REAL NAME : Madonna Louise Ciccone
BORN : August 16, 1958 (1958-08-16)
Bay City, Michigan,
Madonna was born in Bay City, Michigan, at 7:05 AM on August 16, 1958, to Madonna Louise (née Fortin), who was of French Canadian descent, and Silvio Ciccone, who was a first-generation Italian American working as a design engineer for Chrysler and General Motors, originating from Pacentro, Abruzzo, Italy. Madonna was nicknamed "Little Nonni", to distinguish her from her mother. She is the third of six children; her siblings are Martin, Anthony, Paula, Christopher, and Melanie. Madonna was raised in the Detroit suburbs of Pontiac and Avon Township (now Rochester Hills). Her mother died of breast cancer at age 30 on December 1, 1963. Then her father married the family's housekeeper, Joan Gustafson, and they had two children; Jennifer and Mario Ciccone. Madonna commented on her father's second marriage: "I didn't accept my stepmother when I was growing up [...] In retrospect, I think I was really hard on her." She attended St. Frederick's and St. Andrew's Elementary Schools, and after that West Middle School. There she became known for her high GPA - and for her "unusual" behavior, particularly a kind of an underwear fetish.Madonna performed cartwheels and handstands in the hallways between classes, dangled by her knees from the monkey bars during recess, and pulled her skirt up during class, so that all the boys could see her briefs.
Later, she went to Rochester Adams High School, becoming a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad. Madonna received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan after graduating from high school. She wanted to take ballet lessons and convinced her father to allow her to take the classes. Her ballet teacher persuaded her to pursue a career in dance, so she left the college at the end of 1977, and relocated to New York City. Madonna had little money at that time and hence lived in squalor, working as a waitress in Dunkin' Donuts and with modern dance troupes.Of her move to New York, Madonna said, "It was the first time I'd ever taken a plane, the first time I'd ever gotten a taxi cab. I came here with $ 35 in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I'd ever done." While performing as a dancer for the French disco artist Patrick Hernandez on his 1979 world tour, Madonna became romantically involved with the musician Dan Gilroy, with whom she later formed her first rock band, the Breakfast Club, in New York. She sang and played drums and guitar for the band, but soon departed from them and formed another band called Emmy in 1980, with drummer and former boyfriend Stephen Bray. Together they wrote and produced dance-pop songs, that brought her to the attention of DJ and record producer Mark Kamins. He was impressed by Madonna's demo recordings, so he brought her to the attention of Sire Records founder Seymour Stein.
Madonna signed a singles deal with Sire Records, a label belonging to Warner Bros. Records. Her debut single, "Everybody", was released on April 24, 1982, and became a dance hit. Her debut album, Madonna, was primarily produced by Reggie Lucas. At the same time, she became involved with artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and lived with him for a time in his loft.Soon after, she left the artist because of his drug use and late hours, moving in with musician John "Jellybean" Benitez to continue developing the album.After its release, it peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200, and produced the top-ten singles, "Borderline" and "Lucky Star".
Slowly, Madonna's look and manner of dress, her performances and music videos, became influential among young girls and women. Mainly created by stylist and jewellery designer Maripol, Madonna's style of dress – defined by lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the Christian cross, multiple bracelets, and bleached hair – became a female fashion trend of the 1980s. Madonna eventually achieved global fame after the release of her sophomore album, Like a Virgin (1984). It topped the charts in several countries and became her first number-one album on the Billboard 200. The title track "Like a Virgin" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six consecutive weeks.Madonna performed the song at the first MTV Video Music Awards, where she appeared on stage atop a giant wedding cake dressed in a wedding dress, adorned with the infamous "Boy Toy" belt buckle, and veil. To date, the performance is noted as one of the iconic and biggest performance in MTV history.Like a Virgin was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America and sold more than 21 million copies worldwide.The National Association of Recording Merchandisers and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listed the album as one of the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time
The next year, Madonna entered mainstream films, beginning with a brief appearance as a club singer in Vision Quest, a romantic drama film. Its soundtrack contained her second US number-one single, "Crazy for You". She also appeared in the comedy Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), a film which introduced the song "Into the Groove", her first number-one single in the United Kingdom.Although not the lead actress for the film, her profile was such that the movie widely became seen (and marketed) as a Madonna vehicle.The film received a nomination for a César Award for Best Foreign Film, and The New York Times film critic Vincent Canby, named it as one of the ten best films of 1985, with the lead actress Rosanna Arquette, receiving a supporting actress BAFTA for her role While filming the music video for the second single from Like a Virgin, titled "Material Girl", Madonna started dating actor Sean Penn and married him on her twenty-seventh birthday that year. Madonna embarked on her first concert tour in North America, titled The Virgin Tour, with the Beastie Boys as opening acts. In July 1985, Penthouse and Playboy magazines published a number of nude photos of Madonna, taken in New York in 1978. Madonna had posed for the photographs as she was in need of money] But because she had signed the appropriate release forms, she could not take legal action to block them. The publication of the photos caused media uproar, but Madonna remained defiant and unapologetic; she was paid as little as $25 a session. The photographs were ultimately sold for up to $100,000. She referenced this incident at the outdoor Live Aid charity concert and stated that she would not take her jacket off because "they [media] might hold it against me ten years from now.
