50 Years Old and 2 out of 3 ain’t doing bad? Part 2-Madonna

50 Years Old and 2 out of 3 ain’t doing bad?

Part 1 was Prince

Part 2 is The Queen of POP


Madonna Louise Ciccone born on August the 16th 1958

Madonna has pioneered pop music for women beyond belief, her critics when she first came out stated Madonna wouldn’t be around too long, how wrong they were..(though in the early 90’s her career was close to ending on more occasions then I care to remember)

The critics have been a part of Madonna career and sometimes it’s worked in her favour and othertimes devalued her value as a artist.

Compared to Prince or the next person on Part 3 of this blog, “50 Years Old and 2 out of 3 ain’t doing bad” Madonna is not so musically talented, can’t play instruments (well the guitar now?) and is not such a natural talent but Madonna has overall been more successfully in keeping afloat.

Many reasons are accountable for this, Madonna is a great marketing genius, she knows what sells, to push the right buttons and her greatest asset is making the most of what she has got..

Race could be a part of it, though Part 3 of this blog will challenge this alot…

Madonna also doesn’t seem to alienate her record company either, she just gets on with her music..

Her Background…

Early life and career debut

Madonna was born Madonna Louise Ciccone in Bay City, Michigan. Her mother, Madonna Louise (née Fortin), was of French Canadian descent, and her father, Silvio “Tony” P. Ciccone, was a first-generation Italian American Chrysler/General Motors design engineer whose parents originated from Pacentro in Italy. Madonna is the third of six children; her siblings are Martin, Anthony, Paula Mae, Christopher (who has decided to write a book about his relationship with his sister-interesting read and very bitter), and Melanie.

Madonna was raised in the Detroit suburbs of Pontiac, Michigan and Avon Township (now Rochester Hills, Michigan). Her mother died of breast cancer at age 30 on December 1, 1963. Her father married the family housekeeper, Joan Gustafson, and they had two children; Jennifer and Mario Ciccone. “I didn’t accept my stepmother when I was growing up,” Madonna said, “in retrospect I think I was really hard on her.”

Madonna convinced her father to allow her to take ballet classes. Madonna attended St. Frederick’s Elementary School and St. Andrew’s Elementary School (present day Holy Family Regional) and West Middle School. She attended Rochester Adams High School, becoming a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad. Madonna received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan after graduating from high school.

Madonna’s ballet teacher persuaded her to pursue a dance career, so she left the University of Michigan at the end of 1977 and moved to New York City.

Madonna had little money and for some time lived in squalor, working at Dunkin’ Donuts and with modern dance troupes. (This shows her drive and what I really appreciate Madonna for)

Speaking of her move to New York, Madonna said, “It was the first time I’d ever taken a plane, the first time I’d ever gotten a taxi cab. I came here with $35 in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I’d ever done.”

While performing as a dancer for the French disco artist Patrick Hernandez on his 1979 world tour, Madonna became romantically involved with the musician Dan Gilroy, with whom she later formed her first rock band, the Breakfast Club in New York.

In it, she sang and played drums and guitar before forming the band Emmy in 1980 with drummer and former boyfriend Stephen Bray (who continued to write with her during the 80’s). She and Bray wrote and produced dance songs that brought her local attention in New York dance clubs. Disc jockey and record producer Mark Kamins was impressed by her demo recordings, so he brought her to the attention of Sire Records founder Seymour Stein.

1982–1985: Madonna and Like a Virgin

In 1982, Madonna signed a singles deal with Sire Records, a label belonging to Warner Bros. Records. Her first release was “Everybody” on April 24, 1982. Her debut album, Madonna was primarily produced by Reggie Lucas.

Madonna’s look and manner of dress, performances and music videos, became influential among young girls and women. Defined by lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the Christian cross, and bleached hair, it became a female fashion trend in the 1980s.

Her follow up album, Like a Virgin, became her first number one album on the U.S. albums chart;its commercial performance was buoyed by the success of its title track, “Like a Virgin”, which reached number one in the U.S. with a six week stay at the top.

The album sold 12 million copies worldwide, eight of which in the U.S.

She performed the song at the first MTV Video Music Awards, wearing her then-trademark “Boy Toy” belt.

Like a Virgin is listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time.

