Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie (born August 16, 1958), known as Madonna, is an American recording artist and entertainer. Born in Bay City, Michigan and raised in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Madonna moved to New York City for a career in modern dance. After performing as member of the pop musical groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her self-titled debut album in 1983, and then produced three consecutive number-one studio albums on the Billboard 200 in the 1980s and four more since year 2000.
Madonna is known for her works that explore religious symbolism and sexual themes which also drew criticism from the Vatican in the late 1980s. In 1992, she founded an entertainment company, Maverick, which published a book of photographs (Sex). She also released a studio album (Erotica) and starred in a film (Body of Evidence) with erotic themes. These works generated negative publicity and coincided with a fall in commercial sales in the 1990s. Madonna's career was revived in 1998, when the release of her album Ray of Light garnered critical acclaim.
Madonna has acted in 22 films. Although several failed critically and commercially, she earned a Golden Globe Award for her role in the 1996 film Evita. Divorced from actor Sean Penn, in 1996 Madonna conceived a daughter, Lourdes Maria (also known as Lola) by personal trainer Carlos Leon before marrying film director Guy Ritchie in 2000. She and Richie have two sons, Rocco and David Banda, a Malawian boy they adopted in 2006, which caused media allegations they violated that country's adoption laws.
Madonna has been regarded as "one of the greatest pop acts of all time" and dubbed the "Queen of Pop" by various sources. She is ranked by the Recording Industry Association of America as the best-selling female rock artist of the twentieth century and the second top-selling female artist in the United States with 63 million certified albums. Guinness World Records list her as the world's most successful female recording artist of all time and the top-earning female singer in the world with an estimated net worth of over US$400 million, having sold over 200 million records worldwide. On March 10, 2008, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Madonna was raised in the Detroit suburbs of Pontiac, Michigan and Avon Township (now Rochester Hills, Michigan). Her mother died of breast cancer at age 30 on December 1, 1963. Her father married the family housekeeper, Joan Gustafson, and they had two children; Jennifer and Mario Ciccone. "I didn't accept my stepmother when I was growing up," Madonna said, "in retrospect I think I was really hard on her. Madonna convinced her father to allow her to take ballet classes. Madonna attended St. Frederick's Elementary School and St. Andrew's Elementary School (present day Holy Family Regional) and West Middle School. She attended 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.
Madonna's ballet teacher persuaded her to pursue a dance career, so she left the University of Michigan at the end of 1977 and moved to New York City. Madonna had little money and for some time lived in squalor, working at Dunkin' Donuts and with modern dance troupes. Speaking 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. In it, she sang and played drums and guitar before forming the band Emmy in 1980 with drummer and former boyfriend Stephen Bray. She and Bray wrote and produced dance songs that brought her local attention in New York dance clubs. Disc jockey and record producer Mark Kamins was impressed by her demo recordings, so he brought her to the attention of Sire Records founder Seymour Stein.
Madonna's look and manner of dress, performances and music videos, became influential among young girls and women. Defined by lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the Christian cross, and bleached hair, it became a female fashion trend in the 1980s. Her follow up album, Like a Virgin, became her first number one album on the U.S. albums chart; its commercial performance was buoyed by the success of its title track, "Like a Virgin", which reached number one in the U.S. with a six week stay at the top. The album sold 12 million copies worldwide, eight of which in the U.S. She performed the song at the first MTV Video Music Awards, wearing her then-trademark "Boy Toy" belt. Like a Virgin is listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time.
In 1985, Madonna entered mainstream films, beginning with a brief appearance as a club singer in the film Vision Quest. Its soundtrack contained her second U.S. number-one single "Crazy for You". Later that year, she appeared in Desperately Seeking Susan. The film introduced the song "Into the Groove", which became her first number-one single in the UK. Madonna embarked on her first concert tour in the U.S. in 1985 titled The Virgin Tour, with the Beastie Boys. In July that year, Penthouse and Playboy magazines published a number of black and white nude photos of Madonna taken in the late 1970s. Madonna took legal action to try and block them from being published, but when that failed she became unapologetic and defiant. At the outdoor Live Aid charity concert at the height of the controversy, Madonna made a critical reference to the media and stated she would not take her jacket off because "they might hold it against me ten years from now".