Madonna released her third album, True Blue, in 1986, prompting Rolling Stone to comment that "it sounds as if it comes from the heart." The album topped the charts in over 28 countries worldwide, an unprecedented record at the time, and earning a place in Guinness Book of World Records. The album spawned three number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100: "Live to Tell", "Papa Don't Preach" and "Open Your Heart", as well as other top-five singles "True Blue" and "La Isla Bonita". The same year, Madonna starred in the film Shanghai Surprise (which was panned by critics), and made her theatrical debut in a production of David Rabe's Goose and Tom-Tom, both co-starring Penn. In 1987, Madonna starred in Who's That Girl, and contributed four songs to its soundtrack; including the title track and the US number-two single, "Causing a Commotion". The same year, she embarked on the Who's That Girl World Tour. It was complimented for Madonna's innovative dresses. Later that year, she released a remix album of past hits, You Can Dance. Madonna's marriage to Penn ended, and they filed divorce papers in December 1987, which was finalized in January 1989. Of her marriage to Penn, Madonna said, "I was completely obsessed with my career and not ready to be generous in any shape or form.
In early 1989, Madonna signed an endorsement deal with soft drink manufacturer Pepsi. She debuted her new song, "Like a Prayer" in a Pepsi commercial, and also made a music video for it. The video featured many Catholic symbols such as stigmata and burning crosses, leading the Vatican to condemn the video. Since the commercial and music video were nearly identical, Pepsi was unable to convince the public that their commercial was unrelated to the video. They revoked the commercial and cancelled their sponsorship contract with Madonna. However, she was allowed to retain her fee for the contract. Madonna's fourth studio album, Like a Prayer, was released the same year. It was co-written and co-produced by Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray. Rolling Stone hailed it as "...as close to art as pop music gets". Like a Prayer peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold thirteen million copies worldwide, with four million copies sold in the United States alone.The album produced three top-five singles, namely, the title track (her seventh number-one single on the Hot 100), "Express Yourself" and "Cherish".By the end of the 1980s, Madonna had become the most successful female artist of the decade, with three number-one albums and seven number-one singles; surpassed only by Michael Jackson.
In 1990, Madonna starred as "Breathless" Mahoney in the film adaptation of the comic book series Dick Tracy. It starred Warren Beatty in the title role. To accompany the film, she released the album I'm Breathless, which included songs inspired by the film's 1930s setting. It also featured her eighth US number-one single, "Vogue",and "Sooner or Later", which earned songwriter Stephen Sondheim, an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1991.While shooting for the film, Madonna began a relationship with Beatty.Their relationship ended in the fall of 1990. Madonna began her Blond Ambition World Tour in April 1990. Rolling Stone called it an "elaborately choreographed, sexually provocative extravaganza" and proclaimed it "the best tour of 1990". The tour drew strong reaction from religious groups, for her performance of "Like a Virgin", during which two male dancers caressed her body before she simulated masturbation. The Pope encouraged the crowd and the Christian community, not to attend the concert.A private association of Catholics, called Famiglia Domani, also boycotted the tour for featuring eroticism. In response, Madonna said, "I am Italian American and proud of it" and that the Church "completely frowns on sex ... except for procreation."She later won a Grammy Award in 1992, in the Best Long Form Music Video category, for the laserdisc relase of the tour.
