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> Billboard: Greatest Pop Star Every Year, Madonna crowned twice!
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Liam.k.
post Apr 3 2020, 12:49 PM
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1985 | POPSTAR OF THE YEAR

By the end of 1984, Madonna had already established herself as one of the MTV era’s brightest stars, with boundary-pushing videos, underground-nodding dance-pop hits, and a writhing Video Music Awards performance that turned the then-fledgling telecast into a must-watch event. But the year after Like a Virgin’s release was owned by Madonna from back to front -- the last four weeks of the title track’s run at No. 1 on the Hot 100 opened 1985, and she followed it up with smash singles like “Material Girl” and “Angel,” her feature-film debut and first silver-screen starring role, and yet more unavoidable music videos.

“Like a Virgin” hit No. 1 in December 1984 and stayed there until the end of January -- just as her Marilyn Monroe-saluting, Keith Carradine-starring video for “Material Girl” was being added to MTV’s rotation. The bouncy, sardonic track would go on to reach No. 2 and become one of Madonna’s career-defining songs, its video establishing Madonna’s blonde-ambition ideal while also showing off her more down-to-earth side. It also helped Like a Virgin reach the top of the Billboard 200 for three weeks in February.

Madonna racked up another career milestone that month, when the May-December drama Vision Quest was released. In the movie, Madonna played a singer at a Spokane bar, performing “Crazy For You,” a lush, Jellybean Benitez-produced ballad that showed off Madonna’s lower range. Madonna’s star power was so strong that in some countries the movie’s title was changed to Crazy For You -- although in America, she had to settle for the soundtrack single being No. 1 on the Hot 100 for a single week in May.

A month later, Madonna appeared in her first starring role in a movie, getting top billing alongside Rosanna Arquette in the hit mistaken-identity comedy Desperately Seeking Susan. The Susan Seidelman-directed ode to New York City’s bohemian enclaves featured the pop star’s “Into the Groove” in the background of a smoky club scene, although it wasn’t on the official soundtrack. At the time of Susan’s release, Madonna had two other videos still in regular rotation on MTV, and because Madonna’s label was worried about over-saturating the market, “Groove” was only released as the B-side to the glittery “Angel,” rendering it ineligible for the Hot 100. But the punchy, commanding song got an accompanying, movie-promoting visual, and became both a channel staple and a signature Madonna hit anyway -- while its “you can dance... for inspiration” koan would later inspire the title for her 1987 remix LP You Can Dance.

In April 1985, Madonna embarked on her first live trek: The Virgin Tour brought Madonna’s vision of pop into arenas around North America, kicking off in Seattle and wrapping up with five shows in New York City -- three at Radio City Music Hall and two at Madison Square Garden. The video for “Dress You Up,” the final single (and fourth straight top 5 hit) from Like a Virgin, used footage of the song’s live performance from the Cobo Center in Detroit, while the home video featuring the show in its entirety, Madonna Live: The Virgin Tour, came out in November.

Even while selling out arenas, Madonna remained a force in the clubs, with “Material Girl” and the double-A-sided “Into the Groove”/”Angel” single hitting No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart after “Like a Virgin” began the year at its summit. She was also a stealth (yet utterly unmistakable) presence on her frequent collaborator Jellybean Benitez’s blippy, freestyle-influenced “Sidewalk Talk,” a No. 1 dance hit and yet another crossover top 40 entry on the Hot 100 by year’s end -- a final testament to Madonna’s first year of true omnipresence.




QUOTE
1989 | POPSTAR OF THE YEAR

With guitars starting to give ground and hip-hop not yet fully crossed over to a wider audience, the 1980s were the biggest decade for dance-based pop in the American mainstream. And as it came to a close, the era's biggest female pop star -- and arguably the biggest female pop star of all time -- reached a new apex in terms of artistry and impact.

