August 16, 1958 – Madonna Louise Ciccone
“Everybody loves you when they are about to cum.”
A talented, slightly hairy little Italian girl Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in Detroit on this day in 1958. I am fascinated by, and I appreciate, anyone who is self-invented and then manages to keep it all going for decades by constantly reinventing.
Here is Madonna By the Numbers:
She has six children. She has had two marriages.
She has dated many men and a few women, including: Kevin Sampaio, Aboubakar Soumahoro, Brahim Zaibat, Jesus Luz, Andy Bird, Carlos Leon, Ingrid Casares, Tony Ward, Jellybean Benítez, Jean Michel Basquiat, John F. Kennedy Jr., Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, Warren Beatty, Sandra Bernhard, and Vanilla Ice.
Madonna is the wealthiest woman in the music business. She has sold more than 300 million records worldwide. The Guinness World Records named her as the Bestselling Female Recording Artist of All Time. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) acknowledges her as the Bestselling Female Rock Artist of the 20th Century and the Second Top-selling Female albums artist in the United States. Madonna remains the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time.
Her Girlie Show World Tour’s concert at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro had an audience of over 120,000 fans.
Madonna has also won seven Grammy Awards with 28 nominations, and 20 MTV Video Music Awards,with 68 nominations, including the 1986 Video Vanguard Award for which she became the first female recipient. Crazy, huh?
Madonna holds the record for the most Number Ones on all combined Billboard charts, including 12 Number One songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and nine Number One albums on the Billboard 200. With 47 songs topping the Dance Songs chart, Madonna became the artist with the most Number Ones on an active Billboard chart. She has also had 38 Top Ten singles on the Hot 100, more than any other artist in history. Billboard ranks her at Number Two, only behind The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists. Billboard lists her as the Greatest Dance Club Songs Artist of All Time.
Her 14th studio album, Madame X was released at the start of the summer. The album was influenced by her expatriate life in Lisbon. Madonna co-wrote and co-produced the album with several Portuguese musicians.
The album has received great positive reviews from critics, praising its unique and experimental composition. Madame X debuted at Number One on Billboard chart, becoming her ninth Number One album in the United States. I like it a bunch, with its very hot Latin summer vibe.
The Madame X Tour is scheduled to begin on September 12, 2019. Madonna promised an intimate theater tour across North America and then Europe, starting at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, followed by a residency at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago in October, and another at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles in November. All this at 61 years old.
Madonna has worked in 26 feature films, 21 as an actor, ten short films, three plays, ten television episodes, and sixteen commercials. She has been nominated for 16 The Golden Raspberry Awards in recognition of the Worst in Film. She has won nine Golden Raspberry Awards, including five for Worst Actress and two for Worst Supporting Actress, making her the winner of the most Razzies ever.
The Ivor Novello Awards for songwriting and composing, is presented annually by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. Madonna has won two Novello Awards from five nominations.
The VH1 Fashion Awards annually honors the most fashionable musicians, designers and models. Madonna has won five awards.
She has worked in 26 feature films (21 as an actor, two as director), nine short films, three plays (one on Broadway, two on the West End), 10 television shows, and 16 commercials. She is set to direct the film, Taking Flight, about ballet dancer Michaela DePrince, and is busy adapting gay Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Andrew Sean Greer‘s fabulous novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells (2013) for film.
Here’s the story of her start in the biz:
In 1963, months before her mother died of breast cancer at 30 years old, Madonna noticed changes in her behavior and personality, although she did not understand the reason. Her mother was at a loss to explain, and often began to cry when Madonna questioned her about it. She turned to her paternal grandmother for solace. The Ciccone siblings resented the housekeepers and rebelled against anyone brought into their home ostensibly to take the place of their beloved mother.
“I was a lonely girl who was searching for something. I wasn’t rebellious in a certain way. I cared about being good at something. I didn’t shave my underarms and I didn’t wear make-up like normal girls do. But I studied and I got good grades…. I wanted to be somebody.”
In 1966, her father married the family’s housekeeper. They had two children together. Madonna started to resent him and became a bit of a rebel. Yet, she was a straight-A student and a member of the cheer-leading squad. She convinced her father to allow her to take ballet lessons and was persuaded by her teacher to pursue a career in dance. She received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan.
In 1978, she dropped out and moved to NYC. She worked at Dunkin’ Donuts while taking classes at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and was hired as a company member with Pear Lang Dance Theatre.
“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.”
Madonna was returning from a rehearsal, when two men held her at knifepoint and sexually assaulted her. Madonna:
“The episode was a taste of my weakness, it showed me that I still could not save myself in spite of all the strong-girl show. I could never forget it.”
In 1979, while performing as a backup singer and dancer for the French disco artist Patrick Hernandez, Madonna had thing with musician Dan Gilroy. Together, they formed a band, The Breakfast Club, with Madonna singing and playing guitar. In 1981 she left The Breakfast Club and, with her former boyfriend Stephen Bray as drummer, formed the band Emmy. But, Madonna wanted to be solo act. She soon signed with Sire Records.
All of the icons from Madonna’s 1990 hit song Vogue are now gone. Left for us to love in memory and on celluloid (or digitally archived, these days):
“Greta Garbo, and Monroe / Dietrich and DiMaggio / Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean / On the cover of a magazine / Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean / Picture of a beauty queen / Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers, dance on air / They had style, they had grace / Rita Hayworth gave good face / Lauren, Katharine, Lana too / Bette Davis, we love you.”
Madonna also references Lauren Bacall in her only good screen performance as Eva Peron with this Tim Rice lyric:
“I am their Savior! That’s what they called me. So Lauren Bacall me. Anything goes to make me fantastic, I have to be Rainbow High!”
My favorite Madonna song is Ray Of Light.
LGBTQ people love Madonna and she loves us back. She was with us from the start of her career. She was there as an early HIV/AIDS activist. In the frightening days in the 1980s, very few celebrities spoke out against AIDS, and it sure didn’t help that we had a president who was always silent on the subject. In 1989 Madonna and her Detroit-era dance instructor Christopher Flynn, who had been diagnosed with AIDS, sprung into action with a New York City benefit dance marathon that raised a lot of money.
At the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna provided an utterly gay moment, when one by one, drag queens did her most famous looks: her Like A Virgin wedding dress, her cabaret look from Open Your Heart, the goth Frozen gown. Finally, Madonna appeared with a big bevy of beautiful queens, and declared:
“All I have to say is it takes a real man to fill my shoes.”
The best, though, when asked by a reporter: “If you were a gay man, would you be a top or a bottom?” Madonna’s response: “I am a gay man“.
In 1989, Madonna was awarded the Artist of the Decade by a poll of MTV viewers. Michael Jackson was jealous when Madonna received that honor. He telephoned his attorney John Braca to complain that Madonna did not deserve such an honor. Jackson:
“See, it makes me look bad. I’m the artist of the decade. Did she outsell Thriller?”
In response, Branca suggested that they approach MTV with the idea of a new award they could give to Jackson. They decided to name it the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Artist of the Decade Award. Jackson commented:
“That’ll sure teach that heifer!”