Madonna is still one of todays biggest and well known music stars, but her singing career began back in the 1980’s. I must admit that I always thought that Madonna was just a stage name, but it is in fact her real name. She was born Madonna Louise Ciccone on August 16th, 1958 in Michigan and raised in a strict Catholic family, which probably accounts for her backlash against Catholicism that was evident in some of her work.
Madonna initially trained to be a dancer, first learning ballet and then receiving a dance scholarship at the University of Michigan, which she left before completing her course after her ballet teacher persuaded her to pursue a career in dance. She travelled to New York to start her new life, where she worked as a dancer before forming a band called Breakfast Club with her boyfriend at the time, Dan Gilroy. This started her on the road to music, and ultimately led to her releasing her first single, Everybody, in 1982. Her first album followed the next year, entitled simply Madonna. This album was originally produced by Reggie Lucas, a successful producer of R&B songs. Madonna was not happy with the music tracks put to her songs, so turned to her then boyfriend John “Jellybean” Benitez, who reworked the songs and added one, Holiday, which is probably one of Madonna’s best known early hits.
The album Like A Virgin appeared in 1984, which of course contained Like A Virgin, but also Material Girl and Into The Groove, which was part of the soundtrack to the film Desperately Seeking Susan, her first well known acting role. Her love for film was evident in the fact that her music videos became much bigger and grander. In 1986 she released her next album, True Blue, which contained the titular True Blue but also Papa Don’t Preach, Open Your Heart and La Isla Bonita. Most of these songs had beautifully filmed videos to accompany them, but this is also where Madonna really began her attack on Catholicism.
Her final album of the 1980’s was Like A Prayer, which also featured the hits Cherish and Express Yourself. After this Madonna started to enter a sequence of reinventing herself. Her work became more experimental and more sexy, swapping her old wardrobe of lacy edged skirts and knee length leggings for unfeasibly pointy bras, corsets and stockings. As the years have gone by she has courted controversy by kissing other female artists (most notably Britney Spears and Christina Agueleira), married movie director Guy Ritchie, joined the Kabbalah (an offshoot religion based in Jewish mysticism) andÂ been involved in theÂ scandal over her “adoption” of David Banda, a child from Malawi.