Saturday, August 16, 2008

Madonna Who...

You can't be serious! Even those who claim they have ears for classical music alone would be lying if they said they hadn't heard of Madonna.

On August 16, 2008, the world will have had five decades of the Queen of Pop. And going by the way she's still kicking up those well-toned heels on stage, we can probably look forward to five decades more!

So for those who just tuned in, here's a quick look at how Madonna changed the world.

She's Madonna by Robbie Williams

Born in Michigan, USA, on August 16, 1958 (to a French Canadian mom and Italian American dad), Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie moved to New York as a teenager in pursuit of a career in modern dance.

She joined a couple of forgettable pop musical groups, before deciding to walk down a path of her own making. The result was a self-titled debut album that took her straight to the top, and kept her there for a very, very long time.

Considering she moved to New York with a mere $35 in her pocket, it's easy to see why Madonna's rise to the top is so inspirational. It was allegedly the first time she took a plane, or even a taxi cab. And yet, a few years after moving out of her home town, she had a record deal with Sire Records by 1982.

With her second album, the unforgettable Like A Virgin, she conquered America. World domination would soon follow. Like A Virgin is now listed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time!

Once Madonna began, there was no stopping her. Hit albums seemed to pour out of her True Blue in 1986, Who's That Girl in 1987, Like a Prayer in 1989, I'm Breathless and The Immaculate Collection in 1990, Erotica in 1992... and on, and on.

How well have the albums done? Well enough to make Madonna the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and the second top-selling female artist in the US.

The Guinness book lists her as the world's most successful female rec- ording artist of all time and the top-earning female singer in the world.

Then there's Madonna, the movie star. She has acted in 22 films so far, none of which have managed to be half as successful as her music. She did win a Golden Globe for her role in the 1996 film Evita, but that's about it.

Some of those films were so bad (Dangerous Game and Swept Away come to mind), they made a lot of critics try and convince her to stick to music alone. In characteristic style, she continues to ignore them all.

Early this year, she directed her first film, Filth and Wisdom and pro- duced and wrote I Am Because We Are, a documentary on problems faced by Malawians. This part of her story is clearly far from over.

Without Madonna, half the world's tabloids in the 1980s would have nothing to write about. Her work has always attracted controversy, primarily on account of its sexual themes and religious symbolism. She has managed to annoy religious leaders the world over, and doesn't look like she's about to stop doing so anytime soon.

Her first US tour, The Virgin Tour, got a lot of people hot and bothered. In 1992, she published a book of photographs, titled Sex, which generated a lot of negative publicity.

Then there's the speculation about her relationships with other women. In 2003, Madonna performed with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott at the MTV Video Music Awards and kissed Spears and Aguilera during the performance.

In 2006, she was criticised for wearing fur. That same year, she travelled to Malawi to help build an orphanage, and adopted a boy named David Banda Mwale, a move that led to legal disputes. There's also her devotion to the Kabbalah, and the criticism that has attracted.

We could go on. Madonna, however, doesn't seem to care.

First there was Dan Gilroy, in the late 1970s, followed by her collaborator Stephen Bray, the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, DJ Mark Kamins and musician Jellybean Benitez.

She married actor Sean Penn in 1986 and divorced him three years later, after beginning a relationship with Warren Beatty. More models followed, as did a basketball player, a rapper, and fitness trainer Carlos Leon who became the father of her daughter Lourdes Leon.

Madonna met English director Guy Ritchie in 1999 and bore his son Rocco a year later, after which they decided to marry. The press has speculated about the fate of the marriage lately, but Madonna and Guy insist their life as a couple is far from over.

Where do we begin? With the music we grew up to? The records she has set? The colour she brought into an otherwise staid entertainment business?

Let's just stick to her achievements, if only to prove we're not the only ones who think of Madonna as one of our biggest stars. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her Number 36 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

In 2007, VH1 listed her eighth in the Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. In 2008, she surpassed Elvis Presley's record of the most top ten hits in the history of Billboard Hot 100.

Her Confessions Tour is the highest grossing concert tour by a female artist. In March, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In the years to come, we hope to see a lot more of Madonna. Will she surprise us with another stunning album? A book of photography? A collection of paintings? A film that wins her an Oscar? We don't know. We're just glad to have her around. Happy Birthday, Madonna!


Aschwin_Frank said...

Good work!
Madonna shall be glad for your post!

Congratzzz Madonna!

Joseph said...

Sorry to digress: this comment has nothing to do with this post or Madonna :°(
It's just that I wonder about the current poll: You can't really think that swimming, I'm talking about nowaday's swimming with full-bodied suits, is sexier than wrestling or even judo when judoghi opens and reveals sweaty chest...
C'mon guys, we need help here, remember the poll isn't about the pix but about the events!

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