Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone Penn Ritchie, otherwise known as Madonna, entered my life in 1983 when the single "Everybody", off her debut album Madonna, was released. I was 7 or 8 years old at the time and music was a huge part of my young life, thanks to my father. This song quickly became my favorite and when the album was released my dad was awesome enough to buy me the tape (remember those). I would listen to the tape over and over again; memorizing every lyric as if it was gospel. The very first CD I ever owned was Like A Prayer. My dad bought it on the day of its release and when I got home there it was sitting in my room waiting for me. I still have that CD, albeit scratched to hell, but I will never get rid of it. Since that day I have purchased all of her CD's on the day of their release and do the same thing- I listen to it over and over again; memorizing every lyric as if it was gospel.
Videos were an integral part of an artist's career back in those days and she, along with Michael Jackson (yes, I am giving him props), was a pioneer in the way videos were presented. I would watch the videos and try to copy her moves. Almost every girl wanted to be like her and I was no different, I was hooked. Shortly after watching her in Desperately Seeking Susan, probably one of the best received performances of her career and one that definitely put her fashion out front and center, I went to school in my best "Susan/Madonna" outfit. For some reason this act infuriated a majority of the 6th grade girls and they wanted to pound my wannabe ass into a pulp (true story--my childhood friend Christin Pursley can attest to it). Thankfully the 6th grade girl's ire softened and my face and dignity were spared. At that time Christin was my partner in Madonna worship. We would sing her songs, dance along to the videos and one inspired day we even filmed two of our very own Madonna videos with my dad being the director and videographer. The videos were for "Material Girl" and "White Heat". Sadly those videos are lost somewhere in a pile of VHS tapes, but I can still remember them vividly, as well as my bad haircut.
When I was young there was nothing I wanted more than to go to a Madonna concert. My biological mother (or the one who shall not be named--a little Harry Potter Voldemort reference for you) always said she would buy me a ticket and she never did. I did not see Madonna live until she performed at the Hollywood Bowl for Arsenio Hall's 100th or 1000th show. I cannot remember what the event was called but I remember what she performed- "Fever" and a duet "The Lady is a Tramp" with Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I had nose bleed seats but it didn't matter because I was finally in the same vicinity as my hero. Most people know I am a frugal person but that would be last time nose bleed and Madonna concert would be uttered in the same sentence for me. The next time I would see her was for The Drowned World Tour in 2001 and I spared no expense. My eternal partner in crime, my cousin Norma, was at my side as we walked into the Staples center and I began tearing up at the site of our seats. It was probably the best concert I have ever been to. Since then I have not missed a tour and have been lucky enough to include friends and family along for the ride but my constant concert companions are always Norma, my bonus sister Heidi, and our sister in Madonna worship Shannon. I am not being biased when I say that a Madonna concert is truly a spectacle for the eyes and ears. The sets are amazing, the choreography is flawless, the costumes are fierce, and she always brings it. There is NO lip-synching-yes I am referring to all of the little pop tarts out there who think that dancing and lip-synching to their prerecorded, auto tuned songs makes them stars; Madonna is LIVE in every sense.
Madonna's movies and personal life are always ridiculed, and I admit to not always approving of her choices but after 26 years I am still in awe of her and continue to be a loyal fan. Her birthday is August 16th and I wrote this post to say happy birthday to a woman who has inadvertently been involved in some of my best memories as well as creating more than 50% of the songs on the soundtrack of my life. To all my readers--please give it up to a true artist and sing along and dance to one of her songs tomorrow.