A personnal opinion, I think this was helped by the fact the songwriters Madonna had were of very good quality-who has a history of writing very successful pop songs, Like a Virgin was written by the songwriting duo of Steinberg and Kelly-

The link to how the song was written and a original demo


The album was produced by Niles Rodgers of Chic fame. Plus with the success of Thriller and 1999, and Purple Rain this album fitted into a nice Niche for a female market and dare i say ‘Gay Market’ in 1984..

In 1985, Madonna entered mainstream films, beginning with a brief appearance as a club singer in the film Vision Quest. Its soundtrack contained her second U.S. number-one single “Crazy for You”. Later that year, she appeared in Desperately Seeking Susan. The film introduced the song “Into the Groove”, which became her first number-one single in the UK.

Madonna embarked on her first concert tour in the U.S. in 1985 titled The Virgin Tour, with the Beastie Boys.

In July that year, Penthouse and Playboy magazines published a number of black and white nude photos of Madonna taken in the late 1970s. Madonna took legal action to try and block them from being published, but when that failed she became unapologetic and defiant. At the outdoor Live Aid charity concert at the height of the controversy, Madonna made a critical reference to the media and stated she would not take her jacket off because “they might hold it against me ten years from now”.

1986–1991: True Blue, Like a Prayer and the Blond Ambition Tour

Madonna released her third album, True Blue, in 1986, prompting Rolling Stone to say that “it sounds as if it comes from the heart”. The album included the ballad “Live to Tell”, which she wrote for the film At Close Range, starring her then-husband Sean Penn.

True Blue produced four Top 5 singles on the Billboard charts: “Live to Tell”, “Papa Don’t Preach”, “Open Your Heart” and “True Blue”.

In the same year, Madonna starred in the film Shanghai Surprise and made her theatrical debut in a production of David Rabe’s Goose and Tom-Tom, both co-starring Sean Penn.

In 1987, Madonna starred in Who’s That Girl, and contributed four songs to its soundtrack; including the title track and the U.S. number-two single, “Causing a Commotion”.

In the same year, she embarked on the Who’s That Girl Tour. It marked her first conflict with the Vatican, as Pope John Paul II urged Italian fans not to attend her concerts.

Later that year, Madonna released a remix album of past hits, You Can Dance. In 1988, city officials in the town of Pacentro began to construct a 13-foot (4 m) statue of Madonna in a bustier. The statue commemorates the fact that her ancestors had lived in Pacentro.

In 1988, Madonna starred as Karen in a play by David Mamet called Speed-the-Plow.

In early 1989, Madonna signed an endorsement deal with soft drink manufacturer Pepsi (Michael Jackson had done many years before-the commercial and the infamous story of his hair catching alight and the BAD tour) . She debuted her new song, “Like a Prayer”, in a Pepsi commercial and also made a music video for it.

The video, which features many Catholic symbols such as stigmata and burning crosses, was condemned by the Vatican. Also Jesus was represented by a Black Man (which the Gnostics believe) is a true representation not the Vatican and Italien Renaissance representation.

Since the commercial and music video were nearly identical, Pepsi was unable to convince the public that their commercial had nothing that could be deemed inappropriate. They revoked the commercial and cancelled their sponsorship contract with Madonna.

But in all honesty Madonna kept the money and showed that she didn’t need anyone to back her..A shewd business move in a very unothordox way.

Madonna’s fourth album, Like a Prayer, released in 1989, was co-written and co-produced by Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray.

Rolling Stone hailed it as “…as close to art as pop music gets”.

Like a Prayer peaked at number one on the U.S. album chart and sold seven million copies worldwide, with four million copies sold in the U.S. alone.

The album produced three Top 5-charting singles: the title track (her seventh number-one single in the U.S.), “Express Yourself” and “Cherish”.

In 1990, Madonna starred as “Breathless” Mahoney in a film adaptation of the comic book series Dick Tracy. To accompany the launching of the film in May 1990, she released I’m Breathless that includes songs inspired by the film’s 1930s setting. It features her eighth U.S. number-one single, “Vogue”, and her Academy Award-winning song “Sooner or Later”. The second single released from I’m Breathless was “Hanky Panky”, which peaked in the U.S. at number nine.

In April 1990, Madonna began her Blond Ambition World Tour. Featuring religious and sexual themes, the tour drew controversy from her performance of “Like a Virgin” during which two male dancers caressed her body before she simulated masturbation.

