Happy Birthday, Madonna! 56 Reasons Why We Love The Queen Of Pop In GIFs

It’s that time of year again. Madonna’s birthday. Otherwise known as August 16.

The Queen of Pop was born in Bay City, Michigan 56 years ago today. Whether you’re a fan of her music or not, there’s no denying the lasting impression she’s had on pop culture over the past 31 years. She’s sold over 300 million records, performed in thousands of sold-out stadiums around the world, won countless awards, and amounted an estimated $700 million fortune in the process. And she’s not finished yet. Word on the street is, she’s putting on the finishing touches to her thirteenth studio album due out some time this year.

Our love for Madge is long and strong. To commemorate her latest birthday, we’ve compiled 56 GIFs — one for each year of her life — that explain just why we love her.

Scroll down to check them out. And join us in wishing Madonna a very happy birthday. Long live the queen!

56. She knows how to rock a pink leotard.

55. That time she breast fed a Cabbage Patch Doll.

54. She knows where happiness lies.

53. She can kick Lady Gaga’s ass.

52. The graceful way in which she rides a mechanical bull.

51. This hat.

50. That time she painted her entire body silver.

49. She doesn’t give a %!&# what you think about her.

48. No seriously, she doesn’t give a %!&#.

47. That time she caught a live squid while dressed in a black bikini.

46. She uses big words.

45. She can pop her booty better than you.

44. She can wear tassels better than you, too.

43. She tells it like it is.

42. Her high kick is flawless.

41. She knows her strengths.

40. And she knows her weaknesses.

39. Did we mention her high kick is flawless?

38. She’s like a fountain of wisdom overflowing with profound spiritual advice.

37. She chews gum and files her nails just like everybody else.

36. The dramatic way in which she closes her car door.

35. She always gets what she wants.

34. And she won’t be interrupted. 

33. She doesn’t let anyone get in her way.

32. And if you do get in her way, you better watch the %!&# out!

31. She looks way sexy in a body suit.

30. Her energy knows no bounds.

29. That time she pretended to play an old piano while wearing rabbit ears and a corset.

28. That time she rolled around on stage in a wedding dress at the MTV Music Video Awards.

27. Her taste for younger men.

26. This butterfly mask.

25. She’s not afraid to let her hair down.

24. Her rendition of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.”

23. Her ability to sexualize anything. Even a game of chess.

22. She knows how to make an entrance.

21. And she knows just when to exit. 

20. That time she did this.

19. Her mad bubble gum blowing abilities.

18. How she always surrounds herself with beautiful men no matter what.

17. Sometimes she’s just over it.

16. She is her own hero.

15. That time she threw a baseball on Ellen while wearing a custom-made Jean Paul Gaultier bodice.

14. That time she licked a microphone while dressed in her underwear in front of a stadium full of people.

13. The gold tooth.

12. Sometimes she makes mistakes. (She’s only human, after all.)

11. But at least she looks great when wet.

10. Oprah is a huge fan of her music. Huge.

9. She believes in love.

8. She doesn’t like hydrangeas and she’s not going to apologize for it.

7. She can twirl around really fast without getting dizzy.

6. She’s not afraid to call people out on their crap.

5. She’s rich as hell.

4. She’s probably the only person in the world who can pull off wearing a jean jacket as a shirt.

3. That time she had us seeing triples.

2. She doesn’t have any regrets.

1. That time she deep-throated a bottle then swallowed its contents.

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  • Saint Law


  • Desert Boy

    She hasn’t recorded a decent song since ‘Vogue’. When was that? 1991?

  • AtticusBennett

    happy beeday! way back in 1998, i was a 16 year old and i couldn’t’ get enough of RAY OF LIGHT. that album changed me, and i dare say helped me to Come Out.

    so, thanks madonna! for years of dancefloor grooves, your knockout perf in EVITA, and continually pushing the envelope.

  • jeau

    At 60 years old, I’m just glad I got a good 4 years in before I had to share the planet with her.
    She will never , ever go away…..
    Wish Silvester was still around, now THAT girl could sing!

  • Random

    @jeau: Oh dear. You sound like a bitter old queen!

  • robho3

    I don’t love Madonna.

  • michael mellor

    Madonna seems to have been an image-thief who appropriated cultural icons – such as Marilyn Monroe – for her own personal gain. She also could not sing live, which was a huge disappointment to those who aren’t familiar with the studio tricks that are used to disguise a bad voice.

    As for her hairstyles, the way they changed reminded me of a psych patient. I suppose she needed a gimmick to keep the useful idiots entertained.

