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Madonna (Madonna album)

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Madonna's image with her right hand placed on her right cheek and with the left hand, she holds on to a number of chains wound on her neck.
Studio album by Madonna
Released July 27, 1983 (1983-07-27)
Recorded May 1982 – April 1983, Sigma Sound Studios (New York City)
Length 40:47
Madonna chronology
Like a Virgin
Alternate cover
Madonna wearing crucifix earrings and multiple plastic wrist bracelets around right wrist
Cover for the 1985 international re-release of the album, which was released under the title Madonna: The First Album
Singles from Madonna
  1. "Everybody"
    Released: October 6, 1982
  2. "Burning Up"
    Released: March 9, 1983
  3. "Holiday"
    Released: September 7, 1983
  4. "Lucky Star"
    Released: September 8, 1983
  5. "Borderline"
    Released: February 15, 1984

Madonna is the eponymous debut studio album by American singer and songwriter Madonna, released on July 27, 1983 by Sire Records. It was renamed Madonna: The First Album for the 1985 international re-release of the album. In 1982, while establishing herself as a singer in Downtown New York, Madonna met Seymour Stein, president of Sire Records, who signed her after listening to her single "Everybody". The success of the single prompted Sire to sign her for an album's deal. Reggie Lucas was chosen as the primary producer, with Madonna solely writing five of eight tracks on the album. However, she was not happy with the completed tracks and disagreed with Lucas's production techniques. She then invited John "Jellybean" Benitez to help her finish the album. Benitez remixed many of the tracks and produced "Holiday".

The overall sound of Madonna is dissonant, and is in the form of upbeat synthetic disco, utilizing some of the new technology of the time, like the usage of Linn drum machine, Moog bass and the Oberheim OB-X synthesizer. The songs on the album are sung by Madonna in a bright, girlish vocal timbre, and lyrically talks about love and relationships. To promote the album, Madonna performed in various one-off gigs in clubs and television programs in the United States and United Kingdom throughout 1983–84. Five singles were released from the album, with "Holiday" becoming her first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Lucky Star", her first top-five hit. The album was later promoted by The Virgin Tour in 1985.

Contemporary critics have applauded the album, but Madonna was dismissed by some critics when it was released in 1983. In 2008, the album was ranked at number five on Entertainment Weekly's list of "Top 100 Best Albums of Past 25 Years." The album peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200, and was certified five-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of five million copies across the United States. It also reached the top ten of the charts in Australia, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom, while selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. Critics retrospectively noted that the album helped popularize dance music in mainstream recording industry. It pointed the direction for numerous female artists of the 1980s and set the standard for dance-pop for decades afterward.


Picture of three woman. The one in the middle has her blonde hair tied in a ponytail. She holds a microphone on her left arm and is leaning towards her right and pointing towards an African American female who's pointing back at her. On the left there's a caucasian female holding a microphone with her left hand.
Madonna performing "Holiday", one of the album's most successful singles during the Drowned World Tour in 2001

In 1982, the 24-year-old Madonna was living in New York, and trying to set up her music career.[1] She was joined by her Detroit boyfriend Steve Bray who became the drummer of her band, the Breakfast Club, which played generally hard-rock music. Soon they abandoned playing songs in the hard-rock genre, and got signed by a music management company called Gotham Records, planning to move in a new musical direction.[2] They decided to pursue the funk genre, but the record company was not happy with their musical talents and they were dropped from the label; Madonna and Bray left the band also.[1] Meanwhile, she had written and developed some songs on her own. She carried rough tapes of three of the songs, "Everybody", "Ain't No Big Deal" and "Burning Up". At that time she was frequenting the Danceteria nightclub in New York. It was here that Madonna convinced the DJ Mark Kamins to play "Everybody".[1] The song was received positively by the crowd, and Kamins decided that he should get Madonna a record deal, on the understanding that he would get to produce the single.[1] He took her to his boss Chris Blackwell, who owned Island Records, but Blackwell refused to sign Madonna so they approached Sire Records.[3] Michael Rosenblatt, who worked at the artists and repertoire department of Sire, offered Madonna $5,000 in advance, plus $10,000 in royalties, for each song she wrote.[4][5]

