The 1980s music scene would not be the same without Madonna. It was 1983 when her self-titled album began shaking up the music industry.
A year later her second album entitled “Like a Virgin” was released and ended up spending 6 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts. And the first song on that second album was none other than “Material Girl”.
While many people remember hearing the song coming over the radio, it was MTV that brought her music to life. “Material Girl” was one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s, and its popularity really cemented Madonna as a bona fide superstar.
Material Girl By Madonna
The song “Material Girl” was not written by Madonna. Rather, the song was written by Robert Rans and Peter Brown. At the time, Madonna was a very career-oriented woman, and she felt that the song applied to her on a personal level.
Although she was not materialistic herself, she viewed the career-oriented woman, as being attracted to the idea of possessing material things over emotions. To her the lyrics of the song were provocative, and that is where she saw herself as a performing artist.
Material Girl On the Charts
It was 1985 when “Material Girl” made its grand debut on the Billboard music charts. As “Like a Virgin” made its way into the top 10, “Material Girl” was not far behind at the number 43 position. Together, both singles worked their way to the top, and eventually “Material Girl” topped out at the number 2 spot.
Shortly after, the song became one of the hottest dance club songs of the decade and was featured on both pop as well as hip-hop charts. But its popularity wasn’t just in the United States, as it also climbed the Canadian and UK charts as well. Eventually, the British Phonographic Industry certified the song as gold after more than 400,000 copies were sold.
The Nod To Marilyn Monroe
When Madonna thought about the lyrics of the song “Material Girl”, the first thing that came to her mind was Marilyn Monroe. In the film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, Marilyn Monroe performed the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”, and Madonna knew that she could see herself mimicking that performance with “Material Girl”.
So with that vision in mind, Madonna sat down with the director and prepared a music video that would leave MTV viewers wanting even more.
The Material Girl Music Video
The music video itself was designed to not only mimic the scene from the 1953 film, where Marilyn Monroe performed “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”, but also showcase Madonna’s abilities as an actress. It wasn’t just about her singing, rather she wanted to include her ability to showcase her other natural talents too.
And while Madonna had gone out of her way to make her live shows as spectacular as possible, nothing could come close to the cinematic effect achieved through music videos. With the help of the dance routines that had been used in the film, Madonna’s love interest in the video presented her with daisies, instead of diamonds.
Since its initial release back in the 1980s, Madonna’s “Material Girl” has sold 20 million copies worldwide. The song has been covered by nearly 100 other musicians selling a combined total of more than 2 million copies. Today, the official YouTube video has well over 100 million views.