“People say I’m controversial,” Madonna, who turns 60 today, told a music-industry audience in 2016. “But I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around.”
The celebrated pop star, actress, writer, and director was born on the 16th of August 1958 and given the name Madonna Louise Ciccone by her Catholic parents. Since first breaking onto the music scene in the late 1970s, The Material Girl has now sold more than 300 million records worldwide and performed on 10 concert tours. According to Guinness World Records, she is the best-selling female recording artist of all time.
In 1977 the Queen of Pop moved to the Big Apple to study dance while working as a model. She soon decided to pursue a musical career and began to record demos with her boyfriend Stephen Bray. After a stint as a band member in the Breakfast Club, she decided to embark on a solo career.
“Holiday” was Madge’s first breakthrough hit in the US, peaking at number 16, with “Material Girl” reaching number 3 and “Like A Virgin” being the first of her twelve number-one hits. 1985 proved to be a landmark year for “M” as her debut tour sold out. She also played at the historic Live Aid charity concert. The same year she featured in her first mainstream film, Desperately Seeking Susan for which she received generally positive reviews from both critics and viewers.
A polarizing figure, the Queen of Reinvention has never been one to shy away from controversy. From burning crosses and kissing a black saint in her hit single “Like A Prayer“, tackling teenage pregnancy in “Papa Don’t Preach“, supporting the LGBT community during the peak era of HIV news, publishing a controversial “coffee table” photo book of herself in a number of explicit poses in the early 90s, locking lips with Brittany Spears and Christina Aguilera on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003, the MDNA singer has certainly had her fair share of iconic moments. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s, Madonna has maintained her unapologetic sex-positive, no-holds-barred image.
The singer’s list of accomplishments include Grammys, MTV awards, Billboard awards, and a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role as the eponymous Evita in a musical or comedy, among numerous others. In 2008 Maddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility. She is also the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time with over $1.4 billion earned from concert tours alone. She has also written a series of children’s books, having released seven picture books and twelve chapter books so far.
Twice married, once to American actor Sean Penn, and once to English director and Producer Guy Ritchie with whom she had a son, Rocco. Madonna is the mother to six children, including four she adopted from Malawi where she has focused most of her charity work. She had her first child Lourdes Maria with then-boyfriend and fitness trainer Carlos Leon.
Recently, Madonna told the BBC in 2017 that performing at smaller intimate shows “is something I’m exploring right now”. She said she is looking to perform at a set venue as opposed to touring, “The idea of doing a show that doesn’t travel the world but stays in one place.”
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