Madonna was ultimately signed for two 12" singles by the President of Sire, Seymour Stein, who was impressed by her singing,[4] after listening to "Everybody" at a hospital in Lenox Hill where he was admitted.[5] The 12" version of "Everybody" was produced by Mark Kamins at Blank Tapes Studios in New York, who took over the production work from Steve Bray.[5] The new recording ran 5:56 on one side and 9:23 for the dub version on the reverse side. Madonna and Kamins had to record the single at their own cost.[6] Arthur Baker, friend of Mark Kamins, guided him through the role of a music producer and provided him with studio musician Fred Zarr who performed his keyboard wizardry on the track.[7] Zarr became one of the common musical threads on the album by eventually performing on every track. Due to the restrained budget, the recording was a hefty affair as Madonna could not understand Kamins' directions and Kamins himself faced problems directing. Rosenblatt wanted to release "Everybody" with "Ain't No Big Deal" on the other side, but later changed his mind and put "Everybody" on both sides of the vinyl record after hearing the recorded version of "Ain't No Big Deal".[5] The single was commercially released in October 1982 and became a dance hit in the United States. This led to Sire signing Madonna for an LP and two more singles.[4][8]


"[S]he was unhappy with the whole [album], so I went in and sweetened up a lot of music for her, adding some guitars to 'Lucky Star', some voices, some magic... I just wanted to do the best job I could do for her. When we would playback 'Holiday' or 'Lucky Star', you could see that she was overwhelmed by how great it all sounded. You wanted to help her, you know? As much as she could be a bitch, when you were in groove with her, it was very cool, very creative."

—Benitez talking about Madonna and the album.[9][10]

The album was primarily recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in New York City.[11] Madonna opted not to work with either Kamins or Bray, but chose Reggie Lucas, a Warner Bros. producer. Bray decided to push her in the musical direction of pop, and recorded the song "Burning Up" with her. However, Madonna still did not have enough material to generate a full album. The songs available were, "Lucky Star", a new version of "Ain't No Big Deal", "Think of Me" and "I Know It". Lucas brought another two songs to the project, "Physical Attraction" and "Borderline".[9] As he recorded the tracks he deviated considerably from the original versions of the demos. One such altered song was "Lucky Star". The song was written by Madonna for Kamins, who previously promised to play the track at Danceteria.[5] However, the track was instead used by Madonna for the album, which she planned to call Lucky Star. She believed that "Lucky Star", along with "Borderline", were the perfect foundation for her album.[5]

Problems arose between her and Lucas during the recording of the songs. Madonna was unhappy with the way the final versions turned out. According to her, Lucas used too many instruments and did not consider her ideas for the songs.[12] This led to a dispute between the two and, after finishing the album, Lucas left the project without tailoring the songs to Madonna's specifications; hence she called John "Jellybean" Benitez, a DJ at Funhouse disco, to remix the available tracks. In the meantime, due to a conflict of interest, Bray had sold "Ain't No Big Deal" to an act on another label, rendering it unavailable for Madonna's project.[9] It was Benitez who discovered a new song, written by Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens of the pop group Pure Energy.[5] The song, titled "Holiday", had been turned down by Phyllis Hyman and Mary Wilson, formerly of The Supremes.[13] Jellybean and Madonna sent the demo to their friend, Fred Zarr so he could embellish the arrangement and program the song with his synthesizer magic.[5] After vocals were recorded by Madonna, Benitez spent four days trying to enhance the commercial appeal of the track before the April 1983 deadline.[13][9] Just before it was completed, Madonna and Benitez met Fred Zarr at Sigma Sound in Manhattan, where Zarr added the now familiar piano solo towards the end of the track.[5]


A 30 second sample of Madonna's "Lucky Star". Here the chorus is played, backed by synthesized beats.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

