Madonna Overview

Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone; August 16, 1958) is an American recording artist, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club Breakfast Club (band) and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983. She followed it with a series of albums in which she found immense po***rity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream po***r music and imagery in her music videos, which became a fixture on MTV. Throughout her career, many of her songs have hit number one on the record charts, including "Like a Virgin Like a Virgin (song) ", "Papa Don't Preach", "Like a Prayer Like a Prayer (song) ", "Vogue Vogue (Madonna song) ", "Frozen Frozen (song) ", "Music Music (Madonna song) ", "Hung Up", and "4 Minutes 4 Minutes (Madonna song) ". Madonna has been praised by critics for her diverse musical productions while at the same time serving as a lightning rod for religious controversy.

Her career was further enhanced by film appearances that began in 1979, despite mixed commentary. She won critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her role in Evita Evita (film) (1996), but has received harsh feedback for other film roles. Madonna's other ventures include being a fashion designer, children's book author, film director and producer, and owner of her own recording company Maverick Maverick (entertainment company) corporation, as a joint venture with Time Warner. She has been acclaimed as a businesswoman, and in 2007, she signed an unprecedented US $120 million contract with Live Nation.

Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the world's top-selling female recording artist of all time List of best-selling music artists by the Guinness World Records. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second top-selling female artist List of best-selling music artists in the United States in the United States, behind Barbra Streisand, with 64 million certified RIAA certification albums. In 2008, Billboard Billboard (magazine) magazine ranked Madonna at number two, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists Billboard Hot 100 50th Anniversary Charts#All-Time top artists , making her the most successful solo artist in the history of the chart. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the same year. Considered to be one of the most influential figures in contemporary music, Madonna is known for continuously reinventing both her music and image, and for retaining a standard of autonomy within the recording industry. She is recognized as an inspiration among numerous music artists.


1958–81: Early life and beginnings

Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in Bay City, Michigan on August 16, 1958. Her mother, Madonna Louise (née Fortin), was of French Canadian descent, and her father, Silvio Anthony Ciccone, was a first-generation Italian American. Her debut single, "Everybody Everybody (Madonna song) ", was released on October 6, 1982, and became a dance hit. She also starred in the critically panned film Shanghai Surprise, and made her theatrical debut in a production of David Rabe's Goose and Tom-Tom, both co-starring Penn.
In January 1989, Madonna signed an endorsement deal with soft drink manufacturer Pepsi. In one of her Pepsi commercials, she debuted her song "Like a Prayer Like a Prayer (song) ". The corresponding music video featured many Catholic symbols Christian symbolism such as stigmata and burning crosses, and a dream about making love to a saint, leading the Vatican Holy See to condemn the video. Religious groups sought to ban the commercial and boycott Pepsi products. Pepsi revoked the commercial and canceled her sponsorship contract. However, she was allowed to retain her fee of five million dollars. She followed the success of Ray of Light with the single "Beautiful Stranger", recorded for the 1999 film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. It reached number 19 on the Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media". Madonna released her ninth studio album, American Life, which was based on her observations of American society, and received mixed reviews. The album won a Grammy Award 49th Grammy Awards for "Best Electronic/Dance Album Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album ". 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 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced Madonna as one of the five inductees of 2008.
The album debuted at number one in 37 countries and on the Billboard 200. It received generally positive reviews worldwide though some critics panned it as "an attempt to harness the urban market". Its lead single, "4 Minutes 4 Minutes (Madonna song) ", reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was Madonna's 37th Hot 100 top-ten hit—it pushed Madonna past Elvis Presley as the artist with the most top-ten hits. In the UK, she retained her record for the most number one singles for a female artist; "4 Minutes" becoming her thirteenth. To further promote the album, Madonna embarked on the Sticky & Sweet Tour; her first major venture with Live Nation. With a gross of U.S. $280 million, it became the highest-grossing tour by a solo artist, surpassing the previous record Madonna set with the Confessions Tour. It was extended to the next year, adding new European dates, and after it ended, the total gross was U.S. $408 million.

Life with My Sister Madonna, a book by Madonna's brother Christopher Ciccone, debuted at number two on The New York Times Bestseller List. It was not authorized by Madonna, and led to a rift between them. Problems also arose between Madonna and Ritchie, with the media reporting that they were on the verge of separation. Ultimately, Madonna filed for divorce from Ritchie, citing irreconcilable differences, which was finalized in December 2008. Madonna was honored with the Gold International Artist of the Year, at the Recording Industry Association of Japan Gold Disc Awards, for her album Hard Candy. She decided to adopt again from Malawi. The country's High Court initially approved the adoption of Chifundo "Mercy" James; however, the application was rejected because Madonna was not a resident of Malawi. Madonna appealed, and on June 12, 2009, the Supreme Court of Malawi granted Madonna the right to adopt Mercy James. She also released Celebration Celebration (Madonna album) , her third greatest-hits album, and the closing release with Warner. It contained the new songs "Celebration Celebration (Madonna song) " and "Revolver Revolver (song) " along with 34 hits spanning her career. Celebration reached number one in the UK, tying her with Elvis Presley as the solo act with most number one albums in the British chart history. She appeared at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on September 13, 2009, to speak in tribute to deceased pop star Michael Jackson.

