Madonna - Ray Of Light
Ray Of Light. courtesy Warner Bros.


August 16, 1958 - Bay City, Michigan

Quote From Madonna:

"Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another."

Madonna Trivia Fact:

Madonna was a dance major at the University of Michigan before dropping out of college.

From Michigan To New York:

Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born August 16, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan. In 1977 Madonna dropped out of college at the University of Michigan to move to New York to study with Alvin Ailey for a career as a dancer.

By 1979 she had signed on to dance and sing behind Disco performer Patrick Hernandez who had a major hit with "Born To Be Alive." Upon returning to New York, she helped form the Breakfast Club pop/dance group.

Pop and Dance Success:

Madonna left the Breakfast Club in 1980 to work with drummer Steven Bray. Madonna and Bray soon began shopping their demos to record labels. Sire Records signed Madonna in late 1982. Her first dance single "Everybody" hit #3 on the dance chart. After two more dance hits, her third single, "Holiday," written and produced by Jellybean Benitez, became a pop as well as dance hit.


The years 1985 and 1986 were years of phenomenal success for Madonna on a number of fronts. Her album Like a Virgin, released at the end of 1984, included the title single, one of the biggest hits of 1985. During 1985 she appeared in her first movie Desperately Seeking Susan, embarked on her first concert tour in support of the Beastie Boys, appeared in the Live Aid concerts to raise money to relieve famine in Africa, and, on her birthday, August 16th, married actor Sean Penn.


Madonna's next album True Blue continued the string of major pop hits including "Open Your Heart," "Live To Tell," and "La Isla Bonita." Her film career, which had begun in promising fashion, suffered a major setback when her first starring role in Who's That Girl flopped miserably. A remix album You Can Dance appeared in late 1987 but failed to sell well.

Without the release of new albums in 1988, some began to see Madonna as a has-been.

'Like a Prayer':

In March, 1989 Madonna released Like a Prayer, one of the most artistically accomplished albums of her career. Released in a hail of controversy over the video for the title song running afoul of both the Roman Catholic Church and Pepsi, the album topped the charts and included "Like a Prayer," and "Express Yourself," two of the biggest hits of Madonna's career. The success was somewhat tarnished by the end of Madonna's marriage to Sean Penn in September 1989.

The 1990's:

Madonna entered the new decade with mixed reviews for her role in the movie Dick Tracy with Warren Beatty. The decade became one of ongoing controversy sparked by Madonna's sense of artistic independence. From her book Sex to notorious tv appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman, Madonna rocked traditional notions of appropriate behavior for a pop star. Among major successes through the period were the songs "Justify My Love" and "Take a Bow," as well as her film role in Evita.

'Ray Of Light' and a New Millenium:

In 1998 Madonna released the album Ray Of Light to the best critical reviews since Like a Prayer. The album embraced the sound of techno in dance music and spawned massive pop hits such as the title track and "Frozen." Madonna eventually won 3 Grammy Awards for the album.

Madonna entered the new millenium with Music, another successful album featuring collaborations with French dance music producer Mirwais. The title song and "Don't Tell Me" were major hit singles. Late in the year Madonna married British film director Guy Ritchie.

In 2002 Madonna appeared in the film Swept Away, directed by her husband, and continued the long string of negative reviews for her acting skills. It was followed by 2003's American Music album and rare negative reviews for her music. The album failed to produce major hit singles in the U.S., but Madonna returned to the spotlight late in the year with an uproar over her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in which she portrayed a "groom" kissing her "brides" Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.

With the resilience that has become a trademark of her career, Madonna embarked on the Re-Invention tour in 2004 and had the highest grossing concert tour of the year.

She remained in the spotlight with her devotion to Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, and success as an author of children's books. While working on a new album, Confessions On a Dancefloor, for late 2005, Madonna appeared at the Live 8 concerts to help end poverty, and her performances were cited as highlights of the massive worldwide event.

Madonna's latest album Hard Candy was kicked off with the single "4 Minutes," a collaboration with Justin Timberlake. With the sigining of a contract with Live Nation, Hard Candy became Madonna's final studio album for Warner Bros. after a 25 year association with the label. The album debuted at #1 in 37 different countries. The final album for Warner Bros. is Celebration, a two disc greatest hits collection to be released in fall 2009. The single "Celebration" preceded the album.