Born in: Bay City, Michigan
Career: Singer-songwriter, Musician, Record Producer and Actress
Madonna is a famous American singer, who has loads of other talents to boast of. She is also a songwriter, musician, record producer and actress. Known as the ‘Material Girl’ and ‘Queen of Pop’, she made her debut in the music industry, with the song ‘Everybody’, in 1982. Since that year, she has released numerous hit numbers and has been applauded for her music throughout the world. In fact, in 2001, she was listed as ‘World’s Most Successful Female Musician’, by Guinness World Records.
Madonna was born as ‘Madonna Louise Ciccone’ on 16th August 1958, in Bay City, Michigan. Her father is Silvio "Tony" P. Ciccone, a Chrysler/General Motors design engineer, and her mother was Madonna Louise, a French-Canadian. She was the third child of her parents and has five siblings, Martin, Anthony, Paula, Christopher and Melanie. She spent her childhood in Detroit suburbs of Pontiac and Avon Township. Tragedy struck her at an early age, when she lost her mother in 1963.
Her father married Joan Gustafson and had two more kids - Jennifer and Mario. Madonna attended St. Frederick's Elementary School, St. Andrew's Elementary School, West Middle School and Rochester Adams High School. After graduating as a straight-A student, she received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. She left University of Michigan at the end of her sophomore yearand moved to New York.
In New York, Madonna initially performed as a dancer for ‘Patrick Hernandez’, on his 1979 world tour. She formed her first rock band ‘The Breakfast Club’, with musician Dan Gilroy, the same year. In 1980, she left it and formed the band ‘Emmy’, with Stephen Bray. Impressed by her demo recordings, Mark Kamins (DJ and record producer) brought her to the attention of Seymour Stein, the founder of Sire Records. She signed a singles deal with Sire Records in 1982 and since then, has never looked back.
Madonna made her debut in the music industry with ‘Everybody’, which became an instant hit. The next year, she released her first album, ‘Madonna’, which went on to become #8 on the U.S. albums chart. Apart from being applauded as a singer, Madonna also became a fashion icon for females. Her second album ‘Like a Virgin’, released in 1984, became #1 album on the U.S. albums chart. The following year, she made her movie debut in ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ and also married Sean Penn.
Her dance song ‘Into the Groove’, from the same movie, became an international hit and was her first number one in the UK. It was also the year for her first concert tour ‘The Virgin Tour’, in US, which she did with The Beastie Boys. Her production debut was with the album ‘True Blue’, in 1986. The next year, Madonna embarked on the ‘Who's That Girl World Tour’, which, at that time, became the highest-grossing tour in music history. In 1989, she released her new song, ‘Like a Prayer’, in a Pepsi commercial.
The commercial created a controversy and was revoked by Pepsi. Madonna toured Japan, North America, and Europe in 1990, on her ‘Blond Ambition World Tour’. The same year, she released her first greatest hits compilation album, ‘The Immaculate Collection’. In 1991, she starred in her first documentary film, ‘Truth or Dare’. In 1999, she won three Grammy Awards - Best Pop Album, Best Dance Recording and Best Short Form Music Video. The same year, Madonna embarked on the ‘Drowned World Tour’.
Her title song for ‘Die Another Day’ (2002) won her nominations for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and a Golden Raspberry for Worst Song. The album ‘America Life, released in 2003, became the lowest selling album of her career. The same year, her mouth-to-mouth kiss with Britney Spears, at MTV Video Music Awards, created a lot of controversy. In 2004, Madonna embarked on ‘The Re-Invention Tour’, in US, Canada and Europe. Her 10th studio album, ‘Confessions on a Dance Floor’ (2005), won her a Grammy.
