Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone; August 16, 1958) is an American recording artist, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. Madonna has been praised by critics for her diverse musical productions while at the same time serving as a lightning rod for religious controversy.
In 1982 Madonna signed a recording contract with Sire Records, a label owned by Warner Bros. Records. After the success of her first two singles "Everybody" and "Burning Up,” she signed an albums deal in 1983.
The first LP album released by her under the label was her self-titled debut album, “Madonna.” The album peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and was certified 5× platinum by the RIAA. The singles “Holiday,” “Lucky Star” and “Borderline” were all Top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.
She followed the debut album with the sophomore release titled “Like a Virgin” in 1984. The album topped the chart in several countries including the U.S. and was certified diamond by the RIAA. Five singles were released from the album, with the title track and "Material Girl" becoming worldwide hits, reaching #1 and #2 on the Hot 100 and "Into the Groove" becoming her first #1 single in the U.K.
“True Blue” was released as her third studio album in 1986. The album sold 24 million copies worldwide and was certified 7× platinum in the U.S. Five singles were released from the album, "Live to Tell,” "Papa Don't Preach,” "Open Your Heart,” which went on to top the Hot 100 chart as well as "True Blue" and "La Isla Bonita,” which reached the Top 5.
In 1987, she released two albums that reached platinum status in the U.S. The first was the “Who's That Girl soundtrack” and the second was her first remix compilation “You Can Dance.” The soundtrack contains tracks by other recording artists but is considered a "Madonna" album.
Madonna's fourth studio album, 1989’s “Like a Prayer” became her third #1 album on the Billboard 200 and was certified 4× platinum in the U.S. “Like a Prayer” found success with its singles, "Express Yourself,” "Cherish,” and "Oh Father,” which found varied success across the globe. "Express Yourself" and "Like a Prayer" are regarded as two of Madonna's signature songs, and along with "Oh Father" and "Cherish,” have garnered much acclaim over the decades and also furthered the creativity within music videos.
Madonna entered the 1990s with the release of the 1990 album “I'm Breathless,” which contained songs inspired by the 1990 film “Dick Tracy.” She also released her first greatest hits compilation, “The Immaculate Collection,” in the same year. The album has sold more than 30 million copies, becoming the best-selling compilation album by a solo artist in history. It also became the best-selling album by a female artist in the U.K. and her second diamond album in the U.S.
After ending her contract with Sire in 1991, she signed a new $60 million recording contract and business deal with Warner Bros. and Time Warner. Madonna also founded Maverick Records, which became her main record company.
The first release under Maverick was her fifth studio album, 1992’s “Erotica.” “Erotica” was certified 2× platinum in the U.S. and sold 6 million copies worldwide. “Erotica” became the first album since her debut to yield no #1 hits in either the U.S. or the U.K., with the title track reaching #3, being the highest-charting single from the album. In fact, the #36 Hot 100 peak of "Bad Girl" made it the first Madonna single to fail to reach the U.S. Top 20 after twenty-nine consecutive releases stretching back to "Holiday" in 1983 had done so. Nonetheless, the album produced six singles and was well received on the dance club circuit.
In 1994, Madonna released her sixth studio album “Bedtime Stories,” which was certified 3× platinum by the RIAA. Four singles were released from the album, with "Secret" giving her record-breaking 34th consecutive Top 10 single in the U.K. and "Take a Bow" becoming her longest run chart-topping hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Other singles released were "Bedtime Story" and "Human Nature,” both performed moderately on worldwide charts.
“Something to Remember,” a collection of Madonna ballads was released in 1995 and reached the Top 10 in many countries while selling nine million copies worldwide. Her third soundtrack album, from the musical “Evita,” was released in 1996. The double-disc endeavor was certified 5× platinum by the RIAA in the U.S. The soundtrack contained three hit singles; "You Must Love Me" which reached #18 on the Hot 100, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" which reached #8 on the Hot 100, and "Another Suitcase in Another Hall.”
Madonna's seventh studio album “Ray of Light” was released in 1998 and sold over 20 million units worldwide and was certified 4× platinum. Five singles were released from the album. The first single "Frozen" was an international success, as was the second one, "Ray of Light,” which won a number of awards for its music video.
In the beginning of the 2000s, “Music” became Madonna's fourth #1 album on the Billboard 200. It was certified 3× platinum and was her first #1 album in 11 years, since “Like a Prayer.” It also topped the album charts of several European countries. “Music” featured three singles and one promotional single. The title track reached the top of the charts in 25 countries and became Madonna's twelfth #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“American Life” became Madonna's fifth Billboard 200 #1 album. However, it did not achieve multi-platinum status and became Madonna's lowest-selling studio album. Featured singles included "Die Another Day,” "American Life" and “Hollywood.”
“Confessions on a Dance Floor,” released in 2005, was heralded as her comeback album, opening at #1 in on the Billboard 200 and in all major music markets. Four singles were released from the album. "Hung Up,” the first single, became Madonna's most successful single worldwide by topping the charts in 45 countries, thus earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was followed by "Sorry" which was another chart topping success. It became Madonna's twelfth #1 single in the U.K. "Get Together" and "Jump" were released as the third and fourth singles respectively, both becoming successful on the dance charts.
In 2007, Madonna signed a $120 million, ten-year business and recording contract with Live Nation. She will be the founding recording artist for the new music division, Live Nation Artists.
Her remaining contract with Warner Bros. ended with her eleventh studio album, 2008’s “Hard Candy,” which became her seventh #1 album on the Billboard 200, and 2009’s “Celebration,” her third greatest hits compilation.
Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the world's top-selling female recording artist of all time by the Guiness World Records. She is ranked by the RIAA as the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and second top-selling female artist in the U.S., with 64 million certified albums sold. In the U.K., she has become the most successful female artist, with 11 #1 albums, tying her with Elvis Presley as a solo act with most #1 albums. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked Madonna at #2, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of the Billboard chart. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the same year.