Michigan-born Madonna Louise Ciccone – Madonna for short – moved to New York City in her early 20s and soon became a fixture of the underground nightclub circuit. When her inaugural singles “Everybody” and “Burning Up” each reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart, she headed into the studio to record her eponymous first album. One of the most legendary careers in music history was thus born.
With the success of 1984’s “Like a Virgin” and 1986’s “True Blue,” Madonna established herself as the new Queen of Pop. Fusing elements of disco, freestyle, synth pop, balladry, and more, she pioneered an infectious sound that was uniquely her own. Audiences were simultaneously enraptured with her larger-than-life persona, which was at once sexually liberated and romantic. Oh, and did we mention she was also a fashion icon, movie star, and incredible live performer? (She’s one of at least 25 pop music stars who played dramatic roles in movies.)
Exhibiting a tireless approach to hard work, craftsmanship, and brand identity, Madonna would set a template for numerous pop stars to follow. Yet at the end of the day it was her musical growth that rendered the most durable impression among fans. As if dance-floor dominance wasn’t enough, mid-1990s albums such as “Bedtime Stories” featured sophisticated ballads and polished production styles, keeping her at the forefront of a shifting pop landscape.
Madonna would keep pace with pop trends or even lead the charge into the late 1990s and early 2000s with albums like “Ray of Light” and “Music,” the former of which won four Grammys and yielded five international hit singles. Still not done with her reign on the charts, Madonna released “Confessions of a Dance Floor” in 2005 and watched it peak at #1 in 40 different countries. Things began to cool off after that but she remains to this day a well-known artist who lives entirely on her own terms – and still reigns as one of the artists with the most No. 1 hits.
To determine Madonna’s top charting albums, 24/7 Tempo reviewed performance data on the Billboard 200 album charts. Albums were ranked based on an inverse score wherein a week at No. 1 is worth 200 points, a week at No. 2 worth 199 points, and so on, up to a week at No. 200 worth one point. Only studio albums were considered. Billboard data is current through the week of August 20, 2022.
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