2010–present: W.E. and other projects

Madonna performed "Like a Prayer" at the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief concert in January 2010. In March she released her third live album, Sticky & Sweet Tour Sticky & Sweet Tour (album) . It was her first release under Live Nation, but was distributed by Warner Bros. She announced plans of directing her second film, W.E. W.E. (film) , a biopic about the affair between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. It was co-written with Alek Keshishian. She later clarified that the film is about a woman's journey and was not going to be about the duchess' life. Instead, the duchess would act as the woman's spiritual guide. Madonna granted American TV show Glee Glee (TV series) the rights to her entire catalogue of music, and the producers planned an episode which would feature Madonna songs exclusively. Titled "The Power of Madonna", the episode was approved by her, telling Us Weekly that she found it "brilliant on every level", praising the scripting and the message of equality. The episode also received positive reviews from critics. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly called it "one of the best hours of TV you’re likely to see all year", writing that the episode pays Madonna "the highest compliment possible" in not just expressing admiration for the singer, but "demonstrat[ing] a potent understanding of why Madonna matters." Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna, an EP containing eight cover versions of Madonna songs featured in the episode was released in May. The EP debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, with 98,000 copies sold in the United States.Madonna's music has been the subject of much analysis and scrutiny of critics. Robert M. Grant, author of Contemporary Strategy Analysis (2005), commented that what has brought Madonna success is "certainly not outstanding natural talent. As a vocalist, musician, dancer, songwriter, or actress, Madonna's talents seem modest." Continuing her musical evolution with Ray of Light, the track "Frozen" displayed her fully formed vocal prowess and her allusions to classical music. Her vocals were restrained and she sang the songs in Ray of Light without vibrato. However, the intake of breath within the songs became more prominent. Psychiatrist Keith Ablow suggests that her mother's death would have had an immeasurable impact on the young Madonna at a time when her personality was still forming. According to Ablow, the younger a child is at the time of a serious loss, the more profound the influence and the longer lasting the impact. He concludes that "some people never reconcile themselves to such a loss at an early age, Madonna is not different than them."

As they grew older, Madonna and her sisters would feel deep sadness as the vivid memory of their mother began drifting, farther from them. They would study pictures of her and come to think that she resembled poet Anne ***ton and Hollywood actresses. This would later raise Madonna's interest in poetry with Sylvia Plath being her favourite. Other musical influences included artists Karen Carpenter, The Supremes, Led Zeppelin, and dancers such as Martha Graham and Rudolf Nureyev. Madonna's Italian-Catholic background and her relationship with her parents were reflected in the album Like a Prayer. Her video for the title track contains Catholic symbolism, such as the stigmata. During The Virgin Tour, she wore a rosary, and also prayed with it in the music video for "La Isla Bonita". The "Open Your Heart" video sees her boss scolding her in the Italian language. On Who's That Girl World Tour, she dedicated the song "Papa Don't Preach" to the Pope.

