Follow Billboard. All rights reserved. The history of pop music can essentially be divided into two eras: pre-Madonna and post-Madonna. Michael Jackson sold more albums and Prince was more prolific, but of the three singular musical icons born in , Madonna is still the one who most set the template for what a pop star could and should be: bold, brilliant, ambitious, consistently innovative and constantly evolving. Before Madonna, artists could be considered daring if they reinvented themselves with each new album; she sped up the pace to where she was doing so practically with each music video, defining "iconic" so many times over she eventually had to make a song about it. Unlike many of her superstar predecessors and peers, there is no one true definitive Madonna sound or album -- rather, there are a couple dozen definitive Madonna eras, which could last as long as four years or as short as, well, four minutes.
Madonna has been commanding the world's attention since she released her first album in At the time, the young pop star's rise to fame was as much a result of her eye-catching image as it was her impressive vocals. Every girl wanted to be her—including Ree Drummond, who vividly remembers " the good old days " when Madonna wore fishnet tights, fingerless gloves, and huge bows in her hair. While teenagers were certainly captivated by the Material Girl's style, they also couldn't get enough of Madonna's songs. Besides an instant feeling of nostalgia, perhaps the greatest thing about Madonna's songs is that she offers something for every mood. Some make everyone in the room want to "Get Into the Groove" while others encourage women to never go for second best. Over the course of the Queen of Pop's long career, she has proved that she can do it all—and so can you! Press play on some of Madonna's greatest hits and "Express Yourself. It worked, because fans couldn't wait for the unveiling of her official music video later that year. In other words, it's perfect for a dance party!
It's hard to imagine music without Madonna. It seems like she's always been there, changing the game and reinventing herself. But the Material Baby — born Madonna Louise Ciccone — arrived as a gift from the pop heavens over 60 years ago on Aug. Twenty-four years later she released her first single, "Everybody," and then dropped her self-titled debut album in Since then, she's never looked back. To celebrate the woman who has always justified our love, EW has expanded our initial Best Madonna singles list to