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Madonna Songs: 8 of the Best Tracks from the ‘Material Girl’ and Her iconic Career

The 'Like a Virgin' singer put out more hits than you think


The 80s pop sensation who released some of the most iconic hits of the decade is none other than Madonna. The singer quickly became known for her controversial pop music that often reflected the resentment she felt towards her conservative upbringing, as her parents adopted a strict observation of the Catholic faith. However, every one of these Madonna songs became massive hits.

Madonna often rebelled against the rules set for her, clearly heard in the songs “Like a Prayer” and “Like a Virgin.” These hits immediately set the singer apart from other musicians at the time. And while maintaining her status as a pop sensation, Madonna was also fearless with her fashion and challenging traditional roles.

If you grew up in the 80s or even if you listen to the most popular music of that decade, there is no chance you haven’t heard these Madonna songs. Check out some of our favorite pop from that era and the singer’s lengthy career.

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8. “Who’s That Girl” (1987): Madonna songs

One of many songs composed by Madonna for film is “Who’s That Girl,” released on the soundtrack of the same name. Additionally, Madonna stars in the movie and wanted a song to capture her character’s persona. The film, which was originally called Slammer, was renamed after the song, and released in 1987.

The track includes Spanish lyrics, due to Madonna’s fascination with Latin pop music. After she released “La Isla Bonita,” the singer tried experimenting with Spanish yet again.

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7. “Like a Prayer” (1989)

One of Madonna’s most controversial songs turned out to be yet another hit for her. The singer herself describes it as, “the song of a passionate young girl so in love with God that it is almost as though He were the male figure in her life.” Madonna shared that she felt the same way growing up and that at one point she considered becoming a nun.

Due to the fact that Catholicism was such a important part of her childhood, “Like a Prayer” and other hits had bits of religion woven into the lyrics. As for the song and video’s accompanying controversy, she noted, “Art should be controversial, and that’s all there is to it,.”

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6. “Borderline” (1984): Madonna songs

“Borderline” became Madonna’s first top 10 hit from her 1984 self-titled album. One of her less controversial songs, it was nonetheless considered racy for its time. The song is about a girl being in love with a guy who seems indifferent towards her, which is maddening. The phrase “over the borderline” refers to being driven to a breaking point.

“Borderline” remained on the charts for 30 weeks, which set the song as Madonna’s first major hit. It was nominated for two Billboard music awards, failing to win either, though it wouldn’t be long before Madonna scored a number one hit.

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5. “Crazy for You” (1985)

Beyond her her energetic pop songs, Madonna released some impressive ballads, including “Crazy for You.” The singer originally recorded the song for the film Vision Quest, a movie she had a minor part in as the singer in a club. Because of its connection to the film, Madonna’s record company, Sire Records, didn’t want her to release it as a single. Given that the film’s soundtrack was released by Geffen Records, Sire didn’t want there to be competition with her other songs.

“Crazy for You,” which charted at number one in 1985, returned to the charts in 1991 when it was used to promote her greatest hits album, The Immaculate Collection.

4. “Vogue” (1990): Madonna songs

This smash hit landed her yet another number one slot on the Hot 100 chart. Inspired by the dance of the same name, it earned her the status of the greatest gay icon.

The track was written very quickly during the production of Dick Tracy (1990), Madonna sharing with Rolling Stone, “Warren Beatty asked me if I could write a song that would fit my character’s point of view… She was obsessed with speakeasies and movie stars and things like that. The idea for the lyrics came through that request.”

The song hit number one upon its release in 1990 and stayed in the top spot for three weeks, remaining on the charts for a total of 24 weeks.

3. “Into the Groove” (1985)

This groovy pop hit, which was written by Madonna in 1985, was never meant to be released by her. The pop star penned the upbeat tune for producer Mark Kamins to be recorded with another artist, but elected to do it herself. It was released it as a part of the Desperately Seeking Susan soundtrack — luckily, considering that “Into the Groove” became one of her biggest hits.

2. “Like a Virgin” (1984): Madonna songs

The classically Madonna-associated song “Like a Virgin” was the singer’s first number one hit, transforming her into a pop sensation. However, this wasn’t a Madonna-original. “Like a Virgin,” which was written by writing duo Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, was initially penned from the point of view of a man.

Once Madonna heard the track, she knew she wanted to record it and her version was an instant hit. She even performed “Like a Virgin” at the 1984 MTV Awards, which remains one of her most controversial performances.

1. “Material Girl” (1984)

One of Madonna’s most memorable songs, and from which her nickname spawned, is the 1984 hit “Material Girl.” Although it’s another one that wasn’t written by the singer, it remains connected to her to this day. Madonna, however, has a love-hate relationship with it. The lyrics can be misconstrued, either as a feminist anthem or portraying women as gold-diggers.

Madonna shared in the pages of Madonna: An Intimate Biography, “I feel lucky to be able to afford a Frida Kahlo painting or live in a nice house, but I know that I can live without it… But talk about the media hanging on a phrase and misinterpreting the damn thing as well. I didn’t write that song and the video was about how the girl rejected diamonds and money. But God forbid irony should be understood.”

The song, which rose to number two, continues to chart today. It’s been covered by dozens of artists, from Britney Spears to Idina Menzel, but Madonna’s version continues to be the most popular.

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