  • Random

    @michael mellor: Madonna can sing live. There’s loads of examples that can easily found on Youtube, but perhaps the best example is her ’91 Academy Award performance of the Sondheim-penned Sooner or Later. She totally delivered that song and it rightly won an Oscar.

    But in any case, the whole singing live discussion is overplayed when it comes to pop stars. The fact is, the fans don’t really care as long as they get a good show, and no one does a good show as well as Madonna.

  • jd2222248

    Why are people hating on Madonna? Jealous is flattery! :-)

  • michael mellor

    Any credibility possessed by Madonna was lost when she kissed Britney Spears at the MTV music awards in 2002. It proved she was an attention-seeker who props up the sleazy straight guy fantasy for girl-girl action. Her concern for GLBT rights was shown to be shallow.

    • Random

      @michael mellor: She featured gay men in her work at a time when it wasn’t fashionable to do so, which made a palpable difference in the long road to acceptance in terms of pop culture. This was well before Queer as Folk and before Will and Grace.

      And she famously kissed a girl long before 2002 in her 1990 Justify My Love video, and then went much further than mouth to mouth action in her ’92 Sex book, which many gay women praised her for.

      The fact is, no other mainstream performer has done as much as Madonna in terms of increasing LGBT visibility and acceptance.

  • lioness65

    The Greatest Entertainer in the Planet. Madonna is who she is and he/she who doesn’t get it is because you are not. Dig it? Long Live the QUEEN of Pop!

  • Masc Pride

    Why do gay men continue to worship this talentless whore?

  • Random

    @Masc Pride: Talentless whore? Hmmm…sounds like you have issues about a woman expressing her sexuality. And that sort of criticism is no different to a homophobe calling you a ‘dirty faggot’, which I assume you wouldn’t find acceptable.

  • nf0603

    I love the irony that most Madonna haters are people who worship Lady Gaga. Gaga was born in 1986, I was listening to Madonna in 1984-1985. Madonna wins on that alone.

    And before you get on Madonna for “stealing” other people’s looks and sounds and whatever, don’t idolize someone whose entire gimmick is copying Bowie, Grace Jones and Madonna.

  • michael mellor


    Madonna’s fake lesbian acts were designed to prop up the sleazy straight guy fantasy and not to help the GLBT cause.

  • Random

    If straight men happened to be turned on by Madonna with another woman, what’s so wrong wuth that? Are women who enjoy seeing two men together (which Madonna has also featured in her work) sleazy for doing so as well? But in any case, I know of many gay women who have found Madonna empowering figure in pop culture so that, by default, is helping the LGBT cause, whether that was her intention or not.

  • michael mellor


    Madonna empowered her bank account and not other women. Almost everything she did was designed to make money for herself and her enabler Liz Rosenberg.

    • Random

      @michael mellor: I think the fact that the charts are full of Madonna-wannabes who regularly speak of her direct influence, shows your opinion to be wrong.

  • nf0603

    @michael mellor:

    Do you really think Gaga gives any more of a damn about the LGBT community? BS. It’s all been calculated as well by her because she knows that if she gets in good with the gays at the start of her career she’d be set for the rest of it, so don’t try to martyrise her while throwing Madonna to the wolves.

  • Cobalt Blue

    It’s amazing how far this trash managed to go. A singer with no voice, an actress with no great acting skills but “there she is”! Her carreer says a lot about our world and our times.

  • Random

    @Cobalt Blue: Except she can sing. Look up Sooner or Later/Oscars on Youtube and you’ll see Madonna in fine voice – 100% live.

  • seaguy

    Because she is the undisputed Queen of Pop and all the haters can go to hell.

  • Random

    @seaguy: Exactly.

    I notice most of the people criticising her here are really just regurgitating tired old lines like ‘ She can’t sing.’, ‘She’s talentless’ and perhaps most shamefully for a gay site ‘She’s a whore’. They have to attack her personally because, in actual fact, many of her songs have easily stood the test of time and are considered pop classic, her videos of the 80s and 90s broke new ground for the artform, and her sell out tours are considered benchmarks for all other pop artists to aspire to. By any measure, these are incredible achievements and personally, especially for a teenager who turned up in New York with nothing but a few bucks in her pocket, and head full of dreams.