In 1987, Madonna starred in Who's That Girl, and contributed four songs to its soundtrack; including the title track and the U.S. number-two single, "Causing a Commotion". In the same year, she embarked on the Who's That Girl Tour. It marked her first conflict with the Vatican, as Pope John Paul II urged Italian fans not to attend her concerts. Later that year, Madonna released a remix album of past hits, You Can Dance. In 1988, city officials in the town of Pacentro began to construct a statue of Madonna in a bustier. The statue commemorates the fact that her ancestors had lived in Pacentro. In 1988, Madonna starred as Karen in a play by David Mamet called Speed-the-Plow.
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, which features many Catholic symbols such as stigmata and burning crosses, was condemned by the Vatican. Since the commercial and music video were nearly identical, Pepsi was unable to convince the public that their commercial had nothing that could be deemed inappropriate. They revoked the commercial and cancelled their sponsorship contract with Madonna.
Madonna's fourth album, Like a Prayer, released in 1989, 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 U.S. album chart and sold seven million copies worldwide, with four million copies sold in the U.S. alone. The album produced three Top 5-charting singles: the title track (her seventh number-one single in the U.S.), "Express Yourself" and "Cherish".
In 1990, Madonna starred as "Breathless" Mahoney in a film adaptation of the comic book series Dick Tracy. To accompany the launching of the film in May 1990, she released I'm Breathless that includes songs inspired by the film's 1930s setting. It features her eighth U.S. number-one single, "Vogue", and her Academy Award-winning song "Sooner or Later". The second single released from I'm Breathless was "Hanky Panky", which peaked in the U.S. at number nine. In April 1990, Madonna began her Blond Ambition World Tour. Featuring religious and sexual themes, the tour drew controversy from her performance of "Like a Virgin" during which two male dancers caressed her body before she simulated masturbation. The Pope again encouraged Italians not to attend to it. 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 the Church "completely frowns on sex... except for procreation.
In November 1990, Madonna released her first greatest hits compilation album, The Immaculate Collection, which includes two new songs: "Justify My Love" and "Rescue Me". "Rescue Me" became the highest-debuting single by a female artist in the U.S. chart history at the time, entering at number 15 and peaking at number nine. "Justify My Love" became a number-one dance hit in the U.S. Its music video featured scenes of sadomasochism, bondage, same-sex kissing and brief nudity. It was deemed too sexually explicit for MTV and banned from the station. In 1991, Madonna starred in her first documentary film, Truth or Dare, which chronicles her Blond Ambition Tour, as well as her personal life. The following year, she appeared in the baseball film A League of Their Own with a portrayal of Italian American Mae Mordabito, and recorded the film's theme song, "This Used to Be My Playground".
During 1993, she starred in two films. First was the erotic thriller Body of Evidence. The film contained S&M and bondage and was poorly received by critics. The second was the first production for Maverick Films, Dangerous Game. It was released straight-to-video in North America but received some good reviews for Madonna's performance. The New York Times described that "She submits impressively to the emotions raging furiously around her. She expressed her disappointment regarding the final cut of the film, claiming that the director had cut many of her key scenes and completely changed the ending. 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 controversy continued in Puerto Rico when she rubbed its flag between her legs on stage, while Orthodox Jews protested against her first ever show in Israel.
In the spring of 1994, Madonna released the single "I'll Remember" which she recorded for Alek Keshishian's film With Honors. That year, she also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, using four-letter words and asking Letterman to smell her underwear. That same year she began dating rap artist Tupac Shakur, who she wanted to have a child with. The two would continue to date throught that year into 1995 during his incarceration. Later that year , she released her sixth studio album Bedtime Stories which was different from her outrageous moves from "Erotica". It produced four singles— "Secret" (no. 3 on Hot 100), "Take a Bow" - which became the biggest hit of Madonna's career on the Billboard Hot 100, "Bedtime Story" and "Human Nature".
