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Madonna by Mary Gabriel review – the definitive life of a pop colossus

When Madonna Louise Ciccone arrived in New York from Michigan aged 19 in 1978, she had a small suitcase, a winter coat and $35 in her pocket. In an interview with the broadcaster Howard Stern years later, she would admit that she was frightened: “The massive scale of New York took my breath away … I was poised for survival … But I was also scared shitless and freaked out by the smell of piss and vomit.”

In the ensuing years, Madonna would experience grinding poverty, living in a succession of cockroach-infested apartments where addicts populated the hallways, and often going without food. Yet Whitley Setrakian, Madonna’s roommate at the University of Michigan, where both had studied dance, says: “I’ve never seen her so happy and so sure.” She recalls Madonna telling her: “Every day I’m here in this city I can’t stop thinking about all the days I haven’t been here. I feel like I’m running a race and everyone’s had a head start.”

Full review by The Guardian HERE

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Inside Madonna’s Legendary Performance at the First VMAs

In this excerpt from her new book, Madonna: A Rebel Life, author Mary Gabriel looks back on the icon’s appearance at the first MTV Video Music Awards, which one observer called “the award-show equivalent of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address — the ideal against which all successors would be measured.”

ONE WRITER COMPARED Madonna’s performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in September of 1984 to iconic music moments like Elvis Presley causing jaws to drop in living rooms across America with his “pelvic thrusts” on The Milton Berle Show in 1956, and the Beatles’ few minutes on The Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964, which created the template for the ensuing 20 years of pop-rock music. Another observer called it “the award-show equivalent of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address — the ideal against which all successors would be measured.” It was, in other words, unforgettable.

Full article at RollingStone

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True Blue “The Silver Collection” Amazon Exclusive

Amazon Exclusive Silver Vinyl! In 1986, Madonna co-wrote and co-produced True Blue, which topped the album charts in 28 countries, including the U.S. A critical and commercial success, the album was not only the best-selling album of 1986, but also the best-selling album of the 1980s by a female artist. It has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. All five of its singles reached the Billboard Top Five, including three #1’s – “Live To Tell,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” and “Open Your Heart.” Presented on crystal clear vinyl.


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Madonna Biographer Mary Gabriel and Mel Ottenberg Go Deep on the Queen of Pop

Madge disciple Mel Ottenberg calls up Mary Gabriel, esteemed biographer and the author of Madonna: A Rebel Life, a new 800-page tome on the queen of pop, to talk album art, tabloid drama, and the revolutionary power of Sex.


MARY GABRIEL: Hi, Mel. How are you?

MEL OTTENBERG: I’m great and psyched to talk to you. So Mary, why Madonna?

GABRIEL: Well, my last book was about five women artists. When I left that story, I was excited about how women artists change society, as all art does. So I wanted to continue writing about them, but I thought if I wrote about visual artists again, I’d just repeat myself. I wasn’t a Madonna fan, I was a journalist. I knew about her, of course, it’s impossible not to have known about her. And people I worked with, women I really respected who worked on battlefields as foreign correspondents, liked Madonna and went to her concerts, so I took note. Also, the artists I wrote about were active during the cusp of the social, sexual, and cultural revolution that lasted from the ’60s until the early 2000s, when it started to turn sour. And Madonna’s work and life embodies that period.

Read full article at INTERVIEW

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