The Pope again encouraged Italians not to attend to it. A private association of Catholics, called Famiglia Domani, also boycotted the tour for featuring eroticism. In response, Madonna said, “I am Italian American and proud of it” and the Church “completely frowns on sex… except for procreation.”

In November 1990, Madonna released her first greatest hits compilation album, The Immaculate Collection, which includes two new songs: “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me”.

“Rescue Me” became the highest-debuting single by a female artist in the U.S. chart history at the time, entering at number 15 and peaking at number nine.

“Justify My Love” became a number-one dance hit in the U.S written by Lenny Kravitz (who she was reportedly dating at the time-hence the disolvement of his marriage to Lisa Bonet). Its music video featured scenes of sadomasochism, bondage, same-sex kissing and brief nudity.

It was deemed too sexually explicit for MTV and banned from the station, hence this got the song infamous whereas really it was quite forgetable.

In 1991, Madonna starred in her first documentary film, Truth or Dare, which chronicles her Blond Ambition Tour, as well as her personal life. The following year, she appeared in the baseball film A League of Their Own with a portrayal of Italian American Mae Mordabito, and recorded the film’s theme song, “This Used to Be My Playground”.

1992–1997: Maverick, Sex controversy and Evita

In 1992, Madonna founded her own entertainment company, Maverick, consisting of a record company (Maverick Records) the label did very well in the mid 90’s due to Alanis Morrisettes Jagged Little Pill selling 25 million copies worldwide and were the first label British Rock band Muse were signed to, later on she had to sue them due to bad financial management , a film production company (Maverick Films), and also music publishing, television, merchandising and book-publishing divisions.

It was a joint venture with Time Warner as part of a $60 million recording and business deal. The deal gave her a 20% royalty, equal at the time to Michael Jackson’s.

The first release from the venture was Madonna’s first publication Sex, a book consisting of sexually provocative and explicit images photographed by Steven Meisel. It caused media controversy but sold 500,000 copies in the U.S., it featured models such as Naomi Campbell and musicians (Vanilla Ice? who she dated for 8 months) and actors/actress-Sandra Bernhardt a lesbien affiar which supposedly took place.

At the same time she released her fifth studio album Erotica, featuring three sexual songs—”Erotica”, “Where Life Begins”, and “Did You Do It?”. The album peaked at number two in the U.S., becoming one of her least successful records.

Its title track peaked at #3 in the U.S. Hot 100.

The album also produced five further songs; “Deeper and Deeper”, “Bad Girl”, “Fever”, “Rain” and “Bye Bye Baby”.

During 1993, she starred in two films.

First was the erotic thriller Body of Evidence. The film contained S&M and bondage and was poorly received by critics. (it was awful and just should never have been made)

The second was the first production for Maverick Films, Dangerous Game. It was released straight-to-video in North America but received some good reviews for Madonna’s performance. The New York Times described that “She submits impressively to the emotions raging furiously around her.”

Madonna was publicly unhappy with the end result saying that “Even though it’s a shit movie and I hate it, I am good in it.”

She also expressed her disappointment regarding the final cut of the film, claiming that the director had cut many of her key scenes and completely changed the ending.

Madonna embarked on The Girlie Show World Tour at the end of 1993. It featured her dressed as a whip-cracking dominatrix, surrounded by topless dancers. The controversy continued in Puerto Rico when she rubbed its flag between her legs on stage, while Orthodox Jews protested against her first ever show in Israel.

In the spring of 1994, Madonna released the single “I’ll Remember” which she recorded for Alek Keshishian’s film With Honors. That year, she also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, using four-letter words and asking Letterman to smell her underwear.

Later that year, she released her sixth studio album Bedtime Stories which was a further commercial disappointment.

It produced four singles— “Secret”, “Take a Bow”, “Bedtime Story” and “Human Nature”. But for myself the songs off this album were good quality written by Babyface and Dallas Austin they just needed a better singer on them. This is my last Madonna album I bought due to the rest of her material becoming too trite.

In November 1995, Madonna released Something to Remember, a collection of her ballads which featured her cover of the Marvin Gaye song “I Want You” produced by MAssive Attack and the top ten song “You’ll See”.

In 1996, Madonna’s most critically successful film, Evita, was released. She portrayed the main part of Eva Perón, a role first played by Elaine Paige in the West End.The soundtrack album contained three of her singles, of which “You Must Love Me” won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song From a Motion Picture. Madonna also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

1998–2002: Ray of Light and Music

Madonna’s 1998 studio album Ray of Light debuted at #2 in the U.S. Allmusic called it her “most adventurous record.” The album produced two U.S. top 5 singles: “Frozen” (her last best song in my opinion and the last best thing William Orbit produced) and “Ray of Light”.