  • pressuredrop

    I’m going to sound like one of the troll posters, but I really don’t understand why we’re expected to accept Madonna just because we are gay. Her “commitment” to gay rights has always been a marriage of convenience. She thrived on shock value, and supporting gays was shocking in the 80’s. I would put Lady Gaga on the same level musically — and, really, we’re not going to go into copycat comparisons when a good chunk of Madonna’s hit songs sound suspiciously similar to less-popular foreign tracks that predate her own limpid pop muzak — but at least Lady Gaga was unquestionably tied to gay culture from her earliest career rumblings, meaning the unwavering legion of gay supporters makes sense.

  • Random


    ”…at least Lady Gaga was unquestionably tied to gay culture from her earliest career rumblings.”

    How? From everything I’ve seen and heard about Lady Gaga, she has no organic connection to the gay community whatsoever. Madonna on the other hand, has a gay brother, who danced with her in the early days before going on to design two of her tours, as well as having loads of gay friends such as Christopher Flynn, who encouraged her to dance and took her to her first gay club. There were other key gay friends too like Martin Burgoyne, who designed a couple of her single covers, and the famous artists Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, who created art for her.

    But really, Lady Gaga wouldn’t have a career without Madonna and as we’re already seeing after only 5 years, Gaga is on the way down because people have realised we don’t need a ‘new Madonna’, when the first one is still going strong.

  • DeeJayMiles

    Never liked her, particularly as she got older and picked up that Gwennith Paltrow cu*nt vibe. I too wish she would finally just go away. She spent decades ridiculing the church while preaching tolerance and inclusion out the other side of her mouth. She’s been a catholic hater for a lot of years. And somehow everybody’s supposed to be good with that. No, not really.

  • Random

    @DeeJayMiles: So do you believe the Catholic Church is beyond criticism? Given the amount of child abuse scandals and their shameful approach to abortion and condoms, anyone who thinks the Catholic Church is above reproach must be be barking mad.

  • lykeitiz

    @Random: Yes, yes, yes, & yes to everything you’ve posted on this thread.

    It’s one thing to listen to the “Little Monsters” blather on about things they know nothing about, but when older people who just don’t happen to like her try to diminish her accomplishments, her gay fan base authenticity, and yes….her talent!, then it just gets ridiculous.

    And @DeeJayMiles:, considering the Catholic Church’s stand on gay equality and their history of supporting pedophiles, then yes, I’ll take Madonna’s side on that one too!

  • AtticusBennett

    The thing with madonna is this – and it goes for every female that becomes a “gay icon” for every generation: the gay men who are not accepted by their families and home communities, and don’t have the balls to stand up to them, “hate” those icons. It happens in every generation: “I’m not one of those gays that likes Madonna/Gaga/Kylie/Barbra/Etc…! she’s a talentless whore!” Right. A talentless whore who through sheer dint of will managed to make herself the most famous woman in the world. sold millions of albums. wrote songs. performed sold-out tours in stadiums (for thirty years…) and on and on.

    It’s a daily thing you see on Queerty and other sites – the most pathetic gay men in our communities, the grown adults who are still closeted, are still terrified of their anti-gay family’s opinions, who don’t have the testicles to make any of their comments and claims from a place of visibility – they’re the ones using (multiple) screen-names to come here, every day, to denigrate anything that would fall under the category of “deemed to be stereotypically gay”.

    and why? because they don’t have love and acceptance and joy in their own lives.

    troll culture.

    something madonna couldn’t care less about. why wouldn’t she? She’s madonna. she’s made something of herself.

    so, to this site’s resident self-hating homophobe losers: have a fun monday! nice to see your week is getting off to the same start as usual – trolling queerty so you can anonymously type nonsense here; a distraction from the reality that you’re pathetic embarrassments to your shitty anti-gay right-leaning families.

  • Random

    @DeeJayMiles: I’ve just listened to that Peter Allen song and aside from that one lyric in the chorus, it bears almost no relation to the Madonna Borderline song whatsoever. It would be like saying Rihanna ‘hijacked’ Madonna because she also had a song called Take A Bow.

  • AtticusBennett

    @DeeJayMiles: she’s actually never once preached “tolerance” – because she understand, as intelligent people do, that “tolerance” is what the weak and wounded aspire to – when they know they can’t get actual love, acceptance, understanding and support.

    liberals dont’ tout tolerance. tolerance is for wimps.

  • pressuredrop

    I tried to post what I thought to be a very reasonable follow-up post at 6:20 this morning, but Queerty feels the need to censor something I said.

    Apparently, I have done something very offensive by critiquing her musical career, even though I didn’t call her a “talentless whore” or anything to that extreme. I support many other pop stars who happen to not be Madonna.

