Madonna – Like A Virgin (1984)

Written by on 20 March 2021

“Like a Virgin” is a song recorded by American singer Madonna for her second studio album Like a Virgin (1984). It was released on October 31, 1984, by Sire Records as the album’s lead single. The song was written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, and produced by Nile Rodgers; Steinberg said that the song was inspired by his personal experiences of romance. “Like a Virgin” was chosen for Madonna by Michael Ostin of Warner Bros. Records after listening to a demo sung by Kelly. Rodgers initially felt that the song did not have a sufficient hook, but subsequently changed his opinion after the song was stuck in his head.

Musically, “Like a Virgin” is a dance-oriented song, composed of two hooks. Madonna’s voice is heard in a high register while a continuous arrangement of synths is heard along with the bassline. The song’s lyrics are ambiguous, consisting of hidden innuendos and open to various interpretations. “Like a Virgin” received positive reviews from music critics, who frequently called it one of the defining songs for Madonna. It became her first number-one single on the record charts in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States, while reaching the top ten elsewhere. “Like a Virgin” has sold over five million copies worldwide.

The song’s music video portrayed Madonna sailing down the canals of Venice in a gondola, as well as roaming around a palace wearing a white wedding dress. With the video, scholars noted Madonna’s portrayal of a sexually independent and strong woman, the similarity of a man wearing a lion’s mask to that of Saint Mark and the link between the eroticism in the video and the vitality of Venice. Madonna has performed the song in seven of her concert tours. Most of the time, her performances of “Like a Virgin” were associated with strong reaction and uproar from the media.

“Like a Virgin” has been covered by a number of artists and has appeared in or been referenced in feature films such as Reservoir Dogs, Moulin Rouge! and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. On the other hand, Madonna’s public persona of an indomitable, sexually unashamed, supremely confident woman was widely accepted by the younger generation who emulated her style and fashion. Scholars have credited “Like a Virgin” as the song which cemented her position as a pop culture icon.

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