Happy 50th Birthday Madonna!

Posted on: 15 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Madonna turns 50 on 16th August. We take a look at who else is reaching their half-century in 2008.

Who knew when Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in 1958 that 50 years later she would be the Queen of Pop music?

You could also call her the Queen of Controversy. She has made many headlines, from her use of Catholic imagery in the Like A Prayer video, condemned by the Vatican, and her book Sex full of explicit photos, to her steamy stage kiss with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 MTV Awards, her adoption of a Malawian boy and her Kabbalah faith.

Yet with 13 number ones and 62 top tens in the UK, and record sales of over 200,000,000 worldwide, Madonna is a musical superstar. From feel-good tunes like Material Girl and Get Into The Groove and saucy numbers such as Like A Virgin, to dance tracks like Ray Of Light and Hung Up, the hits have kept coming for 25 years.

She has also sung a James Bond theme - Die Another Day - and starred in many movies alongside her musical career, from Desparately Seeking Susan and Dick Tracy to Evita. Her breadth of work and ability to keep on changing her style has ensured her wide and enduring appeal.

Madonna is not the only pop icon hitting the big 5-0 this year. Michael Jackson turns 50 on 29th August, and Prince, Paul Weller and Duran Duran's Simon LeBon celebrate the landmark birthday too. They are joined by rock chicks Joan Jett and Toyah Wilcox, rapper Ice-T and the more alternative Kate Bush and Gary Numan.

Glamorous stars of the big screen who are reaching their half-century include Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Andie McDowell, Holly Hunter and 'the body' Jamie Lee Curtis. Some of them look better now than they did in their 20s. Can the same be said of Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Daniel Day Lewis, Alec Baldwin or Viggo Mortenson?

Will Rik Mayall, Jennifer Saunders and Lenny Henry be looking for laughter lines in the mirror after this year's birthday? Other homegrown talent turning 50 includes Miranda Richardson, Frances Barber, Caroline Langrishe, and Nick Park, creator of that intrepid and inventive over 50, Wallace, owner of Gromit.

Prince Albert II of Monaco, son of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, is 50 this year. Sportsmen Daley Thompson and Kriss Akabusi also reach the big 5-0.

Take some time to celebrate with this video of Madonna's first UK chart hit, Holiday, which reached number 6 in 1983 and number 2 in 1985. She is modelling the skirt over leggings, layers of chunky jewellery, bleached hair and bold make-up that created the first of her many iconic and much-imitated looks.

What's Your View?

Is Madonna an inspiration or over-exposed? Do you think she looks fab at fifty or should she give up the yoga, strict diet and saucy clothes?

Who's your favourite famous 50 year old?

You can share your views by leaving a comment below or visiting the 50connect forum.

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