Happy Birthday, Madonna!

The Material Girl turns 55 today. Enjoy an excerpt from Madonna: Blond Ambition, by Daryl Easlea and Eddi Fiegel.

Madonna celebrated her 50th birthday on August 16, 2008, and it seemed somehow fitting that she should mark this point in her life and indeed her career with a new compilation of hits. The aptly titled Celebration was as self-referential as ever. The artwork featured a pastiche of Andy Warhol’s famous screen-printed images of Marilyn Monroe, with a True Blue–era photograph of Madonna, designed by New York street-pop artist Mr. Brainwash, in place of Monroe.

Unlike the previous GHV2, this collection spans and indeed celebrates Madonna’s entire career, incorporating not only her major hits of recent years, such as ‘4 Minutes,’ ‘Miles Away,’ and ‘Hung Up,’ but also older gems from the early years, from ‘Holiday’ and ‘Like A Virgin’ through to ‘Into The Groove’ and ‘Justify My Love.’ Celebration was released in 2009 in several different formats, including an 18-track standard edition and a double-disc deluxe version featuring two brand new recordings, ‘Celebration’ and ‘Revolver.’ A third new song, ‘It’s So Cool,’ was made available through iTunes.

An upbeat Euro-pop house track clearly aimed at the dance floors of Ibiza and beyond, ‘Celebration’ was one of several new songs Madonna began working on in 2009 with British superstar DJ Paul Oakenfold, who had opened several dates on the Sticky & Sweet Tour. Just as had been the case with other collaborators in the past, Oakenfold had initially sent Madonna a selection of tracks he was working on for an album of his own. Of these, Madonna picked out ‘Celebration,’ which Oakenfold had co-written with two of his colleagues, Ciaran Gribbin and Ian Green. She then added her own lyrics.

‘It’s So Cool’—co-written by Madonna with guitarist Monte Pittman and Mirwais, and co-produced by Oakenfold—is a similar exercise in Hi-NRG Euro-disco, seemingly the default sound of Madonna’s 21st century hits. She had recently confessed to having written ‘Give It 2 Me’ with the stadium in mind; ‘It’s So Cool,’ with its anthemic “We need love” chorus, was surely conceived in the same way.

‘Revolver’ sees Madonna adopting a slightly darker cloak. It features a cameo by the US rapper Lil Wayne and is pitched somewhere between the sound of Britney Spears and British electro-pop act Goldfrapp. Lyrically, meanwhile, Madonna has her tongue very firmly in her cheek as she takes on the persona of some kind of female sex-goddess incarnation of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. “My love’s a revolver / My sex is a killer,” she sings. “Do you wanna die happy?”

A DVD compilation, Celebration: The Video Collection, was released to coincide with the album. It features promo videos for many of the tracks as well as unedited and previously unseen footage of ‘Justify My Love.’ It also contained the newly completed video for ‘Celebration,’ which was released as the first single from its parent album in August 2009. Directed by longtime Madonna favorite Jonas Akerlund, the clip shows her partying and getting up close and personal with the DJ in a club—played by 22-year-old Brazilian model Jesus Luz—while a selection of dancers (including daughter Lourdes) break-dance.

Celebration reached the Top Ten across Europe, as well as in the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, while the title track became Madonna’s 40th Number One hit on the Billboard Dance Club chart. The Video Collection debuted at the top of the Billboard Top Music Videos chart and was subsequently certified platinum by the RIAA.

Madonna: Blond Ambition

In a career spanning three decades, Madonna has produced a record-breaking run of hit singles and albums, starred in films, and staged some of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. But she is more than just a pop singer and actress. She is an icon of our times, and one who has continued to reinvent both herself and the very nature of celebrity ever since she first appeared with the song “Holiday” in 1983.

Madonna: Blond Ambition is an authoritative chronicle of one of popular music’s greatest stars, including detailed commentary on every album, tour, movie, music video, and more. It profiles key collaborators and investigates the many controversies Madonna has been embroiled in over the years, from her frequent run-ins with the Catholic Church to the taboo-busting sexualization of her music and image in the ’90s. The book also includes a timeline of the key events of her career and a selection of photographs. From “Vogue” to Ray of Light, the Blonde Ambition tour to 2008’s Sticky & Sweet shows, the Sex book to The English Roses…it’s all here.



Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on August 16, 2013, in Music Fans and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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