According to Allmusic, the album is mostly influenced by dance-pop, post-disco and pop rock music.[14] The overall sound of Madonna is dissonant, and is in the form of upbeat synthetic disco, utilizing some of the new technology of the time, like the usage of Linn drum machine, Moog bass and the OB-X synthesizer. This equipment has dated since, consequently the sound of the album comes off as somewhat harsh.[15] Madonna commented on her debut album: "The songs were pretty weak and I went to England during the recordings so I wasn't around... I wasn't in control. [...] I didn't realise how crucial it was for me to break out of the disco mold before I'd already finished the [first] album. I wish I could have got a little more variety there."[15] The album starts with the song "Lucky Star", a medium-paced dance track, beginning with a sparkle of synth note and is followed by heavy beats of electronic drum and handclaps.[15] A guitar is played in high riff and a bubbling bass synth is produced to accompany the guitar sound.[15] The song revolves around the "Starlight, starbright" hook for more than a minute, before going to the chorus. According to author Rikky Rooksby, the lyrics are repetitive and inane, revolving around the transparent ambiguity of the stars, and juxtaposition of the male character with being a heavenly body in the sky.[15] "Borderline" is a sentimental track, talking about a love that is never quite fulfilled.[10] According to author Santiago Fouz-Hernández and his book Madonna's drowned worlds, the lyrics of the song like "Something in the way you love me won't let me be/I don't want to be your prisoner so baby won't you set me free" depicted a rebellion against male chauvinism.[16] Madonna used a refined and expressive voice to sing the song, backed by Lucas's instrumentations.[10] It opens with a keyboard rich intro and a catchy synth melody provided by Fred Zarr.[15] Bass player Anthony Jackson doubled Dean Gant's synth bass to provide a solid & more complex texture.[15] The chords in the song were inspired by Seventies disco sound in Philadelphia as well as Elton John's musical style during the mid-seventies.[15] The chord sequences cite from Bachman–Turner Overdrive's song "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" while the synth phases display her typical musical style.[17]

The third track "Burning Up" has a starker arrangement, brought about by bass, single guitar and Linn drum machine.[17] The drum beats used in the song were reminiscent to the records of singer Phil Collins.[17] It also incorporated electric guitars and the most state-of-the-art synthesizers of that time.[18] The chorus is a repetition of the same three lines, while the bridge consists of a series of double entendres; the lyrics describing what Madonna is prepared to do for her lover, and that she is individualistic and shameless.[17] Next track "I Know It" has a gentler swing to it and features music from piano, a saxophone, synth phrases while having an offbeat chord change.[17] "Holiday" consists of a four-bar sequence, featuring instrumentation from guitars, electronic drums and handclaps from the Oberheim DMX, cowbell played by Madonna and a synthesized string arrangement. A side-by-side repetitive progression is achieved by making use of the chorus.[19] Towards the end of the song, a change in the arrangement happens, where a piano break is heard. Lyrically, the song expresses the universal sentiment that everybody needs a holiday.[19] In "Think of Me", Madonna warns her erring lover that he should pay her attention or else she would leave. The song consists beats from the Linn drum machine and a saxophone interlude. "Physical Attraction" is a medium paced track, with synth bass, a guitar line, sounds of a brass and Madonna singing in a shrill voice, about the attraction between herself and a boy.[19] The last song on the album is "Everybody", which starts with a heavily synthesized and spoken introduction, with Madonna taking a loud intake of breath.[20] She displayed her bubblegum-pop like voice in the song, which was also doubletracked.[20]


Main article: The Virgin Tour

Madonna had promoted the album throughout 1983–84 by performing a series of "track dates", one-off gigs. These shows were done at New York City and London clubs like Danceteria and Camden Palace and on American and British television programs like American Bandstand and Top of the Pops.[21] On American Bandstand, Madonna performed the track "Holiday" and told interviewer Dick Clark that she wanted "to rule the world." John Mitchell from MTV said that the appearance "remains one of her most legendary."[22] The album's singles were later performed on The Virgin Tour in 1985. It was Madonna's first concert tour and visited North American dates. The Virgin Tour received mixed reception from critics, but was a commercial success. As soon as the tour was announced, tickets were sold out everywhere.[23] Macy's New York department store was flooded with buyers, who bought the tour merchandise like the crucifix earrings and fingerless gloves.[24] After its end, the Virgin Tour was reported to have grossed over $5 million ($11 million in 2016 dollars[25]), with Billboard Boxscore reporting a gross of $3.3 million ($7.26 million in 2016 dollars[25]). The tour was recorded and released in VHS, as Madonna Live: The Virgin Tour. Later authors have looked back at the tour and commented that it was clear that "[Madonna] was a bonafide pop star in the process of becoming a cultural icon."[26] Shari Benstock and Suzanne Ferriss noted the clothes and fashion in the tour and said, "Virgin Tour established Madonna as the hottest figure in pop music."[27]

