It’s safe to say that the topic of women in pop music – if not pop culture – can be broken down into two distinct categories: before Madonna and after Madonna.
Artists from across the spectrum have long cited Madge for her groundbreaking music videos, longevity, for breaking down stereotypes, for shepherding female empowerment and for infusing pop music with some good old fashioned sex…and never being ashamed of it.
Liz Phair: “You know who I think doesn't get enough credit? Madonna for her giant, wide, swath of road she paved for us all after her to travel on, you know? Madonna is the speedboat, and the rest of us are just the Go-Go's on water skis.”
Ariana Grande: "She is strength, she is freedom, she is wisdom beyond anybody's comprehension.”
Paulina Rubio: "I've admired her since I was a little girl and I love her because she is strong, she's a warrior, and she doesn't let anybody tell her what to do and she's an inspiration."
Beyonce: "I felt like I wanted follow in the footsteps of Madonna and be a powerhouse and have my own empire. She showed other women when you get to a point in your career, you don't have to go sign with someone else and share your money and your success, you can do it yourself."
Cher: "Actually I think Madge might be one of the most amazing artists I've known. She always saw trends WAY before anyone else, and had great videos."
Mary J. Blige: “I don't think the music business, as far as females, would be anything without Madonna”
Sinéad O'Connor: "I love her, I adore her and I respect her. I pity her for all the analysis she has to put up with.”
Bjork: “She made it look good to control your own life when that was something that was not supposed to be very sexy for a woman. She's one of the few women who has remained true to herself.”
Christina Aguilera: "I do look up to Madonna as a businesswoman. I enjoy looking back at the body of her work and the different changes. I love the fact that she’s been a risk-taker, and pretty fearless in some of her choices.”
Katy Perry: “If I could, I'd have Madonna's career. She is the ultimate in female pop music, and she's like the Energizer bunny.”
And one of Rdio’s Artists To Watch, Sky Ferreira, has said, “She inspires me to be strong, fearless and smart. She’s more than just sexy or someone with good songs; she’s the type of woman I want to be. I want to inspire people the way she has.” Lucky for us, Sky has inspired us with an exclusive playlist of her favorites by The Material Girl, right on time for the Queen Of Pop’s birthday.
And since it’s birthday cake time, we compiled a 56-song playlist of Madonna songs you might not have heard; one for every year of her life. Happy Birthday!