    • Random

      @pressuredrop: Can you clarify how Lady Gaga was always ‘…unquestionably tied to the gay community from the earliest career rumblings’? I’m genuinely curious as to why you believe this to be true.

  • AtticusBennett

    @pressuredrop: know what the true beauty of it all is? she’s a megastar, and has been for more than thirty years, and you’re an anonymous internet commenter. you know who she is. she has no idea who you are. and never will. because you’re not anything. yay!

  • pressuredrop

    Did I say I wanted Madonna to know who I was?

    … Why are you being so rude because of my choice in music?

    I didn’t say anything mysogynistic about Madonna. I’m not some homophobic troll poster that you seem to be railing against.

    And, as I said, I listen to other pop stars that you named, such as Kylie Minogue.

    There are valid reasons to be anonymous on the internet, you know. It’s not as if oversharing information hasn’t led people into negative situations.

  • AtticusBennett

    @pressuredrop: it’s not because of your choice in music. i listen to Ramones more than i listen to Madonna. i just wanted to come to remind you that you “critiquing” her career means nothing to anyone. including her :)

  • pressuredrop

    As I said, I addressed this in a response post that got blocked by a spam-bot, even though there is nothing even vaguely offensive about the language I used. If you look it up, though, I believe Lady Gaga legitimately did begin performing in gay venues before she developed a larger ally fanbase. I’m not an expert on either artist, but from what I understand, Lady Gaga spent a long time purely performing before she made a first album, while Madonna’s career basically started with her first album.

    I could copy & paste my whole post, but that’s probably a violation of some policy.

  • pressuredrop

    This is a place to discuss Madonna’s career. My critiques mean something to me. That’s why I posted them. And I’m not the only person who has opinions on her artistic and business decisions.

    I thought maybe somebody would disagree respectfully, but this is a little dramatic.

    • Random

      @pressuredrop: Well, I have to say you are ill-informed and you really should do some research before making comments. Did you stop to question why Lady Gaga was playing gay venues in the first place? Because her record company saw that gay people have been loyal fans for Madonna and therefore, being a dance/pop artist just like Madonna, Gaga needed to take the same route.

      Madonna, on the other hand, was an integral part of the downtown New York scene and played at clubs like Danceteria which not only was popular with gay men, but was somewhere she hung out in anyway, making a name for herself, long before she released her debut album.

  • pressuredrop

    Actually, I *did* just do my research, and according to her own timeline, Lady Gaga was playing in clubs on the Lower East Side before she had a steady record label. She could be lying, but that is what I found.

    And I was slightly wrong about Madonna’s early career, but she didn’t spend a very long time as a solo act before releasing a first album. The Danceteria, nevertheless, was not exactly a gay venue, it just had a side-contingency of gay patrons.

    And this is kind of a pedantic argument anyway, since neither was in a position to further gay politics on a wide public scale until after their fame tickets came in. And, with both of their careers in full consideration, the later one having a much shorter stint, I still feel that Lady Gaga has put far more effort into LGBT activism. It might have something to do with derivative goals or record label imaging, but there you go. If that’s the case, Lady Gaga hired more progressive PR people.

  • Random

    @pressuredrop: Danceteria was hugely popular with gay men at the time and it was very much at the centre of the artsy, gay, downtown scene, that Madonna was a part of.

    As I say, if Lady Gaga was performing in any gay clubs before she was famous it was only because her label told her to do so, in order to be like Madonna.

  • pressuredrop

    I can’t find a single source that agrees with you.

    • Random

      @pressuredrop: Look harder.

  • DeeJayMiles

    you said: “anyone who thinks the Catholic Church is above reproach must be be barking mad”. I never said that. I said that a person’s religious beliefs should be respected, regardless of whether you agree. You, like Madonna apparently hate the Catholic church, do you also hate Jews, Muslims? Would you mock and ridicule Kaballah? I am having the feeling that it’s okay to bash Catholics without a problem, but other religions get a pass. She has mocked my religion for years, and I’m not okay with that.

    • Random

      @DeeJayMiles: I don’t hate the Catholic Church and I’ve never heard Madonna say that she did either. What she has done, though, is talk about the power that the Church has asserted in her life and the lives of other Catholics. She’s not ‘mocking’ *your* religion – she’s questioning certain aspects of it.

  • pressuredrop

    Yeah, I did more than my part in researching this topic.

    The tone of all of your posts have basically been that Madonna can do no wrong and Lady Gaga is so much worse/less worthy than her, but I don’t see that reflected in anything else. So, unless you start backing up what you say with more concrete details, I’m going to assume you’re conflating facts with personal biases.