Madonna video compilation[edit]

A video compilation, titled Madonna, was also released by Warner Music Video and Sire Records to promote the album and its single releases, it was also used in the promotion of the 1984 studio album Like a Virgin. The video album was the singer's first video compilation. It won the award for the "Best Selling Video Cassette Merchandised as Music Video", from the National Association of Recording Merchandisers.[28] It also topped the Music Videocassette chart of Billboard for the period from April 13, 1985 to November 9, 1985. Jim McCullaugh from Billboard attributed the strong sales of the video to Madonna's recent studio album Like a Virgin and The Virgin Tour concert.[29] Madonna placed at number one on the year-end music videocasette chart for 1985, with Madonna becoming the top pop artist for the year.[30] Promoted by Warner Music Video as 'A Vision of Madonna', the compilation contained the music videos for the singles "Burning Up" and "Borderline", the then current single "Like a Virgin" and a special extended dance mix of "Lucky Star".[31] In "Lucky Star" when she says "ooh yeah" it is echoed three times and her image is repeated three times. "Like a Virgin" omits the scene where the lion's tongue moves in time with the beat of the music. These videos were later released on the 1990 greatest hits compilation The Immaculate Collection with these edits changed.[31] The video was promoted at the Cabaret Metro club in Chicago, on February 9, 1985. Dubbed as 'The Virgin Party', the event drew around 1,200 crowd and promoted Madonna's LPs, tapes, CDs and the videocassette. Attendees were encouraged to wear white, and for $5 admission fees, were able to view the Madonna videocassette and the premiere of the music video of her then upcoming single "Material Girl". The event was organised as a drive to promote music videos, which at that point did not have a large market.[32]


Madonna performing "Borderline" during the Sticky & Sweet Tour (2008).

Madonna released five singles from the album, although two of those singles actually preceded the album's release by several months. "Everybody" was released on October 6, 1982, as Madonna's debut single; at this point, the rest of the Madonna album had not yet been recorded or even conceived of. Musically incorporating R&B infused beats, "Everybody" portrayed the image of Madonna as a black artist, since her picture did not appear on the single cover.[17] However this misconception was cleared later when Madonna convinced Sire executives to allow her to shoot a music video for the song. The low-budget music video directed by Ed Steinberg portrayed Madonna and her friends singing and dancing in a club to the song. The video helped to promote the song and Madonna as an artist further.[33] Critically the song did not receive any acclaim and failed to enter the official Billboard Hot 100 chart, but charted on its dance charts.[34][35]

"Burning Up" was the still-to-be issued album's second single, released in the US on March 9, 1983, and later issued in some countries as a double A-side single with "Physical Attraction". It received mixed reviews from contemporary critics and authors, who noted the song's darker, urgent composition while praising its dance beats.[14][36] The single failed to do well commercially anywhere, except the dance chart in the United States, where it peaked at three,[35] and the Australian Charts, where it was a top twenty hit in June 1984.[37] The accompanying music video of the song portrays Madonna writhing passionately on an empty road before her "lover" approaches in a car from behind. The video ends with Madonna driving the car instead, suggesting that she is ultimately in control.[38]

Following the Madonna LP's release in July, "Holiday" was released as the third single on September 7, 1983. Commercially, the song was Madonna's first hit single when it entered the top twenty of the Billboard Hot 100.[35][39] The song was also a crossover success, entering the top ten and top forty of many European countries. A re-issue of the song in 1985 saw it peaking at two in the United Kingdom only kept off the top spot by her own single "Into the Groove"[40] The single was given third and final re-release in the UK to promote The Immaculate Collection in June 1991 and included an EP version The Holiday Collection, reaching five on the UK singles chart.[41]

