sheet music by Madonna
Article added on October 11, 2000
Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in Bay
City, Michigan, in 1958. She was raised in an Italian-American Catholic
family. Her mother died early. Her father was a car welder who had to raise
six children. As a teenager, Madonna learned to play the piano and took ballet
lessons. At Rochester Adams High School
she played the leading role in several theatre plays. After graduating, she
went to the University of Michigan for one year to learn modern and jazz dance.
Later, she became a member of a dance group led by John Flynn. In 1977, she
went to New York, where she was accepted at the Alvin
Ailey dance studio. There, she worked with choreographer Pearl Lang. She made
a living as a model and doughnut-seller.
In 1979, Madonna became part of Patrick Hernandez'
disco revue. She stayed there for half a year after which her mentor Hernandez
sent her to a singing teacher in Paris where her first (unreleased) demo tapes
Madonna learned to play the guitar, keyboards and drums. She sometimes played
drums for Danny and Eddy Gilroy at the Breakfast Club. They introduced
her into the New York music scene. She started composing, wrote lyrics and
sang in the rock band Emmy.
In 1980, Madonna got a contract with Adam Atler's Gotham
Productions. She worked as a background singer for Otto von
Wernherr and Steve Brentzel. She also had jobs as a nude model and in a few
films: Cosmic Climb, We Are The Gods and Wild Dancing.
In 1982, she left the management of Gotham Productions. The disc jockey Mark Kamins
sent her demo cassette Everybody to Sire
Records. Subsequently, the label's president, Seymour Stein, took her under
contract. In December 1982, Everybody was unsuccessfully released in
Great Britain. But Madonna's songs Burning Up and Physical
Attraction became hits on the club scene level.
In June 1983, Madonna presented the song Holiday,
produced by John "Jellybean" Benitez, on a promotional tour through
England. The mix of pop and new wave was a success. Sire Records teamed up
with the promotional apparatus of Warner Bros. and, by the end of 1983,
Madonna made it into the charts. Her debut album Madonna, already
released in September 1982, now made it up to US #8. The singles Holiday (US #16),
Borderline (US #10) and Lucky Star (US #4) also were huge
successes. The ultimate breakthrough came in 1984 with the album Like A Virgin,
which climbed to #1 in the United States, Great Britain and Germany. Of
her first album alone, Madonna sold more than 13 million copies. Until 1994,
26 of her songs made it into the American top 10. Madonna's worldwide success
is also the fruit of a clever marketing strategy with provoking videos in
which she can show off her skills as a dancer, which are also an asset on
stage. Madonna is a versatile and extremely
adaptable artist who knows how to change her image and make people talk about
her. In May 1991, cardinal O'Connor even asked the Pope the excommunicate her
for her "blasphemous" remarks.
In 1985, Madonna had her film debut in a
leading role in Desperately Seeking
Susan. The same year, she married actor Sean Penn from whom she divorced
at the end of 1989. In 1986, the couple shot Shanghai Surprise in
China, a film produced by George Harrison. In all her film roles, Madonna was
never able to fully convince. In her career as a musician however, she was
able to create a mania unseen since Elvis and the Beatles and only matched by
the hysteria around Michael Jackson. For instance in 1986, Madonna's singles Papa Don't Preach, Open Your Heart
and La Isla
Bonita climbed to #1 in the United States, True Blue made it up
Until 1992, Madonna had made $200 million. The
same year, she founded Maverick records, together with Time Warner,
to coordinate her different marketing actions. In the autumn of 1992, her book Sex
was published with in initial edition of 750,000 copies. Her album Erotica
was the other part of that comprehensive campaign which proved to be
successful. Madonna and her management know how to manipulate the media in
order to create a fertile echo to promote her music. At the same time, her
artistic qualities as a pop diva are beyond any doubt.
With her brand new, fourteenth album, Music,
the 42 year old singer, actress and mother of two (1997 and 2000) proves
once more that she is able to adapt to new styles and reinvent herself.
Especially the tracks Music,
Impressive Instant, Runaway Lover and Amazing play with
hip hop and techno elements. Synthesizer, filter, echo and other alienation
effects are very strong. Impressive Instant and Runaway Lover
even remind me of Gigi d'Agostino. Whereas ballads like I Deserve It and What
It Feels Like For A Girl are more traditional compositions. Already on her
last album, Ray of Light (1998), she had made an important step towards
"contemporary" music styles. On Music, she goes further down
that road. The French producer, songwriter and re-mixer Mirwais Ahmadzaï
plays an important part in Madonna's umpteenth re-invention. Music is
not her best album so far, but one that surprises once more in a positive way.
It is no unified album, but, as mentioned above, Music is divided into
a techno/hip hop and a more traditional part. Ballads like Nobody's Perfect,
in which her voice is alienated, partly build a bridge between the two styles.
Madonna's attempt to connect to a younger generation is fully successful and, as
always with her, a way above average pop album.
Added on October 30, 2002:
In Billboard's Hot 100, Madonna's Die Another Day (Warner Bros.) is
With retail sales figures kicking in, it will easily be in the top-10 next
week. Die Another Day is Madonna's 44th top-40 hit, the highest amount
ever for a solo female artist. The material girl overtakes Aretha Franklin,
who has had 43 top-40 hits on the Hot 100 to date. Madonna has reached the
total of 44 top-40 hits with only 48 chart entries, an impressive ratio of
hits. The four Madonna titles to miss the top-40 are Bedtime Story (#42
in 1995), Human Nature (#46
in 1995), Love Don't Live Here Anymore (#75
in 1996) and Nothing Really Matters (#93
in 1999). Die Another Day will be Madonna's 35th top-10 hit. That will
push her past The
Beatles' 34 top-10 hits and leave her second only to Elvis
Presley, who has amassed 38 top-10 hits to date, a figure Madonna
could be able to pass this decade.
Added on May 3, 2003:
Madonna's album American Life is deliberately simple ballad album. Some
songs are a touch to simple and therefore boring. Get the CD American Life
New in November 2005: Madonna: Confessions on a Dancefloor. Album,
2005. Get it from
Added on October 30, 2002: photograph from the James Bond movie Die Another
Day. Copyright: Neal Preston/Warner Music. Get the single Die Another
Day from Amazon.com.
Get the CD Music from Amazon.com,