Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone) was a model/actress/dancer who became interested in music and thanks to some good connections and a savvy management of her ever-changing image became one of the biggest stars in the world in 1985. After a debut album in 1983, featuring three top hits, Madonna returned in 1984 with her second album, Like a Virgin. The album was produced by ex-Chic member Nile Rodgers and featured a mix of songs cowritten by the singer but also some by accomplished songwriters.

One of those written-for-Madonna songs was the title track, “Like a Virgin”, from Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg. The song featured Madonna’s signature dance sound along with a memorable bass hook. The song went well with Madonna’s image, and included appearing in a wedding dress on the album’s cover and at a memorable performance of the song at the MTV Video Music Awards. ┬áThe lyrics can be interpreted in various ways (including a memorable scene from Reservoir Dogs), but clearly the “v-word” was an integral part of Madonna’s “bad girl” image.

Like a Virgin” hit number on in late 1984, and stayed there through January 1985, becoming the number two song of the year overall. The song was also a worldwide hit, making Madonna a superstar. Further singles from the Like a Virgin album cemented Madonna’s accent, including “Material Girl”, “Angel”, and “Into the Groove” (which also appeared in the Madonna movie Desperately Seeking Susan that appeared in the spring of 1985). The album has since sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. ┬áMadonna appeared at Live Aid that summer, but was famously “snubbed” by not being asked to attend the We are the World session, something that seems like a huge mistake in retrospect. But, at the time, everyone agreed that 1985 was a great year for Madonna. What they didn’t know that Madonna would have great years in 1995 and 2005 too.

“Like a Virgin”