Originally released in the United Kingdom in September 1983, "Lucky Star" was the fourth single from the album. Both contemporary and old critics have praised the song, heralding it as the introduction to upbeat dance music.[14] "Lucky Star" peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first single in her record-breaking string of sixteen consecutive top-five hits.[42] It had already become Madonna's first number-one song on the dance chart, when it reached the top position alongside "Holiday".[43][35] The music video portrayed Madonna dancing in front of a white background, accompanied by her dancers. After the video was released, Madonna's style and mannerisms became a fashion trend among the younger generation. Scholars noted that in the video, Madonna portrayed to herself as narcissistic and an ambiguous character. She referred herself as the "lucky star", unlike the lyrical meaning of the song.[44]

"Borderline" was the fifth single from the album, and was released on February 15, 1984. In the United States the song was released before "Lucky Star" and became Madonna's first top-ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at ten. Elsewhere, the song reached the top twenty of a number of European nations while peaking the chart in Ireland.[45] Contemporary critics and authors applauded the song, calling it as harmonically the most complex song from the Madonna album and complimenting the dance-pop nature of the song. In 2009, the song was placed at eighty-four on Blender magazine's "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" article.[46] The accompanying music video portrayed Madonna, with a Latin man as boyfriend. She was enticed by a British photographer to pose and model for him, but later returned to her original boyfriend. The video generated interest amongst academics, who noted the use of power as symbolism in it.[16]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[14]
Blender 3/5 stars[47]
Christgau's Record Guide A–[48]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[49]
Entertainment Weekly A[36]
Q 3/5 stars[50]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[51]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[18]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 8/10[49]
The Village Voice B[52]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic said in a retrospective review, "[Madonna's] eponymous debut isn't simply good, it set the standard for dance-pop for the next 20 years. Why did it do so? [...] Madonna's singing isn't particularly strong; the songs, while hooky and memorable, couldn't necessarily hold up on their own without the production — but taken together, it's utterly irresistible."[14] Tony Power from Blender said that the album consisted of "quacking synths, overperky bass and state-of-the-art mechanical disco, with Madonna strapped to the wing rather than holding the controls. It's a breathless, subtlety-free debut, with overtones of Soft Cell and Tom Tom Club."[47] While reviewing the remastered version of the album, released in 2001, Michael Paoletta from Billboard felt that "Nearly 20 years after the release of Madonna, such tracks as 'Holiday', 'Physical Attraction', 'Borderline' and 'Lucky Star' remain irresistible."[53] [54] Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A, saying "[Madonna] might have wound up just another post-disco dolly if [the songs on the album] didn't announce her ability to fuse club beats with peerless pop."[36] In July 2008, the magazine ranked the album at number five in their list of "Top 100 Best Albums of Past 25 Years".[55]

Jonathan Ross from Q said that "'Borderline' is sweet and 'Holiday' still fizzes with invention and joie de vivre....this quintessentially '80s dance hit also features a barrelhouse piano solo."[50] Robert Christgau wrote in The Village Voice, "In case you bought the con, disco never died — just reverted to the crazies who thought it was worth living for. This shamelessly ersatz blonde is one of them, and with the craftily orchestrated help of a fine selection of producers, remixers, and DJs, she's come up with a shamelessly ersatz sound that's tighter than her tummy — essence of electro, the D in DOR."[52] Don Shewey from Rolling Stone was of the opinion that "without overstepping the modest ambitions of minimal funk, Madonna issues an irresistible invitation to the dance."[56] The magazine ranked the album at number 50 in their list of "The 100 Best Albums of the Eighties".[57] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine rated the album four and a half out of five stars and commented: "Heralding the synth-heavy movement was a debut album [Madonna] that sounds just as fresh today as it did almost two decades ago."[18] In March 2012, the publication placed the album at number 33 on their "Best Albums of the 1980s" list.[58] Michaelangelo Matos from Spin selected the album among "The Definitive Guide to Classic Disco" and noted that it "mashed-up street sounds and reinvigorated disco for a generation that wanted nothing to do with polyester suits, ending an era and birthing a new one."[59]