The Immaculate Collection, Madonna's first greatest-hits compilation album, was released in November 1990. It included two new songs, "Justify My Love" and "Rescue Me". The album was certified diamond by RIAA and sold over 30 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling compilation album by a solo artist in the history. "Justify My Love" became Madonna's ninth US number-one single. Its music video featured scenes of sadomasochism, bondage, same-sex kissing and brief nudity.The video was deemed too sexually explicit for MTV, and was banned from the station. The second single, "Rescue Me", became the highest-debuting single by a female artist in Hot 100 chart history at that time, entering at number fifteen and peaking at number nine.At the end of the year, Madonna decided to leave the Jennifer Lynch film Boxing Helena. From late 1990 to early 1991, Madonna dated Tony Ward, a model and porn star, who appeared in her music videos for "Cherish" and "Justify My Love". She also had an eight-month relationship with rapper Vanilla Ice.Her first documentary film, Truth or Dare (known as In Bed with Madonna outside North America) was released in mid-1991. The documentary chronicled her Blond Ambition World Tour, as well giving glimpses of her personal life.The following year, she appeared in the baseball film A League of Their Own in the role of Italian-American Mae Mordabito. She recorded the film's theme song "This Used to Be My Playground", which became her tenth Hot 100 number-one hit.
In 1992, Madonna founded her own entertainment company, Maverick, consisting of a record company (Maverick Records), a film production company (Maverick Films), and also music publishing, television, merchandising and book-publishing divisions. The deal was a joint venture with Time Warner as part of $60 million worth of recordings and businesses. It gave Madonna twenty percent royalty from the music proceedings, equal at that time to Michael Jackson's. The first release from the venture was Madonna's book, titled Sex. It consisted of sexually provocative and explicit images, photographed by Steven Meisel. The book caused strong reaction from the media and the general public, but sold 1.5 million copies, at $50 each, in a matter of days . At the same time she released her fifth studio album, Erotica, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. Its title track peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.Erotica also produced five further singles, namely "Deeper and Deeper," "Bad Girl," "Fever," "Rain" and "Bye Bye Baby. Her provocative imagery continued with the erotic thrillers Body of Evidence and Dangerous Game. The first film contained scenes of S&M and bondage, and was poorly received by critics.Dangerous Game was released straight-to-video in North America and was described by The New York Times as "angry and painful, and the pain feels real."Madonna embarked on The Girlie Show World Tour at the end of 1993. It featured her dressed as a whip-cracking dominatrix, surrounded by topless dancers. The show faced negative reaction in Puerto Rico, when she rubbed their national flag between her legs on stage.That year, she appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. After Letterman introduced her on his show as "one of the biggest stars in the world", Madonna subsequently repeatedly used four-letter words and asked Letterman to smell a pair of her underwear she handed him.The release of Truth or Dare, Sex, Erotica, Body of Evidence and the appearance on Letterman - all of them made critics question Madonna as a sexual renegade. She faced strong negative publicity, with critics and fans commenting that "she had gone too far" and that her career was over
Madonna tried to tone down the provocative image, by releasing the single "I'll Remember" (1993), which she recorded for Alek Keshishian's film With Honors. She made a tame appearance with Letterman at an awards show, as well as appearing on the Jay Leno show. Madonna realized that her music career needed some dramatic changes in order to sustain herself in the long run. With her sixth studio album, Bedtime Stories, she tried to soften her image and reconnect with the general public once more.The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and produced four singles– "Secret", "Take a Bow", which spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100,"Bedtime Story" and "Human Nature".At the same time, she became romantically involved with fitness trainer Carlos Leon.Continuing to tone down her image, Madonna released Something to Remember, a collection of her ballads, in May 1995. The album was produced by David Foster and featured three new songs— a cover of the Marvin Gaye's song "I Want You", "You'll See", and "One More Chance".The following year, Madonna’s most critically successful film Evita was released, where she portrayed the title role of Eva Perón. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, for the role.Madonna released three singles from the soundtrack album, including "You Must Love Me", which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1997, and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina". On October 14, 1996, Madonna gave birth to her and Carlos Leon's daughter, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon
