Using the success of the song as leverage, Madonna convinced Sire to produce the full-length album, Madonna, in 1983. The album was a slow but steady success, and included the hit singles ‘Borderline’, ‘Lucky Star’, and ‘Holiday’. The song ‘Holiday’ also earned the singer an appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand in 1984. During her interview on the show, she told Clark that her main ambition was ‘to rule the world.’
This intensity and determination was apparent in her 1985 follow-up album, Like a Virgin, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Chart and went platinum within a month. She also starred in her first mainstream feature film, Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), and performed the soundtrack’s single, ‘Into the Groove,’ which hit No. 1 on the U.S. dance charts. Her next single ‘Crazy for You’, which she performed for the 1985 film Vision Quest, also became an instant No. 1 hit. She then started her first music tour, The Virgin Tour and watched 17 consecutive songs climb into the Top 10 on the Billboard Chart.
She also produced four more hit albums: True Blue (1986), Who’s that Girl? (1987), You Can Dance (1987), and Like a Prayer (1989).
But, as always, Madonna mixed her drive for success with her penchant for scandalous behavior. It started with her controversial 1985 performance of her hit single ‘Like a Virgin’ on the MTV music awards, which involved writhing around suggestively onstage in a wedding dress. This was followed by the debut of Madonna’s 1989 ‘Like a Prayer’ video.
By 1991, she had achieved 21 Top 10 hits in the United States and sold more than 70 million albums internationally.
First came the film Truth or Dare (1991), a revealing documentary about her Blonde Ambition tour. This was followed by the publishing of Sex (1992), a soft-core pornographic coffee-table book featuring the pop star in a variety of erotic poses. Despite its controversial nature, Sex sold 150,000 copies on the day of its release in the USA alone. Three days later, all 1.5 million copies of the first edition were sold out worldwide, making it the most successful coffee table book ever released. The album Erotica (1992) was unveiled at the same time, and proved equally successful: by the end of 1993 it had reached double-platinum status.
By 1996, Madonna had proven her versatility as a star in both film and music. She starred in the critically acclaimed film adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita (1996). She won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, and the song, ‘You Must Love Me,’ earned her an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song.
Madonna was inducted into the inaugural UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. With the release of her 2005 album Confessions on a Dancefloor, Madonna became the artist, with the most gold certified singles in the U.S., beating the Beatles’ long-standing record.
Her album Hard Candy was released in April 2008, and her Sticky and Sweet tour became her first major venture with concert promoter Live Nation.
In 2009, she released a third greatest hits album, Celebration, which became Madonna’s eleventh No. 1 album in the U.K. With the release of the record, Madonna tied with Elvis Presley as the solo act with most No. 1 albums in the U.K.