What is rock ‘n’ roll? Wait,
that question probably requires too much thought for a Monday. Instead,
ponder this: is Madonna a rocker?
My first response to the question
is, “does it matter?” But since the announcement of Madonna’s induction into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame, the blogosphere has been rife with complaints that the pop star does not deserve
the honor. The controversy is not about her contributions to musical
culture, but whether her music actually is rock ‘n’ roll.
You know, my response still
is “does it matter?” Return with me, if you will, to Madonna:
The Early Years — 1984, to be exact.
I know much of AfterEllen.com’s
readership is too young to remember 1984. But trust me, “Like a
Virgin” was scandalous. As was Madonna.
She’s done a pretty good job
of staying scandalous
ever since, reinventing
herself over and over to keep her edge. Not every incarnation has been
golden (American Life — ak!), but her influence on music — all
kinds of music — is undeniable. So, to celebrate Madonna’s enshrinement
tonight, here are some of my favorite Madonna musical moments.
“Material Girl” was
Madonna’s second hit, but the first one I wasn’t embarrassed to sing
out loud in front of other people. Hey, I was brought up as a Southern
Baptist in Texas.
My first Madonna concert was
in 1987 — the Who’s That Girl Tour. It was a somewhat surreal
experience for me because she was in Texas Stadium, where I had attended
a Billy Graham crusade in my evangelical days. Both were religious
I think my favorite Madonna
song still is the one that got her in the most trouble — 1989’s “Like
Madonna trivia of the day:
“Like a Prayer” debuted in a Pepsi commercial, which had none of the controversial
symbolism of the MTV version of the video. But apparently people couldn’t
separate the two videos in their minds, so Pepsi had to pull the commercial.
Madonna got to keep her $5 million endorsement fee. Some prayer.
Remember when we learned that
Madonna could act? Argentina wasn’t
thrilled with the
casting of Eva Peron. But Evita earned Madonna a Golden
Globe. And it earned the rest of us this rendition of “Don’t Cry
for Me, Argentina.”
A friend of mine insists that
I was with her at a concert in Madison Square Garden during the Drowned
World Tour in 2001. She also insists that she doesn’t do drugs. But
I’ve never been to Madison Square Garden. If nothing else, I would’ve
remembered these arms.
Madonna’s last tour was the
infamous Confessions Tour. I love this promo photo.
As usual, the performance ticked
off religious groups, especially the song “Live to Tell.”
I can’t imagine why.
The new album, Hard Candy,
is due to be released in April. Meanwhile, you can catch the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony tonight on VH1 Classic at 8:30 p.m.
EDT. Best Buy also will carry a live stream.
So, what do you think? Is Madonna
worthy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? What’s your favorite Madonna
song? Album? Outfit? Gratuitous bisexual moment?