To celebrate Madonna’s 61st birthday, it’s worth taking a look back at the best videos of her career. The ones that made fans want their MTV so they could see even more of what Madonna could do. From the Material Girl to Madame X, these are the videos from each decade of Madonna’s career that make her the pop star that never seems to fade.
“Like A Prayer” (1989)
It’s not easy widdling down Madonna’s best videos of her career, especially in the ’80s. But, if there’s a word to describe Madge throughout her life, it’s got to be “controversial.” That’s why we’re going with Madonna’s most controversial video, maybe ever—which is really saying something.
Between casting a Black Jesus and the burning crosses, the “Like A Prayer” video had many clutching their pearls and Pepsi dropping her from a lucrative sponsorship deal. But, she survived all the backlash and now it’s hard not to see this video as one of her most iconic.
The video that made everyone want to strike a pose will still move you nearly 30 years later. Madonna kicked off the Nineties by channeling Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, and Greta Garbo in this black and white clip directed by David Fincher. (Yes, the guy who directed Fight Club.) It’s also the moment when Madonna became a true gay icon. “Beauty’s where you find it,” she sings on the track, and there’s a lot of that to be found here.
When the DJ puts this record on, it’s hard not to think of Madonna in that cowboy hat and fur coat being chauffeured around by Ali G. This Jonas Åkerlund-video was many Americans introduction to Sacha Baron Cohen, but it might also be the beginning of the yeehaw agenda. Fun fact: Madonna filmed this gold-plated video while pregnant with her son, Rocco, so she really was dancing with her baby.
“B*tch I’m Madonna” (2015)
Three decades into her career and Madonna is still finding ways to wow her fans. This candy-coated video from her thirteenth album, Rebel, was filmed in “one-shot.” While this song, which features Nicki Minaj, is all about putting respect on Madonna’s name, the sugar rush of a video is a who’s who of Hollywood. Just like Pokémon, it won’t be easy to catch them all—Chris Rock, Katy Perry, Rita Ora are just some of the celebs that pop up—since this video moves so fast. But what this clips really shows is that there is only one Madonna. Never forget.