Should today be a national “Holiday?” Forty years ago — July 27, 1983 — Madonna‘s debut album was released and the world — or at least, the world of pop music — would never be the same.
Following the success of her 1982 debut single “Everybody,” Madonna got the green light to record a full album. The producers she worked with brought a few tracks to the project, but out of eight final tracks, Madonna was the sole writer on five of them, including “Lucky Star,” “Burnin’ Up” and “Everybody.”
The album entered the Billboard 200 album chart at #190, but by October of 1984, it had climbed into the top 10, thanks to the hits “Holiday,” “Lucky Star” and “Borderline,” not to mention Madonna’s videos, which inspired girls everywhere — nicknamed “Madonnawannabes” — to start wearing fingerless lace gloves, rubber bracelets, “Boy Toy” belts and crucifix earrings.
Within a year, Madonna had sold nearly three million copies and it’s since been RIAA-certified for sales of five million copies, though it’s likely sold many more than that.
The album helped take dance music to a mainstream audience, with some critics stating that, with it, Madonna single-handedly launched the dance-pop genre. In 2011, Rolling Stone ranked it #50 on its list of the Top 100 Albums of the ’80s, and quoted Madonna herself as saying, “It influenced a lot of people. I think it stands up well. It just took a long time for people to pay attention to me —and I thank God they did!”
In 2022, Rolling Stone ranked Madonna among the 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time, writing that it introduced “the most important female voice in the history of modern music.”
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