Madonna was inspired by vogue dancers and choreographers Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza and Luis Xtravaganza from the Harlem "House Ball" community, the origin of the dance form, and they introduced "Vogueing" to her at the Sound Factory club in New York City.
The song remains one of Madonna's biggest international hits, topping the charts in over 30 countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The music video for "Vogue", directed by David Fincher, was shot in black-and-white and takes stylistic inspiration from the 1920s and 1930s.
The video has been ranked as one of the greatest of all times in different critic lists and polls and won three awards at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards out of a total of nine nominations.
"Vogue" is an upbeat dance-pop and house song and set the trends of dance music in the 1990s.
The song and video were inspired by the dance of the same name, performed in New York clubs in the underground gay scene, in which dancers used a series of complex hand gestures, body poses and movements to imitate their favorite Hollywood stars.
The lyrics of the song's rap section feature the names of 16 stars from the 1920s to the 1950s. In order of mention in the lyrics, they are: Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Joe DiMaggio, Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean, Grace Kelly, Jean Harlow, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Lana Turner and Bette Davis.
Ten of the stars mentioned in the song (Davis, Dean, Dietrich, DiMaggio, Garbo, Harlow, Rogers, Turner and both Kellys) were entitled to a royalty payment of $3,750 when Madonna performed "Vogue" at the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show in 2012 as their images were used in the 'set dressing' of the performance. At the time, Bacall was the lone one still alive. She died at the age of 89 in 2014.
"Vogue" contains samples of some songs from the 1970s disco era. The bass-line is from "Love Is the Message" by MFSB. The horns and strings appear in the song "Ooh, I Love It (Love Break)" by the Salsoul Orchestra.
AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine claimed that the song was "Madonna's finest single moment" and that it had an "instantly memorable melody".
In 2003, Madonna fans were asked to vote for their Top 20 Madonna singles of all-time by Q-Magazine. "Vogue" was allocated the #14 spot.
The song shot to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in its sixth week on the chart, dated May 19, 1990, displacing Sinéad O'Connor's four-week run in the top spot with "Nothing Compares 2 U".
After digital sales began in 2005, "Vogue" has sold additional 311,000 digital downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"Vogue" was also a huge success in Europe by topping the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles chart for eight consecutive weeks.
The video was directed by David Fincher and shot at The Burbank Studios in Burbank, California on February 10-11, 1990.
There are two versions of the video, the regularly aired television music video, and the 12" remix, which is the extended version over three minutes longer.
The song was released as the first single from the album on March 27, 1990, by Sire Records.
It became the world's best-selling single of 1990, selling over six million copies.
Madonna has performed the song on six of her tours, at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, and at her performance during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVI.
Slant Magazine listed "Vogue" as tenth "Best Singles of the '90s" as well as third in their list of the "100 Greatest Dance Songs".
Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly, in a relatively negative review of I'm Breathless, asserted that the "finale of Vogue" is "the sole bright spot".
The song, based on the 1990 Rolling Stone Reader's Poll Awards, was voted Best single.
The song was also ranked as the fourth best song of 1990 on that year's Pazz & Jop poll by The Village Voice.
On June 28, 1990, "Vogue" was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of two million copies of the physical single across United States.
According to The Official Charts Company, the song has sold 505,000 copies there and is her 11th biggest selling single in the UK.
The video world-premiered on MTV on March 29, 1990, and it also premiered on Black Entertainment Television on November 22, 1990 (making the first video by Madonna to air on an African-American channel).
"Vogue" music video received a total of nine MTV Video Music Awards nominations, becoming her most-nominated video at the award show. It won Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Cinematography.
There was some controversy surrounding the video due to a scene in which Madonna's breasts and, if the viewer looks closely, her nipples could be seen through her sheer lace blouse, as seen in the picture on the right. MTV wanted to remove this scene, but Madonna refused, and the video aired with the shot intact.
It was also ranked at number five on "The Top 100 Videos That Broke The Rules", issued by MTV on the channel's 25th anniversary in August 2006.
MTV placed the video at second on their list of "100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made" in 1999.
In 1993, Rolling Stone magazine listed the video as the twenty-eighth best music video of all-time.
The song also contains a spoken section, in which the singer name-checks various golden-era Hollywood celebrities.
Lyrically, the song is about enjoying oneself on the dance floor no matter who one is, and it contains a theme of escapism.
The song has also been covered numerous times by different artists, such as the Chipettes on their album Club Chipmunk: The Dance Mixes.