For me, it was Lucky Star, in 1983. That video is burned into my brain. Not because I loved the song - there were many songs around that time I loved far more: Hungry Like the Wolf, Every Breath You Take, Come on Eileen; I never liked Lucky Star as much and still don’t.
At that point, no one had any idea how Madonna would evolve, how cleverly she would keep shifting her styles - musical, fashion, dance - ahead of trends. I just loved the way she blended post-punk toughness with playful girl power. Madonna projected the older girl that pre-adolescents wanted to be. And that’s why they called her fans 'wannabes' - a name that was patronising, but not inaccurate. And then suddenly there was Material Girl: full glamour had entered the picture and she had become someone to watch.
But it was with her 1990 Blond Ambition tour that Madonna catapulted herself into megastardom, shaping the music industry, taking firm hold of her own business reins and sending a clear message while she was at it. Blond Ambition - blonde without the feminine 'e', presumably to underscore the pun on 'blind ambition', but with the added advantage of rejecting the trappings of normative gender. The Blond Ambition tour, Madonna’s third, is widely acknowledged as the mother of today’s multimedia concert extravaganzas, fusing performance art, theatre, dance, fashion and video with pop songs. It broke box-office records and taboos, mixing themes of female sexuality, power, religion and gender fluidity. It prompted Forbes magazine to ask if she was 'America’s smartest businesswoman'; 23 years later, the magazine would identify her as the highest-paid celebrity in the world, earning $125m (£77.4m) in 2012-2013. She has sold more than 300m records worldwide and her singles have made her the most successful solo artist in the history of the American charts.
To read the rest of the article visit: www.theguardian.com/sarah-churchwell