Wednesday, November 12, 2014


WOW! 30 years ago today Madonna officially started her rise to power! Sure, Madonna's first self-titled debut album was very successful, so much so, in fact, that the single and album Like A Virgin had to be pushed back from April to November 1984 to accommodate releasing more singles from the first album. But Madonna patiently waited and finally performed the song Like A Virgin live on the very first MTV VMAs on September 14, 1984, shocking the audience, popping out of a cake in a wedding dress and her "BOYTOY" belt, and starting a revolution. She writhed her way to one of the most iconic performances of all time and, despite her manager saying she had just ruined her career, the album gained momentum VERY quickly. Like A Virgin, the album, reached #1 on the Billboard 200 chart February 9, 1985 , but by July of that same year it became the first album by a female artist to reach sales of 5 million units in the US. The album's title track hit #1 on the Hot 100 on December 22, 1984 and stayed there for six weeks, becoming Madonna's first of 12 number-one singles. The video, shot in Venice, Italy, was sensual, girly and a perfect companion to take Madonna's girl-power, take-no-prisoners image to the next level. As a follow up Madonna released a song that she said she regrets ever releasing because it stuck her with a nickname she hates: Material Girl. We are glad she did. Further solidifying Madonna as an icon, Material Girl is undeniably one of her catchiest hits and also one of the most beloved. The video is absolutely a classic; Madonna as Marilyn. There's never been a better fit. Material Girl shot to #2 on the Hot 100, held off by REO Speedwagon's Keep On Loving You (what???), and briefly shared the top 5 with another Madonna single, Crazy For You, from the Vision Quest Soundtrack. (Crazy For You was later added to special editions of Like A Virgin, but was not originally on the album, so fuck that noise for now.) The one-two punch of Like A Virgin and Material Girl had Madonna on top of the world. The third single, and one that seems to be overlooked quite often, is the supremely light and lovely Angel. Angel became Madonna's fifth consecutive top 5 single on the Hot 100, reaching #5 in the summer of 1985. Though it did not have an accompanying video, Angel was released with a VERY famous B-side; Into The Groove. While a chart hit everywhere else in the world, Into The Groove was never officially released as a single in the US and therefore was ineligible to chart, but it was also added to later pressings of Like A Virgin. The fourth and final single released from Like A Virgin was the stylishly slinky Dress You Up. The last song to be included on the album, producer Nile Rogers initially was not sold on the song, but Madonna championed it and it eventually became her sixth consecutive top 5 single, hitting #5 in the winter of 1985. The music video was shot live on Madonna's Virgin Tour. Dress You Up was also famously added to The Filthy Fifteen, a list of songs complied by Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985 that they believed should be banned from radio for supposed adult content. HAHAHA!! Though not too far off stylistically from Madonna's debut album, Like A Virgin was definitely sharper and better produced, thanks to Chic's Nile Rogers. There was a sense of maturity that does not show on her debut. Any track could have easily been a single, from the bouncy pep-talk of Over and Over to the wanton loneliness of the final track Stay. Her cover of Rose Royce's 1978 song Love Don't Live Here Anymore is one of the first tracks on which Madonna-as-songstress appears, performing from her gut and showing that she could deliver a ballad. Critics and fans began to agree that Madonna was more than image and that Like A Virgin was a hit from beginning to end. Of course, the album and its singles are among the most famous of the 80s certainly, arguably ever, and to date the album has sold over 21 million copies worldwide. There is no denying the iconic images, videos and controversy the album produced and, because of all that, we are still here talking and reading about it 30 years later. Like A Virgin was Madonna's first #1 album and the birth of what would become THE pop star of this or any generation. Enjoy the singles below.

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