After Lourdes' birth Madonna became involved in Eastern mysticism and Kabbalah. Her seventh studio album Ray of Light reflected this change in her perception and image. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, behind the Titanic soundtrack. Ray of Light became Madonna's most critically acclaimed album and was listed as one of the Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Slant Magazine described the album as "one of the great pop masterpieces of the '90s". Ray of Light was honored with four Grammy Awards and six MTV Video Music Awards.The album's first single, "Frozen", became Madonna's first ever single to debut at number one in the United Kingdom, while in the United States, it became her sixth number-two singles and set another record for Madonna as the artist with most number-two hits. However, the song was adjudicated to be a plagiarism of Belgian songwriter Salvatore Acquaviva's 1993 song "Ma Vie Fout L'camp", and hence it was banned in Belgium.The second single, "Ray of Light", debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and was used by Microsoft in its advertising campaign to introduce Windows XP.In 1999, Madonna was signed to play a violin teacher in the film Music of the Heart but left the project, citing "creative differences" with director Wes Craven.Madonna followed the success of Ray of Light with the single "Beautiful Stranger", recorded for the 1999 film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me's soundtrack. It reached number nineteen on the Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
In 2000, Madonna starred in the film The Next Best Thing. She contributed two songs to the film's soundtrack, "Time Stood Still" and the international hit "American Pie", a cover version of Don McLean's 1971 song. Madonna released her eighth studio album, Music, on September 2000. The album hit number-one position in more than 20 countries worldwide, and sold 4 million copies in the first 10 days. In the United States, Music debuted at number one and became her first number-one album in eleven years, since Like a Prayer. It produced three singles; "Music", which became Madonna's twelfth number-one on the Hot 100, as well as "Don't Tell Me" and "What It Feels Like for a Girl".The latter's music video, depicted Madonna committing murders and accidents, with cars and was banned by MTV and VH1 from airing.The same year Madonna became involved in a relationship with Guy Ritchie, whom she had met in 1999 through mutual friends Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler. On August 11, 2000, she gave birth to their son, Rocco Ritchie.Later that year, Madonna and Ritchie married in Scotland Her fifth concert tour, titled the Drowned World Tour, started in May 2001.The tour visited cities in North America and Europe. It became one of the highest grossing concert tours of the year and grossed $75 million from 47 sold-out shows. She also released her second greatest hits collection, titled GHV2, to coincide with the home video release of the tour. GHV2 debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200.In 2002, Madonna starred in the film Swept Away directed by her husband Guy Ritchie. The film was a commercial and critical failure, and was released direct-to-video in the United Kingdom.Later that year, she released "Die Another Day", the title song of the twentieth James Bond film of same name, in which she had a cameo role. The song reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated both for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Raspberry for Worst Song.
In 2003, Madonna collaborated with fashion photographer Steven Klein, for an exhibition installation named X-STaTIC Pro=CeSS. It included photography from a photoshoot in W Magazine, and seven video segments. The installation ran from March to May, in New York's Deitch Projects gallery. It then traveled the world in an edited form. Madonna released her ninth studio album called American Life. It was themed on the American society and received mixed reviews.The title song peaked at number thirty-seven on the Hot 100. Having sold four million copies, American Life became the lowest selling album of her career. Later that year, Madonna performed the song "Hollywood" with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott, at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. Madonna kissed Spears and Aguilera during the performance, resulting in a tabloid frenzy.In the fall of 2003, Madonna provided guest vocals on Spears' single "Me Against the Music". During the Christmas season of 2003, Madonna released Remixed & Revisited, an EP that included remixed versions of songs from American Life, and "Your Honesty", a previously unreleased track from the Bedtime Stories recording sessions. Madonna also signed a contract with Callaway Arts & Entertainment as the author of five books, and published the first one titled The English Roses. The story was about four English schoolgirls and their envy and jealousy of each other. After its release, The English Roses peaked at the top of New York Times Best Seller list.
The next year, Madonna and Maverick sued Warner Music Group and its former parent company, Time Warner, claiming that mismanagement of resources, and poor bookkeeping had cost the company millions of dollars. In return, Warner filed a countersuit, alleging that Maverick had lost tens of millions of dollars on its own. The dispute was resolved when the Maverick shares, owned by Madonna and Ronnie Dashev, were purchased. The company became an owmed subsidiary of Warner Music, but Madonna was still signed to Warner under a separate recording contract.Later that year, Madonna embarked on the Re-Invention World Tour in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It became the highest-grossing tour of 2004, earning $125 million. She made a documentary about the tour named I'm Going to Tell You a Secret. Same year, Rolling Stone ranked her number thirty-six, on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".Madonna performed a cover version of the John Lennon song "Imagine", in the televised concert titled Tsunami Aid.She also performed at the Live 8 benefit concert in London. Her tenth studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, was released in November and debuted at number one in all major music markets.The album won a Grammy Award for "Best Electronic/Dance Album". Confessions received positive reviews from critics.] The first single from the album, "Hung Up", went on to reach number-one in a record breaking forty-five countries."Sorry", the second single, became Madonna's twelfth number-one, in United Kingdom.