In November 1995, Madonna released Something to Remember, a collection of her ballads which featured her cover of the Marvin Gaye song "I Want You" and the top ten song "You'll See". In 1996, Madonna’s most critically successful film, Evita, was released. She portrayed the main part of Eva Perón, a role first played by Elaine Paige in the West End. The soundtrack album contained three of her singles, of which "You Must Love Me" won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song From a Motion Picture. Madonna also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.
In 2000, Madonna starred in 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 the 1970s Don McLean single. Madonna's eighth studio album, Music, was released in 2000 and debuted at #1 on the U.S. album charts. It produced three successful singles in the U.S.; "Music", "Don't Tell Me" and "What It Feels Like for a Girl". The latter having a video which depicts murders by car, was banned by MTV and VH1.
In 2001, Madonna began her first world tour since 1993, the Drowned World Tour, visiting cities in North America and Europe. The tour was a success as one of the highest grossing of the year. It grossed $75 million from 47 sold-out shows. She also released her second greatest hits collection, GHV2 to coincide with the home video release of the tour.
In 2002, Madonna starred in the film Swept Away directed by her husband Guy Ritchie. The film was a commercial and critical failure and released straight-to-video in the UK. Later that year, she released the title song "Die Another Day" to the 20th James Bond film, in which she had a cameo role. It reached number eight in the U.S. Hot 100 and was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Raspberry for Worst Song. In 2002, Madonna starred in a play by David Williamson titled Up for Grabs.
In April 2003, Madonna released the album American Life, themed on American society. It received mixed reviews. The song peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100. Having sold 4 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 MTV Video Music Awards. Madonna kissed Spears and Aguilera during the performance, resulting in tabloid press frenzy. That fall, Madonna provided guest vocals on Spears's single "Me Against the Music". During the Christmas season of 2003, Madonna released Remixed & Revisited, a remix EP that included rock versions of songs from American Life, and "Your Honesty", a previously unreleased track from the Bedtime Stories recording sessions.
In March 2004 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, WMG filed a countersuit, alleging that Maverick had lost tens of millions of dollars on its own. On June 14, 2004, the dispute was resolved when Maverick shares owned by Madonna and Ronnie Dashev were purchased. The company was now a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Music. but Madonna is still signed to Warner under a separate recording contract. Later that year, Madonna embarked on the Re-Invention World Tour in the U.S., 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. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked her #36 on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".
In January 2005, Madonna performed a cover version of the John Lennon song "Imagine" on the televised U.S. aid concert "Tsunami Aid", which raised money for the tsunami victims in Asia. In July 2005, Madonna performed at the Live 8 benefit concert in London, run in support of the aims of the UK's Make Poverty History campaign and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty. Her performances of "Like a Prayer", "Ray of Light" and "Music" were included in the Live 8 DVD. Her tenth studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor was released that year and sold more than 8 million copies. The album received positive reviews. It produced four singles — "Hung Up" reached #1 in a record breaking 45 countries. "Sorry" became Madonna's twelfth number one in the UK, making her the female artist with the most #1 singles in the UK charts. It was also a #1 U.S. Dance hit. "Get Together", became her thirty-sixth number one dance hit in the U.S. The fourth single, "Jump", reached number nine in the UK.
In mid-2006, Madonna became the worldwide model for H&M. Included in the deal was a specially designed track suit, created by Madonna. The next year, the clothing line M by Madonna was launched internationally. Madonna's Confessions Tour began in May 2006. It had a global audience of 1.2 million people and, with reported gross sales 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 controversy. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia urged all members to boycott her concert. Prosecutors in Düsseldorf threatened to sue her and a Protestant bishop said, "the only way an aging superstar can attract attention is to offend people's religious sentiments. Vatican officials claimed her mock crucifixion was an open attack on Catholicism, to which 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 2006, PETA criticized Madonna for wearing a chinchilla fur coat in a London restaurant.
