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Madonna Louise Ciccone, 16 August 1958, Bay City, Michigan, USA. An icon for female pop stars thanks to her proven ability to reinvent herself while retaining complete control of her career, Madonna is also one of the most commercially successful artists in the history of popular music. Without doubt an artist with ‘star quality’, no other female singer in the pop arena has been as prominent or as successful over such a long period.

The young Madonna Louise Ciccone excelled at dance and drama at high school and during brief periods at colleges in Michigan and North Carolina. In 1977, she went to New York, studying with noted choreographer Alvin Ailey and taking modelling jobs. Two years later, Madonna moved to France to join a show featuring disco singer Patrick Hernandez. There she met Dan Gilroy and, back in New York, the pair formed club band the Breakfast Club. Madonna played drums and sang with the band before setting up Emmy...

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