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The Life and Career of Madonna

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born August 16th, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan, Madonna quickly rose to stardom after she was discovered as a dancer and member of several bands in New York City. Her fresh pop sound, along with her trendy fashion sense, quickly caught the attention of the media and the public alike. Throughout the years, her willingness to experiment with musical styles and her lack of fear when it came to controversy, brought her international super-stardom not only as a singer but actress as well. In this video, we take a look at the life and career of the Queen of Pop, otherwise known as Madonna.

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Madonna Louise Ciccone was born August 16th, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan. She graduated high school with a dance scholarship, but dropped out of university to move to New York in 1977.

Discovery and Debut

After joining several bands, she was discovered by Sire Records and released her first single, “Everybody” in 1982. Her 1983 self-titled debut was a groundbreaking dance-pop effort that spawned three hit singles. The corresponding music videos showcased Madonna’s charisma and sense of style.

"Like a Virgin"

Her first Billboard number one was 1984’s Like a Virgin. The new wave-influenced album contained hits like “Material Girl.” The title track became her first number one single, despite its controversial themes.

"True Blue"

1985 was a busy year for Madonna: she embarked on “The Virgin Tour” and acted in the films “Vision Quest” and “Desperately Seeking Susan.” True Blue followed the next year. That album generated three number one singles and turned her into an international superstar.

Acting and "Like a Prayer"

In 1987, Madonna continued her movie career by acting in the romantic comedy “Who’s That Girl.” She stirred up controversy two years later after releasing the song “Like a Prayer” along with its controversial music video. Despite criticism from religious groups, the song and album both went to number one.

"Vogue" and the Blond Ambition World Tour

In 1990, the singer acted in the movie “Dick Tracy.” She also released the companion soundtrack I’m Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the film Dick Tracy, which featured the chart-topping hit “Vogue.” She followed this up with the iconic yet controversial Blond Ambition World Tour, and finally the best-selling greatest-hits compilation The Immaculate Collection came later that year.

Success in Film, Music and Books

After releasing the 1991 documentary “Truth or Dare,” Madonna acted in “A League of Their Own,” and recorded the film’s theme song. In 1992, she released the number two album Erotica. One day later, she released the commercially successful book “Sex” via her entertainment company Maverick.

Toning Things Down

After some poorly reviewed films, Madonna toned down her risqué behavior. She recorded the ballad “I’ll Remember” for the 1994 movie “With Honors” and released the R&B-influenced disc Bedtime Stories, which featured the number one hit “Take a Bow.”


The ballad compilation Something to Remember came next. In 1996, she played the lead in the film “Evita.” That drama won her a Golden Globe Award and its soundtrack spawned the worldwide hit “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”

"Ray of Light" and Austin Powers

Two years later, the Kabbalah-inspired album Ray of Light introduced hit singles like the title track and “Frozen.” In 1999, she recorded the Grammy-winning song “Beautiful Stranger” for the comedy “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.”


2000 included an appearance in the film “The Next Best Thing,” and the release of her successful, electronica-influenced album Music.

"Swept Away" and James Bond

After the “Drowned World Tour,” she starred in the poorly reviewed 2002 romantic comedy “Swept Away” which was directed by her then-husband Guy Ritchie. She followed that with a top ten single and cameo appearance in the James Bond flick, “Die Another Day.”

More Success and More Controversy

In 2003, Madonna released the number one disc American Life. She also proved she was still controversial by kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during an MTV Video Music Awards performance. Her best-selling children’s book, “The English Roses” was also published that year.

"Confessions on a Dance Floor"

Following the 2004 “Re-Invention World Tour,” Madonna released the disco-influenced Confessions on a Dance Floor in 2005. The number one effort contained the massively successful single “Hung Up” and was supported by another controversial tour.

Directing and Producing

In 2007, she signed with Live Nation, directed her first movie “Filth and Wisdom” and produced the documentary “I Am Because We Are.” The next year, Madonna had another number one record with the urban-flavored Hard Candy, and she supported that with the extremely successful “Sticky & Sweet Tour.”

"Celebration" and Second Directorial Effort

2009 saw her release the number one greatest hits compilation Celebration. She then spent the next year directing the biopic “W.E.”

Personal Life

Because of her popularity, Madonna’s personal life has always been media fodder. Aside from some high-profile relationships, she has been married twice and is the mother of four.

Pop Queen of Reinvention

When it comes to music, fashion and business, Madonna has never been afraid of a challenge or controversy. That’s why this Queen of Reinvention is a pop culture icon and has influenced a new generation of pop superstars.

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Jerome Magajes

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