Chart performance[edit]

A blond woman, wearing a white leotard with purple stripes and white cape, singing on a stage. She is flanked by two female singer in white tuxedos. In the background the animation of a star can be seen.
Madonna performing the album's fourth single "Lucky Star" on the Confessions Tour in 2006

In the United States, the album entered the Billboard 200 albums chart at number 190, the week of September 3, 1983.[35] The album had a slow and steady climb, and peaked at eight on the Billboard 200 on the week ending October 20, 1984, more than a year after its release.[60] It also peaked at twenty on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[61] Within a year, Madonna had sold 2.8 million copies in the United States.[62] It placed at number seven on the year-end chart for 1984 and at number 25 on the year-end chart for 1985, with Madonna becoming the top pop artist for the year 1985.[63] Seventeen years since its release, the album was certified five-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of five million copies across United States.[64] After the advent of the Nielsen SoundScan era in 1991, the album sold a further 450,000 copies as of August 2010.[65]

In Canada, the album was released on March 10, 1984, and debuted at eighty-seven on the RPM Albums Chart.[66] After six weeks, the album reached a peak of fifty-seven on the chart.[67] It entered the chart again, at position ninety-five, on August 4, 1984.[68] After twenty-nine weeks, it reached a new, much higher peak of sixteen.[69] The album was present on the chart for forty-seven weeks and was ranked at position fifty, on the RPM Top 100 Albums of 1984 list.[70][71] In the United Kingdom, the album was released on February 11, 1984, and charted on the UK Albums Chart, reaching a peak of thirty-seven and present on the chart for twenty weeks. After a re-release titled Madonna – The First Album in July 1985, the album charted again on the UK Albums chart. It reached a higher peak of fourteen and was present on the chart for eighty weeks.[41] Six months since the re-release, the album was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipment of 300,000 copies of the album.[72] In Australia, the album reached a peak of ten, on the Kent Music Report albums chart and was certified triple platinum.[37] The album reached the top ten in Netherlands, France and New Zealand; the last two markets, it was certified platinum.[73][74][75][76] It was also certified platinum in Hong Kong and gold in Germany and Spain.[77][78][79] Worldwide the album has sold more than ten million copies.[80]


Rolling Stone credited the album for pointing the direction for numerous female singers from Janet Jackson (left) to Debbie Gibson (right).

Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that with the album, Madonna began her career as a disco diva, in an era that did not have any such divas to speak of.[14] In the beginning of the 80s, disco was an anathema to the mainstream pop, and according to Erlewine, Madonna had a huge role in popularizing dance music as mainstream music, utilizing her charisma, chutzpah and sex appeal.[14]Rolling Stone wrote: "Indeed, initial response to Madonna gave no indication of the mania to follow. It took a year and a half for the album to go gold. But its assured style and sound, as well as Madonna's savvy approach to videos, helped the singer make the leap from dance diva to pop phenom, and it pointed the direction for a host of female vocalists from Janet Jackson to Debbie Gibson.[57]

According to biographer Andrew Morton, the album made Madonna a household name, and was instrumental in introducing her star power.[81] Martin Charles Strong, author of The Great Rock Discography felt that the album's unprecedented dance-pop and naive appeal served Madonna in establishing her base as an artist.[82] Kyle Anderson from Entertainment Weekly commented: "Madonna's sound, and of course her look, would be heavily copied for years to come, but Madonna heralded something much bigger: the arrival of the pop diva as a singular force who put personality above all else."[83] According to author Santiago Fouz-Hernández, the songs on Madonna reveal several key trends that have continued to define her success, including a strong dance-based idiom, catchy hooks, highly polished arrangement and Madonna's own vocal style. In songs such as "Lucky Star" and "Burning Up", Madonna introduced a style of upbeat dance music that would prove particularly appealing to future gay audiences.[84]

