Since the release of his first album in 1983, Madonna has rarely been out of the public eye – and she has never stopped delivering floor-filling pop hits.
Born in Bay City, Michigan, in 1958, Madonna – whose full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone – started dancing as a child after convincing her father to let her study ballet instead of piano. After graduating from high school in 1976, she attended the University of Michigan on a dance scholarship, but dropped out two years later and moved to New York.
Madonna continued to study dance in the Big Apple, but she also started making music, and by 1981 she had her debut single, “Everybody,” ready to go. “Above all, I wanted to make a living. I was tired of being broke,” she recalls. The New York Times in 2019, reflecting those early years. “But second, all I wanted was a song to play on the radio. That’s all I was praying for. A song.”
This dream came true and then some. As of 2023, she is the best-selling solo female artist of all time and is tied with Barbra Streisand for most multi-platinum albums by a solo female artist. “I have something new to say every time I make a record,” she said. Weekly entertainment in 2016. “I think it’s kind of obvious. I’m not one to listen to the greatest hits. You could say it’s reinventing, but a true artist continually changes and evolves because art continually changes and evolves. I mean, Picasso didn’t paint the same pictures over and over.
Keep scrolling for a look back at Madonna’s life and career over the years: