“Everybody” is the song that started it all for Madonna. An early version of the dance track served as Madonna’s demo that she would pitch to New York DJs and nightclubs. The demo version of the song was recorded before Madonna was signed to a record label, but it’s what got the attention of producer Seymour Stein.
After getting signed to Sire Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros, “Everybody” became Madonna’s first official single. The song really started to take off because dance music was popular in the early 80s. The song peaked at #3 in the charts, which was quite an achievement for a debut. Madonna even made her TV debut with the song, performing it on “Dancin’ on Air” in 1983.
Her Big Break
It’s pretty amazing to think that Madonna rose from relative obscurity to massive fame in just a few short years. It all started in 1981 when Madonna got signed to Gotham Records after striking up a friendship with Camille Barbone. Camille took Madonna under her wing and helped get her signed with Gotham, her first big break into the music business.
Camille mentored Madonna and even acted as her manager for a year. Before signing with Gotham, people would sometimes comment on how great her singing voice was, but Madonna dismissed these compliments because she didn’t think she could sing. Although Madonna’s first demo under Camille was a flop, it was the first time she felt as if people were taking her seriously.
Madonna Meets Mark
Once Madonna recorded her first demo, she began working the dance and nightclub circuit to try and get her music played. This was how she met DJ Mark Kamins, who would change her life forever. The two struck up a romantic relationship, and Mark used his connections to get Madonna a meeting with Seymour Stein.
Any music buff will instantly recognize that name. Seymour Stein was the president of Sire Records at the time and was famous for launching the careers of the Ramones and the Talking Heads, to name a few. Stein signed Madonna for two singles to start, and the rest is history.
“Burning Up” the Charts
“Burning Up” is still one of Madonna’s most iconic songs. Every fan knows it, and it’s constantly played on the radio. It’s wild to think that the catchy chorus was part of one of Madonna’s earliest songs. In fact, it was her second official single after signing with Sire Records. “Burning Up” was an original demo that she had created with her ex Stephen Bray, and the song made it all the way to her debut album.
Many people like to discredit pop stars for simply lipsyncing and dancing, but that’s not the case with Madonna. She wrote the lyrics to both “Burning Up” and “Everybody,” both of which helped launch her career into the limelight.
“To Rule the World”
Madonna’s debut album came out in 1983, and her career immediately took off. Her fame was cemented with her performance on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” on January 14, 1984. Madonna performed her iconic hit “Holiday” in an all-black, totally 80s ensemble of leggings, a fishnet top, and perfectly teased hair.
Madonna wasn’t going to let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pass her by. She knew she had to make a big impression with Dick Clark and the hundreds of thousands of people watching at home. In her post-performance interview, Madonna was on fire, replying to Dick Clark’s questions with confidence. When he asked, “What are your dreams? What’s left?” Madonna simply replied, “To rule the world.”