Pop Rewind: Madonna
She has already been hailed as a pop icon, and is known amongst her loyal fans as ‘the Queen of Pop’ Her appearance and performance on the opening night of her Celebration World Tour, has many starstruck journalists, practically nominating her for sainthood. Why such an over the top reaction?
At 65, many are amazed she made it this far. To be around to celebrate 40 years in the music industry is no small feat. She has ensconced herself as a force to be reckoned with since her first hit ‘Like a Virgin’ in 1984 which spent 6 weeks on top of the Billboard charts. Many of her contemporaries are already dead. Michael Jackson springs to mind. He announced his plans for a world tour at the age of 50, but never made it to opening night. Madonna admitted that she stayed clear of drugs – the demon which stole the life of Whitney Houston at the age of 48 and Elvis at the age of 42.
We get a sense that Madonna has cheated death. Just a few short weeks ago, Madonna was rushed to hospital with a serious bacterial infection, an spent a while in hospital. She acknowledged the miracle of her opening night which she had been forced to postpone. Celine Dion, also recently diagnosed with stiff person syndrome – a rare disease, has had to postpone her tour indefinitely whilst she embarks on a slow and painful recovery in the hopes she will one day be able to return to the stage.
Her contemporary, Michael Jackson, had planned a concert residency at the O2 arena between July 2009 and March 2010 for 50 nights. But he succumbed to an overdose of prescription medicine on 25 June 2009. It was an ambitious undertaking and in hindsight it may have been his financial difficulties which drove him to sign a contract for such an insanely demanding tour schedule especially since he had a doctor travelling with him on tour. This doctor was later found guilty of his manslaughter due to negligence in the administration of Barbituates and Propofol. What was the ultimate tour led to the ultimate scandal. Jackson did not go out in a blaze of glory but in a haze of scandal in a life and career which had been dogged by scandal.
She is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the artist with the highest grossing world tour in 2009. She is the female artist with the most number one albums ever. She has achieved number one albums across four consecutive decades in the 80s, 90s, 2000’s and 2010’s. The purpose of this article is not to list all her records which are numerous. Her records are not limited to music, she recorded the fastest selling children’s picture book ‘The English roses’ which sold 10, 000 copies in its first week.
She is a curious blend of unashamed raunchiness and wholesome family values. Perhaps this is the secret of her success – many varied groups of people can relate to her in some way. Her eclectic musical career is mirrored by her interesting family – a mix of birth and adopted children of which they are six in total. Unfortunately, she has been married and divorced twice. It is often the case with high achievers that their marriages or close relationships become the casualties of their mega-watt success.
On 29 June it was reported that she was discharged from hospital after succumbing to a bacterial infection which left her severely ill. Now just 7 days into her world tour, she has reported feeling unwell. The question is will she know when to slow down and call time on this illustrious musical career? Success can become addictive – after all, there is always one more crowd to dazzle and one more record to break. Her star has shone brightly and with longevity on the world’s stage, but is it about to fade or fall? When stars fade, they can leave us in shock at the loss of their beauty and luminosity. We cannot believe that one who so commanded our attention and adoration, no longer captivates and in some cases, goes to the opposite extreme of becoming an object of repugnance. After all, fame and its fans are fickle. Perhaps our adoration needs to be redirected to the One who never changes.