Madonna opposes American President George W. Bush. In her Confessions Tour performance of the song "I Love New York", she replaced the original lyrics "just go to Texas, isn't that where they golf?" with "just go to Texas and suck George Bush's dick! She endorsed Wesley Clark's Democratic nomination for the 2004 presidential election in a letter to her fans saying, "the future I wish for my children is at risk." In late 2006, she expressed her support for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 election. Most recently, she stated that she would be behind Al Gore if he decided to run for the 2008 elections after seeing his documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. She also urged her fans to see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.
In October 2007, Madonna announced her departure from Warner Bros. Records and a new $120 million, ten year contract with Live Nation. She will be the founding recording artist for the new music division, Live Nation Artists. The Warner Bros. deal will be completed with a compilation album due at the end of 2008 or early 2009.
In November 2007, the New York Post claimed animal enthusiasts were "horrified" by Madonna dyeing her sheep for a photograph, and "vilified" for organising pheasant-hunting parties at her estate. In December 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced Madonna as one of the five inductees of 2008. The ceremony took place on March 10, 2008. Madonna also directed her first film, Filth and Wisdom and produced and wrote I Am Because We Are, a documentary on the problems faced by Malawians directed by her former gardener Nathan Rissman. Filth and Wisdom received mixed reviews from the British press. The Times Online said she has "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. The Guardian praised I Am Because We Are, saying that she "came, saw and conquered the world's biggest film festival."
In 2008, Madonna promoted her eleventh studio album, Hard Candy, with the Hard Candy Promo Tour. It was lauded by Rolling Stone as an "impressive taste of her upcoming tour. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, where Madonna achieved ten number one albums. Hard Candy sold 100,000 copies in the United States upon its first day of release. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with over 280,000 copies sold. 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 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the U.S. Radio & Records Pop Chart. An international tour to promote the album, the Sticky & Sweet Tour, began on August 23, 2008.
Madonna's Catholic background and relationship with her parents were reflected in the album Like a Prayer. It is also an evocation of the impact religion had on her career. Her video for the title track contains Catholic symbolism, such as the stigmata. During The Virgin Tour, she wore a rosary and prayed with it in the music video for "La Isla Bonita".
Madonna has also referred to her Italian heritage in her work. The video for "Like a Virgin", features Venetian settings. The "Open Your Heart" video sees her boss scolding her in Italian. In Ciao, Italia! - Live from Italy, the video release of her Who's That Girl Tour, she dedicates the song "Papa Don't Preach" to the Pope ("Papa" is the Italian word for "Pope".)
In 1985, Madonna commented that the first song to ever make a strong impression on her was "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra and that it summed up her "take-charge attitude." As a young woman, she attempted to broaden her taste in literature, art, and music, and during this time became interested in classical music. She noted that her favorite style was baroque, and loved Mozart and Chopin because she liked their "feminine quality". In 1999, Madonna identified musical influences that impacted her such as Karen Carpenter, The Supremes and Led Zeppelin, and dancers like Martha Graham and Rudolf Nureyev. In an interview with The Observer, Madonna professed her inspirations—Detroit natives The Raconteurs and The White Stripes, as well as New York band The Jett Set.
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 "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and she later studied the screwball comedies of the 1930s, particularly those of Lombard, in preparation for her film Who's That Girl. The video for "Express Yourself" (1989) was inspired by Fritz Lang's silent film Metropolis. The video for "Vogue" recreated the style of Hollywood glamour photographers, in particular Horst P. Horst, and imitated the poses of Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard and Rita Hayworth, while the lyrics referenced many of the stars who had inspired her. Among them was Bette Davis, described by Madonna as an idol, along with Louise Brooks and Dita Parlo.
