“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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
A Fashion Icon
How many of us have dressed up as Madonna for Halloween? Her look from the 80s was truly iconic, and her signature off-the-shoulder tops and leggings have become synonymous with the era. It’s not just a nostalgia thing. Madonna was a fashion icon to teenagers across the country when she rose to fame in the 80s.
No one else was dressing in quite the same way, and Madonna quickly became known for her unique and bold style. In a rare 1984 interview with MTV, the interviewer asked Madonna if she was the one behind her signature look. You can practically see Madonna roll her eyes at the inane question. “You think someone else could come up with this?” she replied. Touché.