Rags to Riches: The Madonna Story You Never Knew

By Jack Ripley | November 15, 2023

Her First Breakthrough Hit Was "Holiday", But She Didn't Write It, 1983

Welcome to a visual journey of the Material Girl! From her religious start in Michigan, to the gritty streets of New York City, to the dazzling heights of pop royalty, this electrifying photo gallery charts the meteoric rise and lasting legacy of the one and only Madonna. Prepare to be mesmerized as you witness the evolution of an icon who defied convention, broke boundaries, and redefined the world of music and fashion. Get ready to strike a pose and join us in celebrating the Queen of Pop's extraordinary journey.

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"Holiday" was initially written by Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens of the group Pure Energy, who had hoped to secure the song for another artist. However, fate had other plans, as Sire Records' executive Michael Ostin discovered the catchy tune and recognized its potential as the perfect song for the label's rising star, Madonna. It didn't take long for the Material Girl to put her unique spin on the track, creating an instant dance-pop classic. "Holiday" went on to peak at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, cementing Madonna's status as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

Her Mother Died When Madonna was Five, and She Never Forgave Her Father, 1963

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Madonna's mother, Madonna Louise, passed away from cancer in 1963. Three years later, her father, Tony, got remarried - to the family's housekeeper, Joan Gustafson. The couple had two children, Mario and Jennifer. Madonna felt that this marriage was a betrayal to her mother, and it seriously strained her relationship with Tony.