Saturday 20 December 2014

Rock and roles: Madonna keeps the party going as she hits 50

Vicky Shaw in London

Published 16/08/2008 | 00:00

Madonna looks far from sweet as she poses as a leather-clad, fish-netted dominatrix for the cover of her new album 'Hard Candy', which is already taking the world by storm
Madonna looks far from sweet as she poses as a leather-clad, fish-netted dominatrix for the cover of her new album 'Hard Candy', which is already taking the world by storm

Madonna reaches her half century today and, as befits the biggest female star in the world, will be less focussed on celebrating and more preoccupied with her world tour.

As she blows out the candles on her cake there is no sign of her quenching her insatiable appetite for controversy. The queen of pop is nowhere close to hanging up her crown.

The singer has the knack of constant reinvention, from cone corsets, her 'Sex' book and kissing Britney Spears, to becoming a children's author and raising awareness about the effects of HIV in Malawi.

According to Guinness World Records, Madonna is the most successful female solo artist by a country mile. She has sold around 120 million albums and 40 million singles -- more than any other female.

Not one to be accused of slowing down, the fit singer is preparing for her Sticky And Sweet world tour.

Her spokeswoman was keeping tight-lipped about exactly how Madonna will be celebrating.

The 'Mirror' recently reported that a lavish do at her country estate in Wiltshire may have to be postponed due to Madonna suffering a bad ankle.

Despite world domination, Madonna has not always had her own way.

In recent years, she has had to face rumours of marriage difficulties with film director husband Guy Ritchie, as well as controversy over her adoption of Malawian child David Banda.

The singer has two other children, a son, Rocco, and a daughter named Lourdes.

At the Cannes Film Festival this year, Madonna introduced a screening of her documentary 'I Am Because We Are' about the effects of Aids in Malawi, saying the film was a "labour of love''.

A new poll of more than 1,200 Madonna fans, conducted by MSN Entertainment, named 'Like A Prayer' as her best song of all time. The album of the same name also topped the poll as Madonna's best.

Of all her fashion moments, the golden cone corset was voted as the best to date, beating her 1980s Marilyn Monroe look and black bangles and fingerless gloves.

As she enters her 50s, fans are most keen for 'Madge'' to continue releasing albums (30pc), followed by writing her autobiography (23pc).

Her latest reincarnation is as a shrewd businesswoman, after she severed ties with long-term record label Warner Brothers to sign up with Live Nation, a company that until recently specialised in music tours.

Madonna's wealth is estimated to be in excess of €272m. And, as well as earning €81m over the life of the agreement with Warner Brothers, Madonna appeared to be among the first to recognise which way the industry was heading.

Recorded music, many artists now believe, is making them less money than concerts, meaning they are looking to spend less time in the recording studio and more on the stage.

The last few years have not all been easy for Madonna, however.

Her decision in 2006 to adopt a young Malawian boy whose mother died was controversial both in the southern African country and further afield.

Aid groups in Malawi said the authorities had bent the rules to accommodate the superstar, and the adoption was challenged in court. Not for the first time, Madonna prevailed and the adoption went through.

And her eight-year marriage to Ritchie has also come under increasing scrutiny after tabloid newspapers in Britain have reported that the couple are planning to divorce.

Ritchie and Madonna have denied the reports.

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