Like A Virgin, Touched for the Thirtieth Year

To think that the Like a Virgin album came out thirty years ago on November 12th is remarkable when one considers that, in spite of the iconic nature of Madonna’s sophomore album, she would go on to make still more seminal music (with legendary visual incarnations to go with it). Musically speaking, Like A Virgin was a small progression from Madonna’s debut self-titled album. With her second record, it was all about getting the world to recognize her image and, more importantly, her penchant for scandal.

Single cover for "Like A Virgin"
Single cover for “Like A Virgin”
The video and single wasn’t going to be enough to enrage to the level Madonna wanted to, but a salacious live performance would surely do the trick. Hence, the 1st Annual MTV Video Music Awards spectacle during which Madonna writhed on the floor in a wedding gown (much to Cher’s dismay). The result was just what Madonna always wanted: everyone talking about her.
In spite of the seeming artfulnness with which Madonna goes about her stage antics, there is an innocence about her performance this early on in her career, as though there’s still a part of her that isn’t quite sure that this level of fame is real yet. But after “Like A Virgin” charted at number one on Billboard for six weeks, the reality was cemented for life. The other songs on the album served the pop star well, too (“Material Girl” and “Dress You Up” being her other most notable tracks from the record), but it was her shrewd re-branding as an anti-virginal vamp that solidified the tone for the rest of M’s career. Oh, and “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” was thrown in as an early precursor to show us that she could sing as well.