MADONNA – LIKE A VIRGIN
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I was not like the other children growing up. I didn’t take dance class or watch Sesame Street. I wasn’t even a regular Jew—my family celebrated Christmas. One of my earlier memories is the Christmas of 1990. I was eight years old. I don’t remember much from old memories like this, just glimpses. But I do remember 3 presents I received that year: a walkman and two cassette tapes. Aunt Marcie sent me Madonna’s Immaculate collection and Richard Marx’s Repeat Offender. These were two of the first albums I ever owned (others included New Kids on the Block’s self titled debut, Mariah Carey’s self-titled debut, and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band).
I’m not totally sure why Marcie sent me Richard Marx. God only knows what she was thinking! (Okay, “Right Here Waiting” was huge at the time. Fair enough.) But Madonna’s Immaculate Collection was genius on her part. I loved music. While my peers were watching Eureka’s Castle, I was watching VH1’s Top 10 Countdown. I thought it was a serious competition. Was I routing for The Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian” or Guns N’ Roses’ “G N’ R Lies”? Oh, who can remember?! But I wanted to know who was going to take that number 1 spot! My mom began to worry that music videos were too sexual and warping my mind. Perhaps she was right? The world may never know.
I love love loved the video for “Material Girl”. Yes, okay, music videos were most likely warping my mind! I remember having vivid daydreams of Madonna being my vocal coach, cone bra and all. She may have been a salacious performer, but she was simply an icon to me. A beacon of creativity and abandon. I wanted to be a singer! Much to my brother’s annoyance. I would sing on and on into the night, in bed, after bedtime, serenading Berry the Bear and Swisty the Mouse to the pounding on the wall from my next door neighbor.
Old memories are so curious. They make simple things seem larger than life. Liking Madonna when none of my friends knew any music outside of Sharon, Lois, and Bram made me feel like I had this big secret. I had discovered Madonna! She was mine! Along with just about every other human on the planet. But that is neither here nor there. This is pre-internet. I had no idea what was happening outside of Ealy Elementary School, let alone other countries!
So I did become a singer songwriter. Not with aspirations on the level of Madonna, but a songwriter nonetheless. I believe we know what we want from a very young age. The Immaculate Collection cassette and video for “Material Girl” really were the beginning of it all for me. I am a material girl in a material world! Just look at my record collection! And I finally got to see Madonna perform last November. My friend Chad and I saw her at Madison Square Garden. She didn’t go on until 11pm, the bitch. But damn, girl can still work a stage! She blew my mind. And even with my mind blown and my memories thrumming my heartstrings, it’s time to say…
Goodbye, Like A Virgin.