How many artists can sell over 10 million albums with their debut and then go and double those figures with their second album just 18 months later? That’s exactly what Madonna did with Like a Virgin. The blonde popstar teamed up with Nile Rodgers for the set, which went on to sell over 21 million copies worldwide. Its title track remains an iconic pop number, while ‘Material Girl’ became the zeitgeist of a booming commercial market of the ’80s. What’s more, when you’ve got a song as amazing as ‘Into the Groove’ as a bonus track (or a B-side in some countries), you know you’re on to a classic record.
Like a Virgin was the first instance where Madonna demanded creative control. She wasn’t given it completely by her label Warner Bros, but she had enough to deliver an album that would cement herself as the future Queen of Pop. The album’s aesthetic of Marilyn Monroe-meets-Saint Mary was provocative, radical and exciting in mainstream music. Madonna performed lead single ‘Like a Virgin’ for the very first time at the very first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, and like her peers such as Michael Jackson, positioned herself and the record as pioneers in a music visual revolution that would turn her into an icon. Oh, and Madonna’s label allegedly pushed back the release of Like a Virgin because they thought it wasn’t going to work… It’s still Madonna’s only album to be certified Diamond in the US.
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