|Single by Madonna|
|from the album American Life|
|B-side||"Die Another Day" Calderone & Quayle Afterlife Mix|
|Released||March 24, 2003 (digital
April 8, 2003 (US)
April 14, 2003 (Europe)
|Length||4:57 (Album Version)
4:27 (Radio Edit)
|Label||Maverick, Warner Bros.|
|Madonna singles chronology|
"American Life" was the first single by American singer-songwriter Madonna from her 2003 studio album American Life. It was released on April 8, 2003 by Maverick Records. Officially it was the first single from the album as "Die Another Day" was previously released on the 2002 Die Another Day soundtrack album.
The song was a worldwide success as it reached number one in Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and the top ten in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Finland, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
The song was written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais AhmadzaÃ¯. It was first released on April 8, 2003 in the U.S. and on April 14 in Europe. The song premiered on radio worldwide on March 24, the same day that it was sent out as an official digital single by mail to American fans who purchased the MP3 on Madonna's official website. The song received remixes by Missy Elliott, Peter Rauhofer, Felix da Housecat and Paul Oakenfold.
The single cover that was released on April 8 was different from the original cover artwork. Initially, an image of the single was released to the media showing Madonna holding a machine gun. The doctored single cover featured the same picture, but minus Madonna holding the gun. The single cover includes a "Parental Advisory" sticker.
Madonna performed "American Life" during the American Life Promo Tour which included an MTV special, "On Stage And On Record". She also performed it on the 2004 Re-Invention World Tour. She also briefly performed a few lines of the song on her North American leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour in Boston, during the request segment of the show.
Before its release "American Life" was aggressively marketed by Madonna's record label, Warner Bros. Warner offered the song as a maxi or two-track single, and also released it as a digital download, the first Madonna single to be made available in this format. In the U.S. the song performed poorly, possibly due to Madonna's criticism of the invasion of Iraq. The digital single sold 4,177 copies in its first week of release, allowing it to debut at number ninety on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number thirty-seven on the Hot 100  and stayed within the top forty for just one week. The single peaked at number two and number sixty-one the Hot 100 Singles Sales and the Hot 100 Airplay charts respectively.
On the U.S. dance chart, the single performed much better, rising to number one on both the Hot Dance Singles Sales  and Hot Dance Club Play charts; the number-one position on the Club Play chart marked her twenty-ninth time at the summit. Internationally, the single achieved greater success, going to number one in Canada, number two in the UK and top ten in Australia and Japan.
The controversial music video was shot on February 6-7, 2003 at Los Angeles Center Studios in Los Angeles, California by Swedish director Jonas Ã…kerlund. It involves a military-influenced Madonna and several male and female legion troops at a fashion show. Madonna had made a lot of controversial videos with themes such as sex and religion in the 1980s and 1990s before incorporating violent images in her videos such as Die Another Day and What It Feels Like for a Girl in the 2000s. For "American Life", she took it to a whole new level by focusing on war, politics and the then-upcoming invasion of Iraq.
In the heat of the attention surrounding the video, Madonna issued the following statement: "I feel lucky to be an American citizen for many reasons - one of which is the right to express myself freely, especially in my work. I understand that there have been reports about my upcoming video "American Life" in the media - much of which is inaccurate. I am not Anti-Bush. I am not pro-Iraq. I am pro Peace. I have written a song and created a video which expresses my feelings about our culture and values and the illusions of what many people believe is the American dream - the perfect life. As an artist, I hope that this provokes thought and dialogue. I don't expect everyone to agree with my point of view. I am grateful to have the freedom to express these feelings and that's how I honor my country".
Due to the political climate of the country at the time, most notably the backlash on the Dixie Chicks after they made some anti-war comments, Madonna later changed her mind on that "freedom of speech". On April 1, 2003 one day after the video was first shown on a few European and Latin American music channels, and on a prime time special on the Nine Network in Australia, Madonna pulled the video and released a statement explaining why: "I have decided not to release my new video. It was filmed before the war started and I do not believe it is appropriate to air it at this time. Due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video."
A director's cut of the video has surfaced in recent years. It maintains most of the footage in the original but the ending is different and more graphic. In the middle of the scenes in the fashion show where Madonna hoses down the paparazzi, numerous war-injured models are carried on-stage by groups of nurses, their clothes soaked with blood. In the midst of these scenes are fast-moving war images and scenes of the crowd at the show reacting to the sights. At the very end, Madonna throws the grenade likes she does, but instead of landing in George Bush's hand like the original, the crowd gasps as the grenade lands on an empty part of the catwalk. The director's cut ends with a close-up of the grenade hitting the stage and Madonna's image on the big screen putting her hands on her ears.
After pulling the original video, Madonna then released an edited version that premiered on April 16, 2003 on VH1. This version features Madonna singing in front of a backdrop of ever-changing flags of different countries.
Original and edited versions:
|Clean Album Version||4:57|
|Radio Edit without Rap||4:06|
|Live||5:21||Live in Paris from The Re-Invention Tour 2004 available on I'm Going To Tell You A Secret|
|Felix DaHouseCat Devin Dazzle Club||6:10|
|Felix DaHouseCat Devin Dazzle Radio Mix||3:22|
|Felix DaHouseCat Devin Dazzle Radio Mix (Without Rap)||3:22|
|Headcleanr Rock Mix||4:01|
|Missy Elliott's American Dream Mix||4:44|
|Missy Elliott's American Dream Mix (Clean Edit)||4:37|
|Missy Elliott American Dream Instrumental Remix||4:33|
|Oakenfold Downtempo Mix/Remix||5:32|
|Oakenfold Radio Edit||4:01|
|Oakenfold Radio Edit (Without Rap)||3:16|
|Peter Rauhofer American Anthem Part 1||10:44||2 variations of this mix exist. The version on the UK CD3/UK Maxi single is essentially the same mix in structure but contains additional vocals from the second verse and more vocals from the chorus throughout|
|Peter Rauhofer American Anthem Part 2||9:06|
|Peter Rauhofer Radio Edit||3:50|
|Australian ARIA Singles Chart||7|
|Austrian Singles Chart||7|
|Canadian Singles Chart||1|
|Danish Singles Chart||1|
|Dutch Singles Chart||4|
|Eurochart Hot 100 Singles||2|
|Finnish Singles Chart||3|
|France SNEP Singles Chart||10|
|German Singles Chart||10|
|Greek IFPI Singles Chart||2|
|Irish Singles Chart||8|
|Italian FIMI Singles Chart||1|
|New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart||33|
|Norwegian VG-lista Singles Chart||9|
|Romanian Singles Chart||7|
|Swedish Singles Chart||2|
|Swiss Singles Chart||1|
|UK Singles Chart||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||37|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay||61|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales||1|
|U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40||7|
"Love Is a Crime" by Anastacia
Billboard Hot Dance Club
May 31, 2003
"Rock Your Body" by Justin Timberlake
"Gocce di Memoria" by Giorgia
Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one
April 11, 2003
"Gocce di Memoria" by Giorgia
"I Drove All Night" by CÃ©line Dion
|Canadian Singles Chart
April 26, 2003 â€“ May 3, 2003
"In da Club" by 50 Cent
"Take Me Tonight" by Alexander
Chart number-one single
April 27, 2003
For charts and certifications:
For official versions: