Michigan native Madonna Ciccone needs no introduction. She followed her first love of dance to New York in 1977, studying with iconic choreographer Alvin Ailey. Within a few years, though, music had taken hold of her heart. As drummer then singer of the Breakfast Club, Madonna got her first taste.
She quickly moved on to form Emmy with Stephen Bray, but that didn't last, either. With Bray's supporty, Madonna made some solo demos and landed a deal with Sire Records in 1982. By the end of the year, she had her first club hit with “Everybody” with "Physical Attraction" and "Holiday" also making in-roads the next year.
Her eponymous debut came that fall and, soon enough, Madonna owned the world. “Holiday,” “Borderline,” “Lucky Star,” and more made their way to the upper reaches of the singles' chart starting a run of 17 Top 10 hits.
With her star on the rise, Madonna found a creative outlet in Hollywood working on Desperately Seeking Susan which would be released in 1984. Then it was back to work on her sophomore set. Like a Virgin dropped in late '84 and continued her world domination.
The album's title track was number one for six weeks and many seductive videos followed, along with a world tour. “Material Girl” hit number two, “Crazy for You” hit number one, and Desperately Seeking Susan was a smash. Not even nudie pics from the late '70s could derail Madonna's mojo.
In the summer of 1986, it was True Blue led by three number one singles in “Live to Tell,” "Papa Don't Preach," and "Open Your Heart." The album also topped the charts and sold more than five million copies in the U.S.
Trying her hand, once again, in the movies, Madonna appeared in Shanghai Surprise with her then-husband Sean Penn. It was a massive flop – her first such failure. The Who's That Girl? film also bombed at the box office, although the single of the same name hit number one.
Not shying away from a fight, Madonna headed to Broadway to prove her acting chops in David Mamet's Speed the Plow while also issuing the You Can Dance remix collection.
Spring 1989 meant Like a Prayer in all of its controversial glory. Along with the title track, "Express Yourself," "Cherish," and "Keep It Together" all made their way into the Top 10 as Madonna embarked on her Blonde Ambition tour in 1990, which was documented in 1991's Truth of Dare. In the middle of it all, “Vogue” hit number one.
With all those hits to her credit, it was time for The Immaculate Collection which also included two new cuts, “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me.”
Finally, Madonna enjoyed another success on the silver screen in Dick Tracy and A League of Their Own. The latter included her number one single, "This Used to Be My Playground." Needing still another creative outlet, Madonna published her own brand of soft-core porn in Sex. Its companion album, Erotica, did far better business than the book.
Two years later, Bedtime Stories took a softer tack and yielded “Take a Bow,” a number one single that stayed that way for seven weeks. Two subsequent singles, the title track and “Human Nature,” both missed the Top 40.
In 1995, Madonna set her sights on playing Evita Peron in the musical film adaptation and she didn't stop until it happened. En route, she issued another collection, Something to Remember. Next up, she wanted an Academy Award nomination. Although she did garner a Golden Globe Award for her efforts, the Oscar nod was not to be.
By the time '97 came rolling around, Madonna was ready for something new. Teaming up with William Orbit, she created that newness with 1998's electronica-tinged Ray of Light. It entered the charts at number two and sold like gangbusters. The partnership continued two years later on Music.
After all that acclaim, Madonna was due for a take down and the Swept Away film provided it. Directed by her then-husband Guy Ritchie, the movie completely stalled.
Not even her American Life album in 2003 could pick up the pace, becoming her worst-selling release ever. Back in the publishing world, Madonna penned The English Roses, her first children's book, and it did quite well, thanks.
After taking one or two on the chin, Madonna returned to the studio for Confessions on a Dance Floor in 2005. It topped the album charts and she hit the road. A DVD/CD package from her previous Re-Invention Tour, I'm Going to Tell You a Secret, followed in 2006 with a similar treatment for The Confessions Tour dropping the next year.
In 2008, Madonna found newer, younger creative accomplices in Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, and the Neptunes to make Hard Candy. Yet another tour ensued – the Sticky & Sweet Tour – and yielded yet another DVD/CD set for 2010.
Taking her leave from Warner Bros., Madonna inked a 360 deal with Live Nation that encompassed her records, tours, and merch. The first set under the new arrangement was slated for a 2012 release.