In 2006, the clothing line M by Madonna, under H&M, was launched internationally. Madonna's Confessions Tour began in May 2006. It had a global audience of 1.2 million, with a reported gross of $260.1 million. The use of religious symbols, such as the crucifix and Crown of Thorns, in the performance of "Live to Tell", caused the Russian Orthodox Church and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, to urge all their members to boycott her concert. The Vatican, as well as bishops from Düsseldorf, protested against the concert. 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." While on the tour, Madonna traveled to Malawi to help and fund an orphanage, as part of the Raising Malawi initiative.On October 10, 2006, she filed adoption papers for a boy named David Banda Mwale, from the orphanage. He was later renamed, David Banda Mwale Ciccone Ritchie.The adoption raised strong public reaction, because Malawian law requires would-be parents to reside in Malawi for one year before adopting, which Madonna did not do.She refuted the allegations on The Oprah Winfrey Show, saying that there were no written adoption laws in Malawi that regulated foreign adoption and that Banda had been suffering from pneumonia after surviving malaria and tuberculosis, when she had met him. Banda's biological father, Yohane commented, "These so-called human rights activists are harassing me every day, threatening me that I am not aware of what I am doing. [...] They want me to support their court case, a thing I cannot do for I know what I agreed with Madonna and her husband."The adoption was finalized on May 28, 2008
In May 2007, Madonna released the download-only song "Hey You", for Live Earth series of concerts. The song was available as free download the first week of its release. She also performed it at the London Live Earth concert in July 2007.In Ocotber, Madonna announced her departure from Warner Bros. Records, and a new $120 million, ten year contract with Live Nation. She became the founding recording artist for the new music division, Live Nation Artists. Same year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced Madonna as one of the five inductees of 2008.The induction ceremony took place on March 10, 2008.Madonna produced and wrote I Am Because We Are, a documentary on the problems faced by Malawians. The documentary was directed by her former gardener Nathan Rissman. She also directed her first film titled Filth and Wisdom. The Times said she had "done herself proud" while The Daily Telegraph described the film as "not an entirely unpromising first effort [but] Madonna would do well to hang on to her day job. Madonna released her eleventh studio album, Hard Candy, in April 2008. Rolling Stone complimented it as an "impressive taste of her upcoming tour."The album debuted at number one in 37 countries worldwide, including the Billboard 200. The album received mostly positive reviews worldwide, though some critics panned it as "an attempt to harness the urban market". Its lead single "4 Minutes", reached number-three on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was Madonna's thirty-seventh Hot 100 top ten hit, thus surpassing Elvis Presley, as the artist with the most top-ten hits.In the United Kingdom, she retained her record for the most number-one singles for a female artist, "4 Minutes" being her thirteenth.To further promote the album, Madonna embarked on the Sticky & Sweet Tour, which was her first major venture with Live Nation. It became the highest-grossing tour ever by a solo artist with gross of $US 280 million, surpassing previous record held by her Confessions Tour. The tour was extended to the next year, adding new European dates. The total gross by the end of the whole tour was US$ 408 million
Life with My Sister Madonna, a book by Madonna's brother Christopher Ciccone, was released in July, 2008. The book debuted at number two on the New York Times Bestseller List. It was not authorized by Madonna, and led to a rift between them. She filed for divorce from Ritchie, in October 2008, which was finalised in December. On March 2, 2009, Madonna was honored with the Gold International Artist of the Year, at the Recording Industry Association of Japan Gold Disc Awards, for Hard Candy. She decided to adopt again from Malawi. The country's High Court, initially approved the adoption of Chifundo "Mercy" James. However, the adoption was rejected since Madonna was not a resident of Malawi.Madonna re-appealed, and on June 12, 2009, the Supreme Court of Malawi granted Madonna, the rights to adopt Mercy James.In September 2009, Madonna released Celebration, her third greatest hits album, and the closing release with Warner. It contained the new songs "Celebration" and "Revolver", plus 34 hits spanning her career.Celebration was Madonna's eleventh number-one album in the UK Albums Chart, tying her with Elvis Presley as the solo act with most number-one albums in the British chart history. Madonna appeared at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on September 13, 2009, to pay tribute to deceased pop star Michael Jackson, with a speech.