It’s little wonder we call her the “Queen of Pop”. Madonna is a fashion icon, an advocate for social change, and, of course, a legendary performer who has elevated pop stardom to new heights with her racy image, record-shattering album sales, and generation-spanning global fanbase. Ever since her self-titled 1983 debut album first introduced her to the world, Madonna has been an unwavering force of musical nature, influencing some of today’s biggest stars while managing to stay one step ahead of the game with her visionary pop savvy and continual stylistic evolution.
With the release of her latest studio album Rebel Heart on March 6, Madonna will build on the 300 million records she has already sold worldwide — a number that distinguishes her as the best-selling female artist of all time. Now, Madonna’s over-the-top, career-spanning live show is coming to arenas and stadiums across North America with tickets going on sale this month for the Rebel Heart Tour. In anticipation of the tour here are a few of Madonna’s most iconic music video moments to remind you how pop music became what it is today and get you ready and raring for her notoriously risqué and vibrant live shows.
LIVING FOR LOVE (Rebel Heart, 2015)
Despite taking a minor tumble during a live performance of “Living for Love” at the Brit Awards a few weeks ago, Madonna brushed it off like a true champ and completed the number with a smile. The song is a perfect metaphor for such occasions, emphasizing the need to take control of what you can and roll with what you can’t.
VOGUE (I’m Breathless, 1990)
Few videos sum up Madonna’s influential role as a visionary cultural icon better than the epic clip that accompanied 1990’s “Vogue”. Directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Gone Girl), the video stylishly introduced underground vogue culture to the mainstream, highlighting Madonna’s ability to seamlessly influence pop culture en masse.
TURN UP THE RADIO (Mdna, 2012)
Lest we forget just how far The Queen’s reach extends, the music video for “Turn Up the Radio” reminds us that Madonna’s music has touched people from all walks of life. From the vintage convertible to the scantily clad backup dancers, there’s plenty to love in this stylish, feel-good video.
LIKE A VIRGIN (Like a Virgin, 1984)
Arguably her most (in)famous song, “Like a Virgin” set the tone for the provocative direction Madonna’s career has since taken. The video features a young Madonna traipsing through the Venice canals with a lion on her trail, and perfectly embodies the mix of flirtatiousness and grit that has come to categorize her pop persona.
GIRL GONE WILD (Mdna, 2012)
Madonna’s stylistic evolution continued unabated on 2012’s Mdna, which featured a more EDM-influenced sound. The song’s message of self-expression and fearlessness speak to her role as a symbol for the gay community—a relationship of mutual support that has characterized her career to this day.
LIKE A PRAYER (Like a Prayer, 1989)
It may have caused controversy in its day, but there’s no arguing that “Like a Prayer” is one of the most beloved and influential songs to come out of the ’80s. Never one to censor herself, Madonna tackled the song’s spiritual themes head-on in the song’s racy and provocative video.
PAPA DON’T PREACH (True Blue, 1986)
After rocking the world with “Like a Virgin”, “Papa Don’t Preach” really didn’t come as much of a shock, and it’s become a favorite with fans of all stripes. This video is a great example of the iconic punk-meets-pop look Madge invented — the very same look that pop stars are imitating to this day.
GIVE ME ALL YOUR LUVIN’ (Mdna, 2012)
This epic video features Madonna alongside two younger stars she helped pave the way for–Nicki Minaj and MIA. Both Minaj and MIA are known for their confident, uncompromising personas, a foundation laid by the Queen herself. Seeing the three share the screen with such tenacity is one for the books.
EXPRESS YOURSELF (Like a Prayer, 1989)
This empowering video for “Express Yourself” highlights Madonna’s enduring influence on younger stars like Lady Gaga. Mother monster has become known for encouraging everyone to be themselves and not settle for anything less — a mantra she inherited directly from The Queen.
FOUR MINUTES (Hard Candy, 2008)
The Queen of Pop and the Prince of Pop in an intoxicating dance-off? We’re sold. Madonna and Justin Timberlake let it all hang out in the oh-so-steamy video for 2008’s “Four Minutes”.