Music critics Bob Batchelor and Scott Stoddart, commented in their book The 1980s that "the music videos for the singles off the album, was more effective in introducing Madonna to the rest of the world."[85] Author Carol Clerk said that the music videos of "Burning Up", "Borderline" and "Lucky Star" established Madonna, not as the girl-next-door, but as a sassy and smart, tough funny woman. Her clothes worn in the videos were later used by designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Lacroix, in Paris Fashion week of the same year.[86] Professor Douglas Kellner, in his book Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity, and Politics Between the Modern and the Postmodern, commented that the videos depicted motifs and strategies which helped Madonna in her journey to become a star.[87] With the "Borderline" music video, Madonna was credited for breaking the taboo of interracial relationships and was considered one of her career-making moments. MTV played the video in heavy rotation, increasing Madonna's popularity further.[16]

Following the release of the album, Madonna was dismissed by some critics. They called her voice sounding as "Minnie Mouse on helium", while the other detractors suggested that she was "almost entirely helium, a gas-filled, lighter-than-air creation of MTV and other sinister media packagers."[88] Madonna said: "From the very beginning of my career, people have been writing shit about me and saying, 'She's a one-hit wonder, she'll disappear after a year'."[89] She responded the comment "Minnie Mouse on helium" by doing a photoshoot with Alberto Tolot, where she flirted with a giant Mickey Mouse toy, putting its hand inside her dress and looking at it with an admonishing glare. Author Debbi Voller noted that "such provocative imagery at a young age of her career, could have hurt her too much. But it went on to shut those twerps who dared to take a swag at her voice again."[90] Twenty-five years later, in her acceptance speech of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Madonna thanked the critics who snubbed her in the early years, "The ones that said I was talentless, that I was chubby, that I couldn't sing, that I was a one-hit wonder. They pushed me to be better, and I am grateful for their resistance."[91]

Track listings[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Lucky Star"   Madonna 5:37
2. "Borderline"   Lucas Lucas 5:18
3. "Burning Up"   Madonna
  • Lucas
  • Benitez[a]
4. "I Know It"   Madonna Lucas 3:47
5. "Holiday"   Benitez 6:08
6. "Think of Me"   Madonna Lucas 4:54
7. "Physical Attraction"   Lucas
  • Lucas
  • Benitez[a]
8. "Everybody"   Madonna Mark Kamins 4:57
  • "Burning Up" (Alternate Album Version) – 4:48, was used for the Vinyl edition of Madonna: The First Album, released in Europe in 1985. The same version was the b-side for the single "Angel" (1985) in the same countries.[93][94]
  • "Everybody" has a duration of 4:57 on the original 1983 album release; the 2001 remastered album includes a version which is 6:02, which is the original 12" version.
  • ^a signifies a remixer


  • Vinyl – includes the 8 track album and the 4:57 version of "Everybody".[92]
  • Cassette – includes the 8 track album and the 4:57 version of "Everybody".[92]
  • CD – includes the 8 track album and the 4:57 version of "Everybody".[92]
  • Longbox CD – includes the 8 track album and the 4:57 version of "Everybody".[92]
  • Vinyl (1985) – Re-released in Europe with new artwork and renamed as Madonna: The First Album. This format includes the same tracks as the original but includes "Burning Up" (Alternate Album Version) – 4:48. Also released as a limited edition with fold-out poster of the cover minus typography.[95][96]
  • Vinyl Picture Disc (1985) – Madonna: The First Album includes the same tracks as the original album.[97]
  • Cassette (1985) – Madonna: The First Album includes the same tracks as the original album.[95]
  • CD (1985) – Madonna: The First Album includes the same tracks as the original album.[95]
  • CD (2001) – Remastered 10-track edition includes all tracks from the original album and two bonus remixes of "Burning Up" and "Lucky Star". This version was released by Warner Bros. and also includes a longer version of "Everybody" – 6:02. This version replaced the 1985 international re-release and reverted the album back to its original artwork and title in those territories.[98]
  • Digital download (2005) – Same tracks as the 2001 remastered version, except for "Holiday" which is a 3:51 edited version.[99]
  • Vinyl (2012) – 8-track European reissue of the original album which includes the 4:57 version of "Everybody". This version was released by Warner Bros. and Rhino Entertainment.[100]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from the album's liner notes.[11]

Charts and certifications[edit]


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External links[edit]