Madonna – Like A Virgin
The music of the 80s, we know, had a king, a queen, a prince and so many other people. The queen of the 80s is undoubtedly Madonna, whose career, moreover, never saw any interruption since then, but continued through a constant change that has always been a peculiarity of her life.
In the early 1980s Madonna became famous above all as a dance singer, with hits like “Holiday”, “Borderline”, “Burning up“. She immediately chose to explore the game of provocation, at first with a religious background, often using crucifixes as accessories for her look, in combination with an unequivocal name.
In September 1984, however, at the MTV Award show, she gave an important steer to her image and career, presenting not only the new song, which she would release on October 31 as a single, but also her new look, and her new provocations.
The song was born in a completely different context: some time before the author Billy Steinberg (who later will also write “True colors” by Cyndi Lauper and “Eternal flame” by Bangles, he was a really talented author) composed the song while he was working on the family farm, inspired by the landscapes of the Californian deserts, maybe while driving tractors, and he was thinking of the new love he was living in those days. Although he was certainly not a novice boy, he noted that living a new sentimental passion is an experience that every time makes everything look new, all different, all for the first time.
After some time the song arrived at Madonna along with another proposal, “Material Girl“. She found both perfect for her provocative character: according to her, Madonna was not a materialist girl at all, and she certainly was not a virgin. And so, after recording the song in view of the album of the same name, Madonna prepared to present it at the MTV Music Awards, singing and dancing live in wedding dress and provocative moves, basically anticipating the video of the song itself. The success and comments were resounding: in three minutes Madonna became the new pop icon of the 80s – and today we know it would be forever!
When the song arrived in record stores, first in America and a week later in Europe, within weeks it reached the top of the charts around the world. She was definitely helped by one of the most famous videos in history! It was directed by Mary Lambert, who had also directed “Borderline” for Madonna.
If you ask people to remember three videos of the 80s, they’ll most likely mention “Like a virgin” (and probably “Take on me” by a-ha as well). At the beginning of the video Madonna boards a boat in New York, and a few frames later here she is in Venice for one of the most famous videos in the world. Madonna splits: she moves sensually on a gondola that flown on the canals, and in parallel she is teasing in a weeding dress in the rooms of Venetian palaces.
Together with her, the protagonist is undoubtedly the lion, which recalls not only St. Mark, but a whole world of fascinating power and sensuality, so much so that Madonna’s companion in the video also wears a lion mask. Moreover, Venice is probably the most romantic and sensual city in the world, and even in the name it recalls the goddess of beauty, Venus.
During the footages the lion was quite unruly; according to many he did nothing he was supposed to do, but at the end everything went well, although Madonna herself remembers being really scared in some moments.
“Like a virgin”, in any case, remained in the public imagination as one of the iconic songs of the 80s, definitely the song that most represents Madonna and her great career. After many years, and many changes in look and style, when we hear her name we immediately run to the image of that girl dressed in her original style, who crosses Venice aboard the gondola. And there’s a lion looking at her from the shore.
Madonna on Wikipedia