x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

30 years in the spotlight: Madonna's highs and lows

To celebrate her concerts in Abu Dhabi this week, we’ve produced a catalogue of the Material Girl's musical, theatrical, personal and style successes and failures throughout her very public life.

A 1989 portrait of Madonna, released by Warner Records. AP Photo / HO
A 1989 portrait of Madonna, released by Warner Records. AP Photo / HO

It’s hard to believe that Madonna has been wowing the world for the past 30 years but, in that time, The Material Girl has become one of the most successful, influential and controversial artists in history. To celebrate her two shows in Abu Dhabi this week, we’ve produced an admittedly unscientific chart of her musical, theatrical, personal and style successes and failures throughout her very public life.

See this feature as it appeared in Weekend's Oasis here.

August 16, 1958 Born Madonna Louise Ciccone

1977 Quits dance school in Michigan and moves to New York

1979 Briefly joins The Breakfast Club band

1982 Released first solo single Everybody, a dance hit

1983 Released Madonna, containing Holiday, Borderline and Lucky Star, peaked at No 8 on Billboard

1985 Released Like a Virgin, topped Billboard for six consecutive weeks, eventually sold more than 21 million copies; sang at MTV Video Music Awards atop a giant wedding cake dressed as a bride in an iconic performance

1985 Appeared in the film Vision Quest, then Desperately Seeking Susan; married actor Sean Penn, appeared at Live Aid

1986 Released True Blue, topped the charts in 28 countries, starred in Shanghai Surprise, a box-office failure, and the theatre production Goose and Tom-Tom, both beside Penn

1987 Who's That Girl world tour, files for divorce from Penn (finalised in 1989)

1989 Debuted Like a Prayer in a Pepsi commercial, contract was cancelled after huge uproar over its impropriety; the album Like a Prayer debuts, top of charts and sold 13 million worldwide; named "artist of the decade" by MTV, Billboard and Musician magazine

1990 Starred in Dick Tracy, began brief relationship with co-star Warren Beatty; released The Immaculate Collection, a best-of album, sold more than 30 million to become best-selling compilation album by a solo artist of all time; released Truth or Dare documentary

1992 Starred in A League of Their Own; founded her own entertainment company (Maverick); released the book Sex and the album Erotica

1993 Starred in Body of Evidence, which was widely panned by critics

1994 A profanity laced appearance on Late Night with David Letterman was the most censored in American talk-show history; it also had some of the highest ratings of Letterman's career. But it had people wondering about Madonna's direction; released Bedtime Stories (#3 on Billboard); became involved with fitness trainer Carlos Leon

1996 Starred as Eva Perón in Evita, won a Golden Globe for best actress, musical or comedy; gave birth to daughter Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon

1997 Becomes involved in Kabbalah

1998 Breaks up with Leon; releases seventh studio album Ray of Light, selling 20 million copies worldwide, making Madonna the artist with the most No 2 hits ever; she wins three Grammys. She changes her look

1999 Starts relationship with Guy Ritchie

2000 Stars in The Next Best Thing; releases Music, an electronica inspired album that goes No 1 in 20 countries and sells 4m in 10 days; gives birth to Rocco Ritchie

2002 Stars in Swept Away, directed by Ritchie; it's a box-office bomb; writes song for James Bond film Die Another Day and has a cameo role

2003 Releases ninth studio album, American Life, to mixed reviews, sells just 4 million copies worldwide, Madonna's lowest-selling album yet; kisses both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at MTV Music Awards; signs deal to author five children's books, the first one, The English Roses, becomes fastest-selling children's picture book of all time

2004 A dispute with Time Warner has that company buying all shares of Maverick; but Madonna is still a Warner Music performer; performed at Live8 in London

2005 Releases 10th studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, is No 1 in 40 countries, a world record, wins Grammy for best electronic/dance album

2006 Files adoption papers for a boy from Malawi orphanage, names him David Banda Mwale Ciccone Ritchie; adoption causes strong backlash

2007 Madonna leaves Time Warner and joins Live Nation

2008 Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland; releases 11th studio album, Hard Candy; Lead single, 4 Minutes, reaches No 3 and makes her the artist with the most top-10 hits, passing Elvis Presley; divorces Ritchie; the film Filth and Wisdom, the first movie she's ever directed, is released

2009 Adopts another child from Malawi, Mercy James; releases third greatest-hits album, Celebration

2011 WE, Madonna's second film as director, debuts to mixed reviews

2012 releases MDNA, her 12th studio album; performs at the half-time show for the Super Bowl in the US; visits Abu Dhabi on her world tour