It won three Grammy Awards.

Its title track won a Grammy for “Best Short Form Music Video.” and was used by Microsoft in its advertising campaign to introduce Windows XP.

“Frozen” was adjudicated to be a plagiarism of Belgian songwriter Salvatore Acquaviva’s 1993 song “Ma Vie Fout L’camp”, and the album banned in Belgium. The album has been ranked #363 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In 1998, Madonna was signed to play a violin teacher in the film Music of the Heart but left the project, citing “creative differences” with director Wes Craven.Madonna followed the success of Ray of Light with the single “Beautiful Stranger”, recorded for the 1999 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack. It reached #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 with airplay alone.

In 2000, Madonna starred in The Next Best Thing. She contributed two songs to the film’s soundtrack, “Time Stood Still” and the international hit “American Pie”, a cover version of the 1970s Don McLean single this was a number one in the UK (probably one of the worst cover songs ever).

Madonna’s eighth studio album, Music, was released in 2000 and debuted at #1 on the U.S. album charts.It produced three successful singles in the U.S.; “Music”, “Don’t Tell Me” and “What It Feels Like for a Girl”. The latter having a video which depicts murders by car, was banned by MTV and VH1.

In 2001, Madonna began her first world tour since 1993, the Drowned World Tour, visiting cities in North America and Europe. The tour was a success as one of the highest grossing of the year.

It grossed $75 million from 47 sold-out shows. She also released her second greatest hits collection, GHV2 to coincide with the home video release of the tour.

In 2002, Madonna starred in the film Swept Away directed by her husband Guy Ritchie. The film was a commercial and critical failure and released straight-to-video in the UK. Later that year, she released the title song “Die Another Day” to the 20th James Bond film, in which she had a cameo role. It reached number eight in the U.S. Hot 100 and was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Raspberry for Worst Song.

In 2002, Madonna starred in a play by David Williamson titled Up for Grabs.

2003–2006: American Life and Confessions on a Dance Floor

In April 2003, Madonna released the album American Life, themed on American society. It received mixed reviews (it was in my opinion her worst album she has ever made).The song peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100. Having sold 4 million copies, American Life became the lowest selling album of her career.

Later that year, Madonna performed the song “Hollywood” with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott at the MTV Video Music Awards. Madonna kissed Spears and Aguilera during the performance, resulting in tabloid press frenzy.( To be honest if this was done in the 80’s or early 90’s it would have been ok, but this looked like a trailer trash mum kissing her daughters and on Madonna part very desperate)

That fall, Madonna provided guest vocals on Spears’s single “Me Against the Music”.

During the Christmas season of 2003, Madonna released Remixed & Revisited, a remix EP that included rock versions of songs from American Life, and “Your Honesty”, a previously unreleased track from the Bedtime Stories recording sessions.

In March 2004 Madonna and Maverick sued Warner Music Group and its former parent company, Time Warner, claiming that mismanagement of resources and poor bookkeeping had cost the company millions of dollars. In return, WMG filed a countersuit, alleging that Maverick had lost tens of millions of dollars on its own.

On June 14, 2004, the dispute was resolved when Maverick shares owned by Madonna and Ronnie Dashev were purchased. The company was now a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Music. but Madonna is still signed to Warner under a separate recording contract.

Later that year, Madonna embarked on the Re-Invention World Tour in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. It became the highest-grossing tour of 2004, earning $125 million.

She made a documentary about the tour named I’m Going to Tell You a Secret. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked her #36 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.

2006 Confessions Tour in Los AngelesIn January 2005, Madonna performed a cover version of the John Lennon song “Imagine” on the televised U.S. aid concert “Tsunami Aid”, which raised money for the tsunami victims in Asia. In July 2005, Madonna performed at the Live 8 benefit concert in London, run in support of the aims of the UK’s Make Poverty History campaign and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty. Her performances of “Like a Prayer”, “Ray of Light” and “Music” were included in the Live 8 DVD.

Her tenth studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor was released that year and sold more than 8 million copies. The album received positive reviews. It produced four singles — “Hung Up” reached #1 in a record breaking 45 countries. “Sorry” became Madonna’s twelfth number one in the UK, making her the female artist with the most #1 singles in the UK charts.