The year 1989 didn't start out on a high note for Madonna: After three years of marriage to Sean Penn (and a nullified 1987 divorce filing), she again filed for divorce from the actor in early January citing irreconcilable differences. But no matter: Soon thereafter, Madonna was back to topping charts, rankling pearl-clutchers and raking in the dough. She signed a $5 million deal with Pepsi in January, culminating in a two-minute ad that would eventually get pulled due to a religious backlash to her latest music video. Released March 3, the day after the Pepsi ad first aired, the controversial clip featured cross-burning, stigmata and an erotic encounter with a saint. Regardless, Madge still pocketed the soda money, and the video became an MTV staple.

And oh, what was the name of that song again? "Like a Prayer"? Yes, this is the year where Madonna went from dance-pop purveyor with an iron-grip on American teens to a capital-A Artist, someone who could deliver an album every bit as geared toward the charts as to critics' tastes. Universally acclaimed, the song’s parent album (also called Like a Prayer) topped the Billboard 200 for six consecutive weeks and was eventually certified 4x platinum by the RIAA.

The title track brilliantly mixed the secular and the sacred both lyrically ("I'm down on my knees" works both ways) and musically (a transcendent gospel choir takes the hard-hitting pop-rock anthem into the heavens), and the result was a sing-along for the ages that even non-fans are likely to know damn near every word to. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, while follow-up singles "Cherish" and "Express Yourself" both reached No. 2 (as the David Fincher-directed video for the latter, inspired by Fritz Lang's Metropolis, became one of the most instantly iconic of the era). This was a release so stuffed with hits that Madonna could afford to not release a duet with Prince as a single.

Five years after her game-changing "Like a Virgin" at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna was courting controversy at the 1989 VMAs once again with a performance of the Motown-flavored "Express Yourself" that featured her simulating masturbation. That song's video would nab three VMAs and "Like a Prayer" the viewer's choice award, although inexplicably the latter lost video of the year to Neil Young's "This Note's For You" -- a decision that has not aged particularly well.

While Madonna would go on to notch bigger hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and reach more idiosyncratic artistic heights, Like a Prayer was the last proper studio album where she would enjoy such universal adoration. As the '90s set in, her detractors would get louder, but in 1989, Madonna was able to own the charts, charm the critics and – even though she released a video so controversial Pepsi decided to scrap something they paid $5 million for -- reign as the most celebrated female artist in pop.


QUOTE
1984 | ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

In 1984, Madonna climbed out of a cake and into immortality. Her performance of “Like a Virgin” at the first-ever MTV Video Music Awards that September, featuring the 26-year-old writhing on the Radio City Music Hall stage in a long, flowing wedding dress, quickly proved one of pop music’s most iconic national debuts, setting the rising dance-pop singer-songwriter on the path to global superstardom. Both “Like a Virgin” and its parent album of the same name would go on to top the Billboard charts; by the next year, Madonna’s stated ambition “to rule the world” had been fully realized.

2012 | COMEBACK OF THE YEAR

Leave it to Madonna to announce her return to pop at the year’s biggest televised event -- the Super Bowl. In February, Madonna, with the help of Cirque du Soleil, LMFAO, Cee Lo Green, and recent collaborators Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., headlined the big game’s halftime show. They debuted the Madge-Minaj-Maya collab “Give Me All Your Luvin,” while reworking hits like “Music” and “Express Yourself” and even courting controversy thanks to M.I.A.’s extended middle finger. That segued into the promotion for Madonna’s 12th album MDNA, an EDM-informed pop fantasia that hit No. 1 in April and set the stage for the set’s ensuing 88-date promotional tour.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 1986, 1990, 1998
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Liam.k.
post Apr 3 2020, 12:50 PM
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Link to the full article here: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/lis...star-every-year
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Liam.k.
post Apr 3 2020, 03:00 PM
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No doubting that 1985 and 1989 were ruled by Madonna, lovely write ups for those respective years.

The honorable mentions of 1986, 1990 and 1998 could easily have been won by Madonna too but the acts that beat her were all deserving too (Whitney, Janet, Backstreet Boys).

Nice surprise to see her named Comeback of 2012. The Superbowl was a huge performance, a shame there was no other promotion for MDNA to keep the momentum going. What a waste. sad.gif
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