Madonna’s hit single, “Don’t Tell Me,” from her 2000 album, Music, was among the songs honored as one of the most performed of the year at the 19th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards on Monday (May 20) in Beverly Hills, California. The award meant accolades for acclaimed singer-songwriter Joe Henry, who wrote the song.
Henry, who is also Madonna’s brother-in-law, says that he originally had different plans for the song, but is not complaining about how things played out. “Initially I wrote it for the Sopranos and they turned it down because I wasn’t a Sony artist or a big enough star to override the fact that I wasn’t a Sony artist,” he says. “I think when Madonna covered it, I sent them all over there a case of Scotch because, you know, I don’t have to tell you the difference between having her do the song and having it wind up on the Sopranos soundtrack.”
Henry adds, “I knew she’d cut it but I [was thinking], ‘Will it make the record?’ It never occurred to me that it would be a single. I didn’t think it was that kind of a song.”
The song also appears, if in drastically different form, on Henry’s 2001 album, Scar, under the alternate title “Stop.”