As Madonna announces her Celebration Tour, Andy Howells recalls his early Madonna memories.
Madonna is celebrating four decades of hits with The Celebration Tour, which comes to London this autumn. Fan’s can expect to hear the classics Holiday, Open Your Heart, Music, Hung Up and La Isla Bonita as the star celebrates 40 years in music.
Back in 1984, the Queen of pop burst on to the UK charts with her debut hit, Holiday. On a chart that was bursting with songs by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Wham!, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet, Michigan’s Madonna Ciccone was the female vocalist the 80s needed.
Adorning the cover of Smash Hits! Madonna with tousled brown hair, green sweater, dress jewellery and crucifixes, looked fresh and exciting as she danced across a two page article. Stories of how she re-choreographed the Lucky Star video in 15 minutes after a dancer failed to show embellished Madonna’s credibility as an artist, and although sound like nothing now, were early examples of the artist taking control of her art and not been defeated.
Following Holiday’s success, further releases in Lucky Star and Borderline followed. By Christmas, following the success of eponymous debut (later retitled The First Album) came Like A Virgin, I recall the annoyance in my late mothers voice when she heard Madonna’s suggestive gasps from our Hi-Fi between verses. “What’s she singing about virgins for? Get that off this instant!” I relented. “Oh, she’s singing about renewal mum, I read it in an interview!” I don’t think my mother believed me, I’m not sure I did either!
1985 proved to be a big year for Madonna, scoring her first number one with Into The Groove, a box office hit with Desperately Seeking Susan, a memorable appearance at Live Aid plus countless worldwide record and video sales.
In the years since, there has been a multitude of albums, records, films and from time to time a dash of controversy. How many artists have presented an LP record covered in an aphrodisiac or made a X-rated pop video that could only be shown on music channels in the early hours? Many would hardly bat an eyelid about such things now, but its easy to forget how Madonna has pushed boundaries and challenged our perceptions of not just herself but our attitudes to many seemingly taboo subjects. Many artists before her of course, sang of love, but rarely of sex or religion and even more rarely altogether.
One of her Madonna’s controversial era’s is recalled as she announces The Celebration Tour in an iconic viral video with a wink to the film Truth or Dare (or In Bed with Madonna as it was called here in the UK). The video features notable names such as Diplo, Judd Apatow, Jack Black, Lil Wayne, Bob the Drag Queen, Kate Berlant, Larry Owens, Meg Stalter, Eric Andre and culminates with Amy Schumer daring the global superstar to go on tour and perform her four decades of mega hits. Madonna, the best-selling female solo touring artist of all time, rises to the challenge announcing The Celebration Tour which will be highlighting her unmatched catalogue of music from the past 40 years.
Produced by Live Nation, the 35-city global tour arrives at The O2 in London on October 14.
The Celebration Tour will take her audience on Madonna’s artistic journey through four decades and pay respect to the city of New York where her career in music began. “I am excited to explore as many songs as possible in hopes to give my fans the show they have been waiting for,” states Madonna.
In good tradition, Madonna will no doubt continue to delight and challenge her fans with a one-of-a-kind experience that will also feature special guest Bob the Drag Queen a.k.a. Caldwell Tidicue across all dates on the global tour.
Tickets go on sale starting Friday, January 20th at 10am local time at madonna.com/tour.