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Madonna

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There are few performers who have the talent to be known by only one name. Sure there’s Cher and Bono and Yanni, but when it comes to talent, drive and reinvention - touched with a bit of controversy - there’s no bigger icon than Madonna. Madonna Louise Ciccone, the pride of Bay City, Michigan, was born on August 16, 1958. Young Madonna took an interest in ballet dancing and after high school attended the University of Michigan on a dance scholarship to hone her craft. On the advice of her ballet teacher, Madonna left school in her sophomore year (1977) and moved to New York City, where she worked with the famed Alvin Ailey dance troupe. In order to scrape by, she took jobs selling doughnuts and did some modeling. In 1979, Madonna toured Europe as a back-up singer and dancer with French disco singer Patrick Hernandez. In Paris, she met musician Dan Gilroy, who taught her how to play the guitar and drums. Upon returning to the states, Dan formed the band Breakfast Club, which featured Madonna on drums and vocals. Her time with the band was short-lived, and Madonna was onto her next opportunity, which came with the band Emmy, formed by musician (and former beau) Steven Bray. Again, her time in the band was brief, but Madonna and Steven worked together on material, including her first single ‘Everybody,’ which became a club hit upon its release in 1982, the year Madonna was signed to Sire Records.

On July 27, 1983, Madonna’s self-titled debut album was released and the hit machine was officially in operation. The album spawned five monster singles, including ‘Borderline’ and ‘Lucky Star.’ Madonna’s sound motivated and her look captivated. Her midriff-baring, lacy tops, fingerless gloves, Boy Toy belt buckle and bleached blonde locks became the new fashion trend among the teenage set, and her videos played around the clock on MTV. Lightning struck twice with the release of her second album, Like a Virgin, on November 12, 1984, which became her first number-one effort. Madonna debuted the title single on the MTV Music Awards, where she rolled around the stage in a skimpy excuse for a bride’s outfit in one of the show’s most talked-about moments. The second single off of the album gave Madonna the nickname she still holds today (among many), 'Material Girl.' The accompanying video features the ambitious warbler channeling Marilyn Monroe from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In 1985, Madonna hit her big-screen high point in the off-beat comedy Desperately Seeking Susan, co-starring Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn. Many critics thought Madonna wasn’t acting as the eccentric Susan.

After being criticized for her weak singing voice, Madonna came into her own musically with 1986’s True Blue, which featured the singles ‘Papa Don’t Preach,’ ‘Open Your Heart,’ and ‘Live to Tell,’ from the motion picture At Close Range, starring her then-husband, actor Sean Penn.  She and Sean teamed up on the big screen in 1986 for the critically-savaged bomb Shanghai Surprise. 1987’s screwball comedy Who’s That Girl did nothing to improve Madonna’s reputation as an actress, but the soundtrack did produce the hits ‘Who’s That Girl’ and ‘Causing a Commotion.’ 1989 saw the release of Like a Prayer and the first major controversy for the singer. In early 1989, the singer signed a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with soft drink giant Pepsi, introducing the title single on a Pepsi commercial. The video for the song featured burning crosses and a bleeding stigmata and was accused of linking eroticism and religion. The video caused an uproar and the deal with Pepsi was nullified.

In 1990, Madonna returned to the screen as Breathless Mahoney in Disney’s Dick Tracy, with her on and off-screen leading man, Warren Beatty. To capitalize on her role in the comic book flick, the album I’m Breathless was released, which featured the international dance hit ‘Vogue.’ Madonna also made an attempt to return to the small screen, but her video for ‘Justify My Love,’ off her greatest hits disc The Immaculate Collection, was deemed too hot for MTV. In April of 1990, Madonna embarked on the worldwide Blond Ambition Tour, which was filmed for the 1991 documentary Truth or Dare. In 1992, Madonna formed her own record label, Maverick and released the racy and highly controversial coffee table book Sex, featuring her fully nude and in compromising positions with the likes of Vanilla Ice and Naomi Campbell. Despite the shocking nature of the photos, the book sold out of its run, selling 500,000 copies. The book came on the heels of her fifth album, Erotica, and the singles ‘Deeper and Deeper’ and ‘Fever.’

Still trying to gain respect as an actress, Madonna starred in the 1993 thriller Body of Evidence, which did win her an award, unfortunately it was a ‘Razzie’ for worst actress of the year. Madonna again hit the road, embarking on The Girlie Show World Tour at the end of 1993. When she returned in 1994, she went to work on her sixth album, Bedtime Stories, which featured the Babyface-penned ‘Take a Bow.’ The song spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard charts, making it one of her biggest hits in the US. At long last, in 1996 Madonna finally got some respect as an actress for her role as Eva Perón in the film adaptation of the long-running musical Evita. The film's soundtrack became her twelfth platinum album and produced two singles, 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina' and 'You Must Love Me,' which was composed by theater legends Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. 'You Must Love Me' won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. Madonna also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

The unstoppable singer topped her previous musical efforts with 1998’s Ray of Light, which, with its seamless blend of pop and techno debuted at number two on the U.S. album charts. After playing the field like a pimp  with a passion, Madonna found love with British director Guy Ritchie, who cast his wife in the flop Swept Away, earning her a second ‘Razzie’ - which she actually tied for with Britney Spears. Proving that even musical icons have missteps, her 2003 album American Life was panned by critics. At 4 million copies, it was the poorest performing album of her career. Audiences still wanted to see Madonna live, however, and her Re-Invention World Tour became the highest-grossing tour of 2004, earning $125 million.

Madonna's tenth studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, sold more than 8 million copies on the strength of its first single, the ABBA-influenced ‘Hung Up,' which was her 36th Top Ten hit, tying her with Elvis Presley for the most Top 10 singles by any artist in the U.S. She would later break that record. In October of 2007 Madonna signed a $120 million, ten-year contract with promoters Live Nation. Her last studio album for Warner Brothers, Hard Candy, was released on April 25, 2008. On March 10, 2008, Madonna officially became rock and roll royalty with her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to her career, Madonna is the proud mom to daughter Lourdes, son Rocco and adopted son David. With over a quarter century selling sex and melodrama with a beat, Madonna truly deserves the title of the ‘Queen of Pop.’

Madonna

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  • Ben Richards
    Ben Richards

    I'm sorry, but 53 year old tits is not considered major cleavage. If it wasn't for that wired up bra, her cleavage would be sagging past her knees. Ugh!

  • Poetry
    Poetry

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  • Maria
    Maria

    The SAD SAD thing is that if these were pics of a frail MALE celebrity with VEINS poinikg out everywhere then ALL OFF YOU CRITICAL FUKRS wouldn't post a GD thing because it's OK for men to look like some sort of swamp creature?? FUK DOUBLE STANDARDS and FUK the ppl that believe in them and feed into them!!!!!!!!!!!!!