It was also a #1 U.S. Dance hit. “Get Together”, became her thirty-sixth number one dance hit in the U.S.The fourth single, “Jump”, reached number nine in the UK.

“Hung Up” reached number one in 45 countries, Madonna’s first international chart-topper since “Music” in 2000. It sold 8,698,000 units, and according to the United World Chart, is the 5th most successful song since 1999

In mid-2006, Madonna became the worldwide model for H&M. Included in the deal was a specially designed track suit, created by Madonna.

The next year, the clothing line M by Madonna was launched internationally.

Madonna’s Confessions Tour began in May 2006. It had a global audience of 1.2 million people and, with reported gross sales of $260.1 million. The use of religious symbols such as the crucifix and Crown of Thorns in the performance of “Live to Tell” caused controversy. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia urged all members to boycott her concert. Prosecutors in Düsseldorf threatened to sue her and a Protestant bishop said, “the only way an aging superstar can attract attention is to offend people’s religious sentiments.”

Vatican officials claimed her mock crucifixion was an open attack on Catholicism, to which Madonna responded: “My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole.”

In December 2006, PETA criticized Madonna for wearing a chinchilla fur coat in a London restaurant.

Madonna opposes American President George W. Bush. In her Confessions Tour performance of the song “I Love New York”, she replaced the original lyrics “just go to Texas, isn’t that where they golf?” with “just go to Texas and suck George Bush’s dick!”

She endorsed Wesley Clark’s Democratic nomination for the 2004 presidential election in a letter to her fans saying, “the future I wish for my children is at risk.”

In late 2006, she expressed her support for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 election.

Most recently, she stated that she would be behind Al Gore if he decided to run for the 2008 elections after seeing his documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. She also urged her fans to see Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.

2007–present: New record deal, directorial debut and Hard Candy

In May 2007, Madonna released the download-only song “Hey You”, in anticipation of Live Earth, which was free for its first week. She also performed it at the London Live Earth concert in July 2007.

In October 2007, Madonna announced her departure from Warner Bros. Records and a new $120 million, ten year contract with Live Nation. She will be the founding recording artist for the new music division, Live Nation Artists.

The Warner Bros. deal will be completed with a compilation album due at the end of 2008 or early 2009.

In November 2007, the New York Post claimed animal enthusiasts were “horrified” by Madonna dyeing her sheep for a photograph, and “vilified” for organising pheasant-hunting parties at her estate. In December 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced Madonna as one of the five inductees of 2008. The ceremony took place on March 10, 2008. Madonna also directed her first film, Filth and Wisdom and produced and wrote I Am Because We Are, a documentary on the problems faced by Malawians directed by her former gardener Nathan Rissman.

Filth and Wisdom received mixed reviews from the British press. The Times Online said she has “done herself proud” while The Daily Telegraph described the film as “not an entirely unpromising first effort [but] Madonna would do well to hang on to her day job.”

The Guardian praised I Am Because We Are, saying that she “came, saw and conquered the world’s biggest film festival.”

In 2008, Madonna promoted her eleventh studio album, Hard Candy, with the Hard Candy Promo Tour. It was lauded by Rolling Stone as an “impressive taste of her upcoming tour.” The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, where Madonna achieved ten number one albums.

Hard Candy sold 100,000 copies in the United States upon its first day of release. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with over 280,000 copies sold. The album received mostly positive reviews worldwide, though some critics panned it as “an attempt to harness the urban market”.

Its lead single “4 Minutes” reached number 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the U.S. Radio & Records Pop Chart. Future promotion of the album will include the Sticky & Sweet Tour due to begin in August 2008.


Most people know about Madonna’s private life whereas I always look at her as a couragous artist, not so daring as Prince or musically faultless songs like Michael Jackson, and out of three people for the three part blog she is my least favourite artist but one thing i will commend Madonna for is no matter how many knocks she has, she dusts herself and reinvents herself and sells and proves people wrong,

So in that respect Madonna is a great artist as the say “you can never knock a great person down, as they will alway prove you wrong”

So Happy 50th Birthday Madonna!

12 Responses to “50 Years Old and 2 out of 3 ain’t doing bad? Part 2-Madonna”

  1. Madonna is and will be the best ALWAYS. She broke boundaries, rules and prejudice.

    Always the queen!

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