During her childhood, Madonna was inspired by actors, later saying, "I loved Carole Lombard and Judy Holliday and Marilyn Monroe. They were all incredibly funny ... and I saw myself in them ... my girlishness, my knowingness and my innocence." Her "Material Girl" music video recreated Monroe's look in the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", from the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (film) . She studied the screwball comedies of the 1930s, particularly those of Lombard, in preparation for the film Who's That Girl. The video for "Express Yourself" (1989) was inspired by Fritz Lang's silent film Metropolis Metropolis (film) (1927). The video for "Vogue" recreated the style of Hollywood glamour photographs, in particular those by Horst P. Horst, and imitated the poses of Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard and Rita Hayworth, while the lyrics referred to many of the stars who had inspired her, including Bette Davis, described by Madonna as an idol. Influences also came to her from the art world, most notably through the works of artist Frida Kahlo. The music video of the song "Bedtime Story" featured images inspired by the paintings of Kahlo and Remedios Varo. Her 2003 video for "Hollywood Hollywood (Madonna song) " was an homage to the work of photographer Guy Bourdin; Bourdin's son subsequently filed a lawsuit for unauthorised use of his father's work. Pop artist Andy Warhol's use of sadomasochistic imagery in his underground films were reflected in the music videos for "***a" and "Deeper and Deeper". Madonna's film career has been largely received negatively by the film critic community. Stephanie Zacharek, critic for Time magazine, stated that, "[Madonna] seems wooden and unnatural as an actress, and it's tough to watch, because she's clearly trying her damnedest." According to biographer Andrew Morton Andrew Morton (writer) , "Madonna puts a brave face on the criticism, but privately she is deeply hurt." After she joined the Jewish religion, she faced opposition from rabbis who felt Madonna's adoption of the Kabbalah was sacrilegious and a case of celebrity dilettantism Society of Dilettanti . Madonna defended her studies, saying "It would be less controversial if I joined the Nazi Party", and that her involvement with the Kabbalah is "not hurting anybody." The influence of the Kaballah was subsequently observed in Madonna's music, especially albums like Ray of Light and Music. According to scholar Bill Friskics-Warren, "the ethereal arrangement of music in these albums and the philosophizing, replete with references to gurus and fate-fitting karma, at first may seem like New Age lyrics, but a deep analysis yields a sense of connection that encompasses spiritual illumination and carnal ecstacy, in effect erasing the distinction between the two, and is the effect of her oblique Kabbalistic meditation on union and transcendence." According to them, many of her songs have the imagery of the music video in strong context, while referring to the music. The media and public reaction towards her most-discussed songs such as "Papa Don't Preach", "Like a Prayer" or "Justify My Love" had to do with the music videos created to promote the song and their impact, rather than the song itself. Madonna's initial music videos reflected her American and Hispanic mixed street style combined with a flamboyant glamor. The imagery and incorporation of Hispanic culture and Catholic symbolism continued with the music videos from the True Blue era. Author Douglas Kellner noted, "such 'multiculturalism' and her culturally transgressive moves turned out to be highly successful moves that endeared her to large and varied youth audiences". Madonna's Spanish look in the videos became the fashion trend of that time, in the form of boleros and layered skirts, accessorizing with rosary beads and a crucifix as in the video of "La Isla Bonita". Academics noted that with her videos, Madonna was subtly reversing the usual role of male as the dominant ***. This symbolism and imagery was probably the most prevalent in the music video for "Like a Prayer". The video included scenes of an African-American church choir, Madonna attracted to a statue of a black saint, and singing in front of burning crosses. This mix of the sacred and the profane upset the Vatican and resulted in the Pepsi commercial withdrawal. Madonna has been honored with record-breaking 20 MTV Video Music Awards, including the lifetime achievement "Video Vanguard Award MTV Video Vanguard Award " in 1986 for her contributions to the world of music video.

Madonna's emergence occurred during the advent of MTV, and, according to Chris Nelson from The New York Times, "with its almost exclusively lip-synced videos, ushered in an era in which average music fans might happily spend hours a day, every day, watching singers just mouth the words." The symbiotic relationship between the music video and lip-syncing led to a desire for the spectacle and imagery of the music video to be transferred to live stage shows. Chris Nelson of The New York Times reported, "Artists like Madonna and Janet Jackson set new standards for showmanship, with concerts that included not only elaborate costumes and precision-timed pyrotechnics but also highly athletic dancing. These effects came at the expense of live singing." To allow for greater movement while dancing and singing, she was one of the earliest adopters of hands-free radio-frequency headset microphones, with the headset fastened over the ears or the top of the head, and the microphone capsule on a boom arm that extended to the mouth. Because of her prominent usage, the microphone design came to be known as the "Madonna mic"., the highest-grossing tour by a solo artist

According to Rolling Stone, Madonna "remains one of the greatest pop acts of all time". Music journalist Robert Sandall said that while interviewing Madonna, it was clear that being "a cultural big hitter" was more important to her than pop music, a career she described as "an accident". He also saw a contrast between her anything-goes ***ual public persona and a secretive and "paranoid" attitude toward her own finances; she fired her own brother when he charged her for an extra item.*Madonna Madonna (album) (1983)
*Like a Virgin (1984)
*True Blue True Blue (album) (1986)
*Like a Prayer (1989)
****a ***a (album) (1992)
*Bedtime Stories Bedtime Stories (Madonna album) (1994)
*Ray of Light (1998)
*Music Music (Madonna album) (2000)
*American Life (2003)
*Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005)
*Hard Candy Hard Candy (Madonna album) (2008)*The Virgin Tour (1985)
*Who's That Girl World Tour (1987)
*Blond Ambition World Tour (1990)
*The Girlie Show World Tour (1993)
*Drowned World Tour (2001)
*Re-Invention World Tour (2004)
*Confessions Tour (2006)
*Sticky & Sweet Tour (2008–09)


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