The Classics Reminisced (1): Madonna

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Madonna is arguably one of the most influential pop artists ever. She was called the most relevant artist since Elvis & for good reason (she racked up more hits than any female artist in history). Her ever changing re-inventions have been a subject of legend & have inspired countless pop stars today like Britney Spears & Christina Aguilera. But aside from her image & artistic influences of course she had her musical influences as well-musical influences that had been classics remembered through generations. These radio staples have ensured Madonna as the Ultimate Icon of Pop. We’ll now go down memory lane & remember the classics that made Madonna who she is today-the Eternal “Queen of Pop”.

a) Holiday (1983) – Arguably Madonna’s first hit. The joyful & care-free theme of this song has been loved for generations & although it only peaked at No.16 in the U.S. Hot 100 & No. 6 in the U.K. it became one of her most enduring hits ever.

b) Borderline (1983) – This single had a truly New Wave sound & groove to it. Its beats are so catchy that it became Madonna’s first U.S. Top 10 Hit. It has been rumored that her voice was digitally altered in some of the lines in order for it to sound more girlie & high-pitched.

c) Like A Virgin (1984) – This is Madonna’s first U.S. No. 1 single. Its lyrical & musical simplicity was the quality that made it a huge hit. This song was supposedly turned down by record executives (it had a sensitive theme) & Madonna was rumored to be the only one who stood up for it. Looking back the success of ‘Virgin’ has vindicated this risk.

d) Material Girl (1984) – The iconic Madonna song that gave her the nickname “Material Girl”. It is probably the most sampled song by Madonna ever.

e) Crazy For You (1984) – This was Madonna’s first soundtrack release. Madonna sung this theme song with such tenderness that it disproved the notion that Madonna can only sing dance/disco anthems. She also had such an outstanding vocal performance that it earned her a Grammy Nomination.

f) Live To Tell (1986) – Madonna’s follow up to ‘Crazy’ was yet another No.1 soundtrack hit. The difference in this is that her voice became deeper & more modulated. This new & more matured voice perfectly suited the mysterious vibe of the song.

g) Papa Don’t Preach (1986) – This exposed Madonna’s effective dramatic portrayal (as seen in the track’s video). The song itself went on to become her first Trans-Atlantic No.1.

h) La Isla Bonita (1986) – Madonna perfectly captured the tropical atmosphere in this track with its light beats & well-laid guitar instrumentals.

i) Like A Prayer (1989) – This is probably Madonna’s grandest theme ever. She effectively incorporates a gospel choir in this pop anthem that attracted both critical admiration and religious indignation (especially from the Catholic Church).

j) Cherish (1989) – This is probably Madonna’s most light-hearted theme ever. It is just so whimsical & jolly that it’s very easy on the ears.

k) Vogue (1990) – Vogue is original in the sense that it incorporates a Madonna rap (glorifying past legends like Marlene Dietrich). The video itself has spawned a new dance innovation which incorporates glamorous poses. The single went on to be Madonna’s biggest seller to date (over 5.9 million copies sold).

l) Take A Bow (1993) – This single was Madonna’s 4th ballad No.1 in America. It’s theme is about a broken love relationship. Madonna sings with such anguish but still manages to sound dignified.

m) Frozen (1998) – Madonna effectively delivered this song with a deep & chilling voice. This became Madonna’s first No.1 U.K. single in 8 years.

n) Music (2000) – This was another dance-filler from the Queen of Pop. The groovy & heavy beats of Music ensured Madonna another Trans-Atlantic chart topper.

o) Die Another Day (2002) – The single pre-empted the bond-related theme of her next album American Life. The single was also nominated in the Golden Globes for best Movie Soundtrack (Single).

p) Hung Up (2005) – This was Madonna’s first disco inspired release since Everybody in 1982. This became Madonna’s 36th U.S. Top 10 single (tying her with Elvis) & 11th U.K. No.1 single (she has the most No.1 singles for a female artist in the U.K.). The single also peaked at No.1 in around 39 countries (more than any other Madonna track) & is arguably the Biggest Global Hit of 2005. The single is also currently No.1 in World Singles Sales Chart for 8 weeks now & has since sold 3 million plus copies & counting!

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