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Lesson Transcript

Top 10 American Songs—"Like a Virgin," Madonna
In early 1984, with an album and two hit singles under her belt, Madonna was well known but not a superstar. That all changed when she released "Like a Virgin." Overnight it made Madonna a household name and its success became the foundation for her illustrious career.
"Like a Virgin" was written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg and selected for Madonna by Michael Ostin, who was working at Warner Bros Records at the time. Though initially reluctant, Madonna's producer Nile Rodgers agreed to have her record the song.
Musically, it's a dance number like most of the songs in Madonna's catalogue. It has a distinctive bassline which plays throughout the song. The beat doesn't change and plays in a continuous rhythm while Madonna sings in a high register. Her voice switches between low and high tones, but most of the song is sung in a high tone.
The lyrics of the song did cause a lot of controversy at the time. On the one hand, the use of the word "virgin" in the title caused social groups to request the banning of the song. On the other hand, it solidified Madonna's image as a fashion icon.
The music video for "Like a Virgin" is among Madonna's most famous. Madonna appears in a white wedding dress and roams around a palace and rides around Venice in a gondola. There is a lot of erotic symbolism in the video, like the man in a lion mask. It was ranked number 61 on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Videos.
Even with all the controversy, the song was appreciated by critics and audiences. "Like a Virgin" became Madonna's first number 1 single in the US, staying atop the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. It also reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart.