Hard as it may be to imagine, Madonna is celebrating the big 5-0 on August 16. So to commemorate her 50 years on this planet that she continues to dominate, we're counting down the 50 most memorable Madonna moments of all time. (SPOILER ALERT: Shanghai Surprise is not among them, sorry.)
Between now and Madge's big day, we'll be doling out a daily dose of highlights (and a few lowlights) from her illustrious career--the hair colors, the fashion makeovers, the videos, and of course the scandals that have kept Madonna in the news, on the charts, and on MTV years after her original '80s peers have faded into VH1 Classic Where Are They Now? obscurity.
If you don't see your personal favorite Madge memory on this list yet, please refrain from leaving indignant posts on our message board, because there's a good chance that such moments will appear on the list somewhere between spots 1-45. But do feel free to start sharing your own favorite memories on the board below, or just post your birthday well-wishes to the hottest half-centenarian ever!
46) MTV And Madona Launch The "Make My Video" Contest
When Madonna got ready to release the title track of her True Blue album as a single in 1986, MTV hosted a "Make My Video" competition in which aspiring filmmakers could submit their own amateur interpretations of the cutely doo-woppy song. Ultimately, the winning entry was Angel Gracia and Cliff Guest's rather professional, sepia-toned depiction of puppy love in the sock-hopping '50s (see clip below); however, the best aspect of this promotion was when MTV set aside 24 nonstop hours to air dozens of video submissions, ranging from polished film-school projects to proto-YouTube camcorder clips of children in tutus doing ballet in their living rooms to "True Blue." It quite possibly was the most awesome day of programming in MTV's history, and one that will never be repeated again on the channel's now virtually video-free format.
47) Madonna Becomes A Bond Girl
In 2002, Madonna joined the esteemed likes of past Bond songmakers Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, Carly Simon, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, and, um, A-ha, by recording the theme to the James Bond flick Die Another Day. Madonna also had a poorly acted cameo in the movie as a feisty fencing instructor--a part she more skillfully reprised (and expanded into a dual role) for the song's swordfight-themed, good-Madonna-versus-evil-Madonna music video:
48) Madonna Shamelessly Shakes Her Bon-Bon At Ricky Martin
When Latin stud and former Menudo heartthrob Ricky Martin gave his legendary career-crossover "Cup Of Life" performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards, Madonna was so impressed, she seemed more excited about meeting him after the show than about the fact that she'd finally just won her first-ever Grammy. Later that evening, at the Grammy press conference, she bumrushed Ricky--sneaking up behind him and covering his eyes, then kissing him twice and saying, "I just wanted to congratulate you on your win!" She later explained that she "just had to do it because he was so cute."
49) Mrs. Ritchie Adopts A Mysterious British Accent
While it's not inconceivable that an American citizen might take on a bit of a new vocal inflection after relocating to a foreign country, the swiftness with which Detroit-born, New York-based Madonna started speaking like Mary Poppins--once she married Englishman Guy Ritchie and moved to Britain--was bloody shocking, mate:
50) Madonna Duets With Gogol Bordello
Madonna has always enjoyed surrounding herself with a unique cast of characters--whether it's former odd-couple love interests like Vanilla Ice and Dennis Rodman, Hard Candy hip-hop collaborators like Timbaland and Pharrell, or gal pals like Britney Spears and Sandra Bernhard. But when she enlisted multi-ethnic gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello for a "La Isla Bonita" performance at Al Gore's 2007 Live Earth concert, it just may have been her most bizarre and unexpected partnership yet:
Come back tomorrow for Madonna moments 45-41!