MADONNA "GAMBLER" (1985)
by Mark Nobes, chief editor
"Gambler" was a fast-paced, synth-based, dance-pop track that gave Madonna her eighth consecutive top ten hit of the 80s in the UK, reaching No.4, and spending 14 weeks inside the Top 100.
The energetic song was written by Madonna and produced by John "Jellybean" Benitez, but isn't generally regarded by the media as one of Madge's finest moments, receiving a very mixed response from the critics.
Apparently, she has only ever sung the track live on one occasion, and that was on The Virgin Tour during 1985. Despite this, I've always enjoyed this tune and like the fast tempo which has an almost punk-like quality to it, and it reminds me very much of a Blondie album track.
The song was Madonna's second single to be lifted from the soundtrack to the movie Vision Quest, with the first being the hit ballad " For You". Other well-known artists on the album included Journey, John Waite, The Style Council, Foreigner and REO Speedwagon. Madonna also had a role as a singer in the film, and can be seen singing her two hits "Crazy For You" and "Gambler" in a local bar.
The B-side was unusual in that it featured the American hard rock band Black 'N Blue with the track "Nature of the Beach".
The 12" UK vinyl (Geffen records) included the Extended Dance Mix (5:42) and an instrumental (3:53) which were both remixed and produced by John "Jellybean" Benitez and arranged by Stephen Bray.
The single sold around 295,000 copies in the UK, reaching No.4, and earning a Silver certification by the BPI.
"Gambler" also reached No.3 on Italy's AFI chart (now FIMI), No.3 on the Irish Singles Chart, No.6 on Iceland's main chart, No.7 on the Single Top 100 in the Netherlands, No.9 on their Dutch Top 100, and No.9 on Norway's VG-Lista chart.
UK 7" rear sleeve for "Gambler"