Can you believe that Madonna is over 50 years old? She should be an old lady right now, not dancing around stages around the world wearing leotards and looking hotter than ever. It seems to be yesterday when this fresh young singer with a girlish voice first appeared in the early eighties, rocking weird new looks and shooting videos like no other female pop star of the time ever has done.
Most people believe that Madonna is a stage name, fabricated to appeal to some urge a team of marketing experts worked hard to identify. That’s far from the truth – Madonna is actually her birth name – she was born to and Italian-Catholic father and a French mother as Madonna Ciccone in 1958. Her mother’s name was also Madonna, so everyone called the Madonna we know “Little Nonni”, to distinguish the two.
Unfortunately, “Big Nonni”, Madonna’s mother died when she was thirty, and her now famous daughter just five, and the pop star admitted later that her mother’s death affected her more deeply than anyone could ever tell, and that it was the defining moment that helped shape her into the person she is today. She said that her mother’s passing left her feeling weak, unprotected and abandoned, and that she felt the need to be strong for her little brothers and sisters. She also said that this is the reason she was always so driven and would stop at nothing in order to become successful.
That very drive has made Madonna the ultimate female pop star. She is the second best selling female pop singer of all time, with over 300 million sold records worldwide, and over 60 million in the United States alone. The only female artist who sold more albums than her is Barbara Streisand. Her fame was at it’s peak in the late eighties and early nineties, when she was so famous and popular that no other star could come close to those levels.
Madonna has stated that her biggest overall influence, especially when it comes to image, style and looks was Marylin Monroe. This is very easy to see from the video for the song “Material Girl”, where Madonna’s look is very reminiscent of the iconic Marylin look from Hollywood’s golden era. Another similarity between the two stars is the fact that they both lost their mothers at a young age. And like Marylin Monroe, Madonna has stirred controversy wherever she went. She is still infamous in Puerto Rico for rubbing the nation’s flag between her legs, and many of her videos, public appearances and movies had a lot of provocative themes and imagery. However, the controversy was ultimately in her favor, and she even attempted to cause it herself on more than one occasion. Despite the efforts from traditionalists and moralists, Madonna has came on top of those situations, and they ultimately made her sell more records every time.
Madonna has toned down her image in the last ten or so years, but she is as far from being retired as possible, and she is still recording movies and songs around the clock.