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Ray of Light. Song Info

"Ray of Light" is the second single by American songstress Madonna from her 1998 album of the same name, and is based on Curtiss Maldoon's "Sepheryn", although other than the first verse the comparison is loose. The song was written by Madonna, William Orbit, Clive Muldoon, Dave Curtiss and Christine Leach, and was produced by Madonna and Orbit.

Song information
The song is based on the track "Sepheryn", which was originally written by Clive Maldoon and Dave Curtiss. William Orbit re-recorded the song with Christine Leach before he started working with Madonna. However, it ended up being recorded by Madonna with its lyrics only changed in a few areas, but with a different melody and instrumentation. All five (Madonna, Orbit, Maldoon, Curtiss and Leach) are credited for Madonna's version of the song. The song was remixed by Victor Calderone, Sasha and Orbit.

Madonna performed "Ray of Light" with Lenny Kravitz at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards (where it won six awards including "Best Female Video" and "Video of the Year" awards), at an Oprah Winfrey show in 1998, and at the 2006 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California. "Ray of Light" was also performed during the Drowned World Tour, the Confessions Tour [1], the Sticky & Sweet Tour, Live 8 and Live Earth.

The song was used by Microsoft in its 2001 advertising campaign for Windows XP, in combination with an image named Bliss, as well as a campaign for Sunsilk shampoo in 2008. Premiering on Super Bowl Sunday, the Sunsilk ad included shots of Marilyn Monroe and Shakira with songs well known by them, and ends with several video shots of Madonna to the sounds of "Ray of Light".

The song was voted #100 on VH1's 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years. In 2005, the song placed at #401 on Blender Magazine's "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".

Chart performance
"Ray of Light" debuted at #2 in the UK and has been certified gold, selling 262,514 copies to date. It also became another big hit for Madonna in the U.S., peaking at #5. It may have been able to reach an even higher position if the commercial maxi and single CDs had not been released with a one-month delay, when momentum of the track was already fading. It has been certified Gold in the U.S.

The single managed to break two Madonna records by selling 73,000 copies in its first week, and entering both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot 100 Singles Sales at #5. The song also did well on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, becoming another number-one hit for Madonna. "Ray of Light" went on to become the top Hot Dance Music/Club Play single of 1998.

In 2003, Madonna fans were asked to vote for their Top 20 Madonna singles of all-time by Q-Magazine. "Ray of Light" was allocated the #4 spot.

Music video
"Ray of Light" was also noted for its Koyaanisqatsi-inspired music video, featuring time-lapse images of daily life, from people riding a subway, ordering food, bowling, and children in a classroom to sped-up city-scapes and freeways at night. It should be noted that in almost every scene with people in it, such as in the club or classroom, one person was staring directly at the camera, while everyone else went on with their daily lives.

The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, with Madonna's scenes being shot on March 25-26, 1998 at Raleigh Studios and at a nightclub in downtown Los Angeles. The images of various cities included Los Angeles, New York, London, Las Vegas and Stockholm, Sweden. It also featured a couple of clips from the Swedish television game show Bingolotto, which is broadcasted from Gothenburg, Sweden. An alternate version, set to Sasha's Ultraviolet Mix of the song, featured additional footage of both Madonna and of the environment.

The video was ranked #40 on VH1's 100 Greatest Videos, listed #1 on Back In... 98's Top 5 Best Videos, ranked #7 on Listed's Top 40 Memorable Videos Pt. 1 & 2, on MuchMoreMusic, and ranked #26 on MuchMusic's 100 Best Videos.

It won the Video of the Year award at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards alongwith a lsit of technical and directorial awards.

Director: Jonas Akerlund
Producer: Nicola Doring
Executive Producer: Billy Poveda
Director of Photography: Henrik Halvarsson
Editor: Jonas Akerlund
Production Company: Oil Factory Inc.

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