CH: We would get calls from radio stations that people knew it was a Pure Energy song. They knew our vibe. At that time, a lot of people also thought Madonna was a black artist. When we'd go around doing radio promotions of our own records, people often would tell us that they sensed "Holiday" was our production, even though they saw Jellybean's name on it. They could hear our stamp all over the song, and they asked, “How could you just give that way?” That could be your number-one song.
Madonna has cited "Holiday" as one of her favorite songs she’s recorded. What do you think makes it stand out to her?
CH: When the song was starting to chart and everybody was buzzing, we would run into her at airports. We were performing in some of the same places. She told us, “Thank you for writing this song. You guys don't know what you did!” She was really excited about it. I think that might be why it's a favorite, because the song really put her out there and made her a legitimate artist.
Warner Bros. didn't produce a music video for it at a time when music videos really started to make songs. Had they done a video, then "Holiday" probably would've been a much bigger song than it was at the time; probably #1 pop.
What is it about the song that made it such a big hit and such a transformative song for Madonna’s career?
LS: What the song was saying about love and unity just resonated with the people. And it got its props among musicians and songwriters when they saw that it got her into the pop charts.
CH: There are certain songs that God gives you as a writer. "Holiday" was a gift. From our hard work out of the hundreds of songs we worked on, he looked down and said, “I'm gonna bless you with this song.” I think that happens to all writers at some point.
When I look at the careers of a lot of people, they never got nominated for an award or made it into the top 10—similar to the case with “Holiday.” It's surprising that a lot of classic songs only made it to the top 40. But one of the biggest compliments I've gotten is from young artists and producers out now. Several of them have told me that the song was responsible for them starting their writing career. When my son, Eric Hudson, was in the studio producing Kanye West, he called and told me "Dad, I really don't think you understand the impact that 'Holiday' has had on the music industry. Every time I tell people that my parents wrote it, they freak out!" It affects a lot of people in different ways. We never got that back in the day, because we didn't go to a lot of industry events. I just liked doing the work; and if the public likes it once it's done, I'm fine.