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Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone (Italian pronunciation: [tʃik̚ˈkoːne]) on 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 and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983. She followed it with a series of albums in which she found immense popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular 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", "Papa Don't Preach", "Like a Prayer", "Vogue", "Frozen", "Music", "Hung Up", and "4 Minutes". Critics have praised Madonna 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 for her role in Evita (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. 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 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 in the United States, behind Barbra Streisand, with 64 million certified albums. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked Madonna at number two, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of the Billboard chart. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the same year. Considered to be one of the "25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century" by Time for being an influential figure 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.
Madonna signed a singles deal with Sire, a label belonging to Warner Bros. Records. Her debut single, "Everybody", was released on October 6, 1982, and became a dance hit. She started developing her debut album Madonna, which was primarily produced by Reggie Lucas, a Warner Bros. producer. However, she was not happy with the completed tracks and disagreed with Lucas' production techniques, so decided to seek additional help. Madonna moved in with boyfriend John "Jellybean" Benitez, asking his help for finishing the album's production. Benitez remixed most of the tracks and produced "Holiday", which was her third single. The overall sound of Madonna is dissonant, and is in the form of upbeat synthetic disco, utilizing some of the new technology of the time, like the usage of Linn drum machine, Moog bass and the OB-X synthesizer. The album peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200, and yielded the hit singles "Holiday", "Borderline" and "Lucky Star".
Gradually, Madonna's look and manner of dressing, her performances and her music videos started influencing young girls and women. Her style became a female fashion trend of the 1980s. It was created by stylist and jewelry designer Maripol and the look consisted of lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the crucifix, bracelets, and bleached hair. She achieved global recognition after the release of her second studio album: Like a Virgin in 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", topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six consecutive weeks. It attracted the attention of family organizations, who complained that the song and its accompanying video promoted premarital sex and undermined family values, and moralists sought to have the song and video banned. Madonna further came under fire when she performed the song at the first MTV Video Music Awards where she appeared on stage atop a giant wedding cake, wearing a wedding dress and bridal veil, adorned with her characteristic "Boy Toy" belt buckle. The performance is noted by scholars and by MTV as an iconic performance in MTV history. In later years, Madonna commented that she was actually terrified of the performance. She recalled, "I remember my manager Freddy shouting to me, 'Oh my God! What were you doing? You were wearing a wedding dress. Oh my God! You were rolling around on the floor!' It was the bravest, most blatant sexual thing I had ever done on television." 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" in 1998.
Madonna entered mainstream films in 1985, beginning with a brief appearance as a club singer in Vision Quest, a romantic drama film. Its soundtrack contained her U.S. 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 one of the ten best films of 1985. While filming the music video for the second single from Like a Virgin—"Material Girl"—Madonna started dating actor Sean Penn and married him on her birthday in 1985.
Beginning in April 1985, Madonna embarked on her first concert tour in North America, The Virgin Tour, with the Beastie Boys as her opening act. Madonna commented: "That whole tour was crazy, because I went from playing CBGB and the Mudd Club to playing sporting arenas. I played a small theater in Seattle, and the girls had flap skirts on and the tights cut off below their knees and lace gloves and rosaries and bows in their hair and big hoop earrings. [...] After Seattle, all of the shows were moved to arenas." In July, Penthouse and Playboy magazines published a number of nude photos of Madonna, taken in New York in 1978. She had posed for the photographs as she needed money at the time, and was paid as little as $25 a session. The publication of the photos caused a media uproar, but Madonna remained defiant and unapologetic. The photographs were ultimately sold for up to $100,000. She referred to the whole experience at the 1985 outdoor Live Aid charity concert saying that she would not take her jacket off because "[the media] might hold it against me ten years from now."
True Blue, Madonna's third studio album, was released in June, 1986. It spawned three number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100: "Live to Tell", "Papa Don't Preach" and "Open Your Heart", and two more top-five singles: "True Blue" and "La Isla Bonita". The album topped the charts in over 28 countries worldwide, an unprecedented achievement at the time. Rolling Stone magazine was generally impressed with the effort, writing that the album "sound[s] as if it comes from the heart". 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. The next year, Madonna's second feature film Who's That Girl was released. She contributed four songs to its soundtrack, including the title track and "Causing a Commotion". In June 1987, she embarked on the Who's That Girl World Tour which continued until September. Regarding the tour, Madonna commented "I realised that I could go from being unmoulded clay, and over time and with the help of people, I could turn myself into something else. This tour is the reflection of that belief and it's as if saying to me 'Who are you girl?' Hence the name, its the new me." Later that year, she released a remix album of past hits, entitled You Can Dance, which reached 14 on the Billboard 200. Madonna and Penn filed for divorce in December 1987, citing irreconcilable differences, with Madonna's lawyer pointing to Penn's drinking problem and his abusive nature. The divorce was finalized in January 1989. Of her marriage to Penn, Madonna later said, "I was completely obsessed with my career and not ready to be generous in any shape or form."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". The corresponding music video featured many Catholic symbols such as stigmata and burning crosses, and a dream about making love to a saint, leading the Vatican to condemn the video. Religious groups sought to ban the commercial and boycott Pepsi products. Pepsi revoked the
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