Rescue Me" as the second single from The Immaculate Collection on February 12, 1991, and as the third single on April 7 in the United Kingdom. It peaked in the top-five in countries such as Ireland, the UK, Italy, and South Africa, and at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100.


"Rescue Me" was one of two newly released songs on The Immaculate Collection, the other being "Justify My Love". In the United States, it was released as the second single on February 12, 1991, and as the third single on April 7 in the United Kingdom, due to a remix of "Crazy for You" (1985) representing as the second single from the collection. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of March 2, 1991 at number fifteen, becoming highest-debuting single on the chart by a female artist at the time.


"Rescue Me" is an upbeat dance-pop and house track; its composition is similar to that of "Vogue" (1990). According to sheet music published at at Alfred Publishing, the song is composed in the key of D-flat major, with Madonna's vocals ranging from B♭3 to E♭5.[1] It is set in the time signature of common time and has a tempo of 116 beats per minute. Lyrically, "Rescue Me" expresses the extinguishing of deranged behavior in a relationship.

The song opens with a heartbeat and thunder, followed by a prominent bass line, a piano, snaps, and percussion. Madonna begins singing "I'm talking/I believe in the power of love/I'm singing/ I believe that you can rescue me" before engaging in the breathy, poetic spoken-word first and second verses, and the bridge; this style was also used in "Justify My Love" (1990). She sings "Rescue me/It's hard to believe your love has given me hope/Rescue me/It's hard to believe I'm drowning" over the house-styled chorus structure. A choir, similar to that in Madonna's own "Like a Prayer" single, supports the later part of the pre-bridge chorus and after the bridge until the song's outro.

Some of the remixes for "Rescue Me" include vocal samples from other Madonna songs. The "Houseboat Vocal" remix includes the "Hey/What" call and response from the single "True Blue". The "S.O.S. Mix" includes the "Watch out" from "Open Your Heart", but it is transposed down and distorted. The "Titanic Vocal" and "Demanding Dub" include the "So now what?" sample from "Justify My Love". The "Demanding Dub" also includes a sample of "Ladies" from the single "Vogue".

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard called this song a "worthy sensual".[2] Sputnik Music's Nick Buttler gave this song 4 out of 5: "More of the same as Justify My Love, just not as good. It's a shame that this ends the album rather than Justify My Love, but that's the way it goes, I suppose."[3] J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of Madonna: An Intimate Biography described the track as a "standard, pulsating dance fare" noting it as opposite to "Justify My Love".[4]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, "Rescue Me" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 singles survey at number 15 the week of March 2, 1991, and was one of the first singles in the 1990s that would debut at such a high position due to heavy pre-sales airplay. It was the highest debut for a single on the Hot 100 since Michael Jackson debuted at number 20 the week of February 11, 1984 with "Thriller". "Rescue Me" reached the top-five in airplay. However, by the time the single was commercially available, the song had already peaked at radio and eventually placed at number nine on the Hot 100 singles chart. Elsewhere, "Rescue Me" placed within the top-five in countries such as the UK, Ireland, Italy, and South Africa, and peaking at number three on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles chart. On May 24, 1991, "Rescue Me" was certified gold by the RIAA for shipments of over 500,000 copies.[5] As of August 2008, it has sold 134,767 copies in the United Kingdom according to the Official Charts Company.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from The Immaculate Collection liner notes.[7]



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Japan (Oricon Charts) 14,510[27]
United Kingdom 134,764[28]
United States (RIAA)[5] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Madonna's "Rescue Me" Sheet Music - Download & Print". Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Madonna - The Immaculate Collection (album review ) | Sputnikmusic
  4. ^ Taraborrelli, Randy J. (2008). Madonna: An Intimate Biography. Simon & Schuster. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-330-45446-9. 
  5. ^ a b "American single certifications – Madonna – Rescue Me". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 11, 2014.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  6. ^ Jones, Alan (August 19, 2008). "The Immaculate Guide To 50 Years Of Madonna". Music Week. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  7. ^ The Immaculate Collection (Liner notes). Madonna. Warner Bros. Records. 1990. 9 26440-1. 
  8. ^ " – Madonna – Rescue Me". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  9. ^ " – Madonna – Rescue Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1480." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  11. ^ "Top 10 Denmark" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved March 22, 2018. 
  12. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. May 11, 1991. p. 69. Retrieved November 7, 2016. 
  13. ^ " – Madonna – Rescue Me" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  14. ^ " – Madonna – Rescue Me". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Rescue Me". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  16. ^ "Madonna: Discografia Italiana" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. 1984–1999. Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Madonna" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  18. ^ " – Madonna – Rescue Me" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  19. ^ " – Madonna – Rescue Me". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  20. ^ " – Madonna – Rescue Me". VG-lista. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  21. ^ " – Madonna – Rescue Me". Singles Top 100. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  22. ^ " – Madonna – Rescue Me". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  23. ^ "Madonna: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  24. ^ "Madonna Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  25. ^ "Madonna Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Charts. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  28. ^ Jones, Alan (August 19, 2008). "The immaculate guide to 50 years of Madonna". Music Week. Archived from the original on August 25, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 

External links[edit]