Despite the passing of years and changing of industry trends, Madge has stayed at the top of her game, and today celebrates a string of commercial successes 35 years strong, not to mention a family of six children and a history of philanthropy.
Pop’s long-reigning queen has brought much to the genre in her decades of stardom, and it seems we’ve only just discovered an adjective befitting of her contributions: EXTRA. The larger-than-life material girl has released some of the most enterprising music videos in the history of the form, so in honor of her and her unparalleled ability to express herself, we’ve narrowed them down to the six most outrageous ones out there.
Scroll down below for a Madge-ical stroll through the history of musical extravagance.
Like a Virgin (1984)
The Venice-shot video follows Madge as she dances atop moving gondolas in purple leggings and traipses about a gilded palace in a perfectly ‘80s wedding gown. Oh, and there’s a lion—he’s just around. There’s also a man wearing a lion mask, who happens to charm all versions of Madonna. Is this a metaphor for the beast within? Was there an Italian zookeeper seeking his 15 minutes of fame? Regardless, this video is about as extra as Madge vids get, and we love every second.
Open Your Heart (1986)
Madonna is literally a stripper giving a peep show in this risqué vid—the first of an overtly sexual nature to mark her oeuvre. Enter: the era of the cone bra and nipple tassels.
Express Yourself (1989)
What isn’t happening in this video? This sci-fi confection from director David Fincher (Fight Club, House of Cards) takes Madge from the back of an avian gargoyle to boudoir dancing in a slip and strutting her stuff in an oversize suit, a monocle held to her eye. She also sips milk from a bowl, like a cat (another star in this dystopian landscape). The short film is peppered with fight scenes (Fight Club inspo, perhaps?) and, as per uzsh, sheet-clad Madonna-centered foreplay.
Like a Prayer (1989)
Between the burning of crosses and Madge making out with a black Jesus, “Like a Prayer” had a lot of viewers up in arms. After the video was released, Pepsi dodged major fallout by pulling a $5 million ad campaign that featured the song—don't worry, she's still mad about it.
Justify My Love (1990)
The black and white video is pretty much the definition of NSFW (note: I write this as I watch the video at work). A platinum blonde Madonna simulates sex in lacy lingerie while costumed strangers grope each other at a racy hotel party. The video is so unmistakably provocative that MTV wouldn’t even play it!
No Madonna music video roundup is complete without mention of this era-defining classic. Where would the act of voguing be today were it not for Madge and her memorable suit-clad dancers?
Madonna entered Y2K as extravagantly as ever, alongside little-known comedian Sasha Baron Cohen as her gaudy limo driver-cum-DJ. Rocking a cowboy hat and fur coat, Madge grooves to her own beat with her champagne-sipping pals while Clip Art-styled words fill the screen with lyrics like “Boogie Woogie” and “Acid Rock.” Nothing says “Hello, 21st century” quite like neon bubble letters.