In May 2006, Madonna embarked on ‘Confessions Tour’, which created a lot of controversy over her use of religious symbols. Her last tour was the ‘London Concert of Live Earth’, held at Wembley Stadium in July 2007. In October 2007, she announced her departure from record company Warner Bros and a 10 year contract with pop concert promoters ‘Live Nation’. Madonna debuted as a director with ‘Filth and Wisdom’, released in February 2008, at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Around late 1970s and early 1980s, Madonna dated Dan Gilroy, Stephen Bray, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Kamins and Jellybean Benitez. She started dating actor Sean Penn in 1985 and married him the same year. The couple separated three years later and in 1989, she started a relationship with Warren Beatty. In the coming years, she dated a number of guys. In 1996, Madonna gave birth to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon (Carlos Leon’s son). In 2000, she gave birth to Rocco John Ritchie, son of Guy Ritchie and married Ritchie the same year. In 2006, she adopted David Banda Mwale from Malawi.
As per RIAA, Madonna is the 2nd most successful top selling female artist in the US. Along with that, the femme fatale is also 15th biggest selling artist (overall) in US and the most successful female, in the album and singles chart history, in UK. RIAA named her the ‘Best Selling Female Rock Artist of the Twentieth Century’. She is also the most successful singles artist on the United World Chart. In 2007, she was the top earning female singer in the world, as per Guinness World Records and Forbes.
Three of her albums have been listed by Rolling Stone magazine amongst the ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’. The magazine has also listed her single ‘Like a Virgin’ as one of the ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’. As per Billboard, her 2006 ‘Confessions Tour’ holds the record for the highest grossing concert tour by a female artist. In March, 2008, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The same year, Madonna beat even Elvis Presley as the artist with most top ten hits in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
1958 - Born in Bay City, Michigan
1963 - Loses her mother to breast cancer
1964 - Father marries Joan Gustafson
1976 - Graduates from Rochester Adams High School, as a straight ‘A’ student, Wins dance scholarship from the University of Michigan
1978 - Drops out of the University of Michigan, Becomes a nude model
1979 - Plays drums and does vocals for ‘The Breakfast Club’
1980 - Leaves ‘The Breakfast Club’, Joins ‘Emmy’
1982 - Gets signed by ‘Sire Records’, Has a hit in ‘Everybody’
1983 - Debut album ‘Madonna’ releases
1984 - Releases ‘Like a Virgin’, Appears on the cover of Rolling Stone
1985 - Movie debut in ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, Marries Sean Penn, Her 1978 nudes released in ‘Playboy’ and ‘Penthouse’
1986 - Releases ‘True Blue’
1987 - Rumors of her having an affair with John F. Kennedy, Jr.
1989 - Releases ‘Like a Prayer’, Files for divorce from Sean Penn
1990 - Stars in ‘Dick Tracy’, Releases ‘The Immaculate Collection’
1991 - Releases concert tour documentary ‘Truth Or Dare’
1992 - Stars in ‘A League of Their Own’, Publishes the aluminum-jacketed book Sex, Releases ‘Erotica’, Launches her own entertainment company ‘Maverick’
1993 - Stars in ‘Body of Evidence’ and 'Dangerous Game', Does ‘The Girlie Show World Tour’
1994 - Dates ‘Dennis Rodman’, Releases ‘Bedtime Stories’
1996 - Gives birth to first child, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon (from Carlos Leon), Stars in ‘Evita’
1997 - Becomes a member of Kabbalah
1998 - Releases ‘Ray of Light’
2000 - Releases the album ‘Music’, Gives birth to ‘Rocco John Ritchie (from Guy Ritchie), Marries Ritchie at Skibo Castle (Scotland)
2001 - Guinness World Records lists Madonna as ‘World’s Most Successful Female Musician’
2002 - Stars in ‘Swept Away’
2003 - Releases ‘American Life’, Publishes children's book ‘The English Roses’
2004 - JW Lees, a Manchester brewery, names a beer after her called ‘Material Girl Ale’, Renews vows with Guy Ritchie
2005 - Publishes second children's book ‘Lotsa de Casha’, Opens ‘Hotel Kabbalah’ in London
2006 - Becomes the worldwide face of H&M, Begins ‘Confessions Tour’
2007 - Launches clothing line ‘M by Madonna’, Directs first film ‘Filth & Wisdom’
2008 - Gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame