She bleats, she writhes, she offends, she titillates. And she sells records — 6 million in two years.
Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born to be a star. She’s known that since she was a little girl in Bay City, Mich.
“I’ve always known this was going to happen to me,” says Madonna. “It was just a matter of time. My success is something that was meant to be. I’m surprised my first album stayed on the charts so long, but everything happens when you least expect it.”
– Her album, Like a Virgin, No. 1 on this week’s Billboard chart for the third straight week, has sold more than 3 million copies. The first single, Like a Virgin, was No. 1 for six weeks; the follow-up, Material Girl, is No. 24 this week.
– Her debut LP, Madonna, sold more than 2 1/2 million copies and had three hit singles.
– She sings two songs, Crazy for You and Gambler, on the soundtrack of the film Vision Quest.
– Desperately Seeking Susan, in which she makes her movie debut as a featured actress, is scheduled to be released March 29.
– Her first tour, a two-month effort, is to begin in mid-April in Seattle.
– Her Wazoo line of clothing, with sexy, midriff-baring styles, including a lace top and skin-tight leggings, will be introduced in April.
“We noticed there were a lot of young girls who copy the way Madonna dresses,” says Dave Alan, sales manager of the company that licenses the new line.
Says her friend, jewelry designer Maripol, who has a New York boutique: “Kids come in the shop all the time looking just like her. I call them little Madonnas.”
– A compilation of four of her hits is on videocassette.
– And she just completed photos for a 1986 Madonna calendar, shot in Hawaii.
Not bad for a 24-year-old who recorded her first single in 1982.
Madonna — despite her success — is regarded with suspicion by some rock critics and fans. A Los Angeles Times critic characterized her voice as sometimes “sounding like a sheep in pain.”
There’s also her ultrasexy video image and her wardrobe, which includes a bizarre collection of necklaces with religious symbols, a belt buckle that reads “Boy Toy” and odd bits of underwear, including corsets.
Then there was the time she told an interviewer for a British magazine that she viewed the loss of her virginity as “a career move.”
“She seems like a walking sexist cliche. She seems to have this calculated slut image that puts a lot of people off,” says Kurt Loder, a writer and reviewer for Rolling Stone. “She’s not the world’s best vocalist, and I reviewed her first album as being really thin.”
“Madonna has had a short career. So that’s one reason a lot of critics put that sort of black widow spider label on her, because that’s an easy hook,” says Mark Bego, a New York-based writer whose unauthorized biography, Madonna!, will be published in April.
“She’s phenomenally talented, but there’s no question that she’s developed an ‘attitude’ lately,” Bego says. “She’s almost inaccessible. I think her record company is grooming her as a pop diva and her manager agrees with that. She agrees, too.”
Rock writer Christopher Connelly has implied that Madonna used musician friends to further her career, then cast them aside for others more important. But most old friends say they remain loyal.
“All my boyfriends turned out to be very helpful to my career, but that’s not the only reason I stayed with them,” Madonna told The Record magazine.