Madonna has been influenced by the art world, most notably by Frida Kahlo. Her 1995 music video to "Bedtime Story" featured images inspired by the paintings of Kahlo and Remedios Varo. Her 2003 video to "Hollywood" was a homage to the work of photographer Guy Bourdin which led to a lawsuit by Bourdin's son due to the use of his father's work without permission.
In late 1990, Madonna dated Tony Ward, a bisexual model and porn star who starred in her music videos for "Cherish" (1989) and "Justify My Love" (1990). Their relationship ended by early 1991, and Madonna began an eight-month relationship with rapper Vanilla Ice, who appeared in her Sex book. Madonna dated basketball player Dennis Rodman in the mid 1990s. In September 1994, in Central Park, Madonna met fitness trainer Carlos Leon who became her trainer and lover. On October 14, 1996, Madonna gave birth to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon in Los Angeles, California. Madonna dated Andy Bird, who sold his story about their eighteen-month relationship in late 2000. Madonna became involved 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 in Los Angeles. On December 22, 2000, Madonna and Ritchie were married in Scotland. As of 2008, Madonna resides in Marylebone, London and her country estate in Tollard Royal, Wiltshire, with Ritchie, her two biological children and adopted son.
Madonna refuted the allegations on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2006. She said that there are no written adoption laws in Malawi that regulate foreign adoption and that Banda had been suffering from pneumonia after surviving malaria and tuberculosis when she met him. Madonna blamed the media for "doing a great disservice to all the orphans of Africa" by discouraging the adoption. Singer and humanitarian activist, Bono, defended her by saying, "Madonna should be applauded for helping to take a child out of the worst poverty imaginable.
Some said that Banda's biological father Yohane did not understand what adoption meant and had assumed that the arrangement was fostering. He said, "These so-called human rights activists are harassing me every day, threatening me that I am not aware of what I am doing." He also said, "They want me to support their court case, a thing I cannot do for I know what I agreed with Madonna and her husband. Madonna responded that Banda had rejected her offer of financial support and preferred adoption. The adoption was finalized on May 28, 2008 Yohane Banda expressed satisfaction but said, "I might challenge some aspects of the order.
Many critics have described her lyrics as simple, and even dull. Her Confessions Tour is the highest grossing concert tour by a female artist. In the United Kingdom, she is the most successful female in the singles chart history and has more number one singles than any other female solo artist. In 2008, she surpassed Elvis Presley as the artist with most top ten hits in the history of Billboard Hot 100. In 2007, Madonna was listed by VH1 as eighth in the Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. On March 10, 2008, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
There has been speculation about her relationships with other women, including Naomi Campbell and Sandra Bernhard. The book Sex depicts her in sexual situations with men and women, and she has been credited with educating people about bisexuality. Madonna has been criticized by the Roman Catholic Church, particularly during her "Who's That Girl", "Blond Ambition" and "Confessions" tours. New York Times journalist and author Gay Talese relates this to her Italian ancestry – people from Pacentro have been in a long tradition of rebellion against Catholics. Madonna had her son Rocco baptized in a Presbyterian Church.
Madonna has generated academic interest. Interdisciplinary research and publications address her relationship to and place within commodity culture, the mass-media spectacles she creates, and the iconography of minority groups such as gay and lesbian people, which she uses in videos such as those for "Vogue", "Like a Prayer", "La Isla Bonita" and "Borderline". These publications were so extensive that in the 1990s, academics would refer to "Madonna Studies" as a sub-field of media studies.
In 2006 a new water bear species (Latin: Tardigrada), Echiniscus madonnae, was named after Madonna. The paper with the description of E. madonnae was published in the international journal of animal taxonomy Zootaxa in March 2006 (Vol. 1154, pages: 1–36). The authors' justification for the name of the new species was: "We take great pleasure in dedicating this species to one of the most significant artists of our times, Madonna Louise Veronica Ritchie." The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) number of the species is 711164.
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