    • Random

      @pressuredrop: This is a celebratory post about Madonna, and here you are, basically saying how Lady Gaga is better. What does Lady Gaga have to do with Madonna’s birthday anyway? There’s no connection other than rabid little monsters having to hijack anything Madonna related in order to endlessly re-state how much more superior Gaga is.

  • pressuredrop

    *has basically been

  • pressuredrop

    I’ve already said that I’m not a Lady Gaga fan. If Queerty had allowed my post from yesterday to go through, this would have been clearer, but I repeat: I am not a Lady Gaga fan, a “little monster” or whatever else you want to call it. She is arguably most often compared to Madonna out of all pop stars and vice versa. Some would say this is because she “ripped off” Madonna, but pop music is rife with similar arrangements. It’s like an ecosystem with niches and layers, and somehow the two came to occupy a similar niche to the point where most fans of one hate the other.

    I am a fan of pop music and music in general. I came to discuss Madonna’s place within the pop world. I can’t argue that she isn’t a gay icon, as she is obviously a drag queen mainstay and has a large gay following.

    I resent the idea, however, that she has made some sort of monumental statement by offering small concessions to the gay community, especially for the length of time that she has been a public figure and relative to the amount of attention the gay community pays to her. Others have been more vocal despite having a smaller platform. Lady Gaga was an example.

    Queerty puts these articles in front of me and millions of others to read. If I see an attitude in the article or comments that I disagree with, I am prone to say something. Since this article is now rapidly becoming old news, I have no problem letting it die, if that is what makes everyone comfortable.

    Thank you to those who allowed me to say my bit on music without accusing me of homophobia, fanaticism or whatever else. I like discussing music, but if you can’t play nice, you don’t have to respond, and neither do I.

    • Random

      I don’t think she has ‘offered small concessions to the gay community’. Having people in her life who are gay, such as her brother and friends which I mentioned above, has obviously made a large impact and influenced her a good deal. Martin Burgouyne and Keith Haring both died of AIDS, as well as two of her dancers on separate tours. Madonna vocally spoke out against prejudice against gay men and of HIV, and there was no one else of her standing in the pop world at the time who did that. Certainly not huge stars like George Michael and Elton John who were both still in the closet at the time. The fact that she closely associated with gay men in public really was a big deal in a way it just isn’t today.

      So, if you can understand this then you will have an appreciation of why Madonna is deservedly, a gay icon (aside from the fact that she’s a dancefloor queen to boot).

  • Random

    @pressuredrop: Random

    I don’t think she has ‘offered small concessions to the gay community’. Having people in her life who are gay, such as her brother and friends which I mentioned above, has obviously made a large impact and influenced her a good deal. Martin Burgouyne and Keith Haring both died of AIDS, as well as two of her dancers on separate tours. Madonna vocally spoke out against prejudice against gay men and of HIV, and there was no one else of her standing in the pop world at the time who did that. Certainly not huge stars like George Michael and Elton John who were both still in the closet at the time. The fact that she closely associated with gay men in public really was a big deal in a way it just isn’t today.

    So, if you can understand this then you will have an appreciation of why Madonna is deservedly, a gay icon (aside from the fact that she’s a dancefloor queen to boot).

  • Calin

    Love her or hate people always have something to say about her. As a gay Latino, I grew up in the 80’s. I loved all the female singers, Janet, Whitney, Pat, Cyndi, Dolly, Kylie, Annie, Gloria, Heart (the list goes on), and of course Madonna. For some reason she was my ultimate favorite. I remember hearing Like a Virgin on the radio, going to the record store not knowing what the song was about and asking in my broken English I wanted it to buy it, it was sold out, had to go back the following week to get it (I still have the 45’vinyl single. I felt in love with Madonna the singer first, her beauty, dancing and style second. As a gay teen her sex appeal was irrelevant, was she sexy of course! Her talking about gay rights and AIDS awareness which at the time not too many artists did was just the icing on the cake. Growing up gay and Catholic all I heard about gay people were not so good things, we were sinners, deviants, going to hell, and god gave us AIDS. She made safe sex TV announcements, she attended AIDS Dance –A-Thons, and donated tons of money to AIDS causes, it was on the radio and TV news (no internet), and the reason why it’s because she was there, and people talked about it in school and at home. She never put herself in our shoes; she was just for equal rights. I thought of Madonna as a strong independent, do what you want, say what you want, no hold bar successful individual, and for that I admire her. To me she has a beautiful singing voice, and will always love her for the joy she brings to me with her music, and her all around bad ass attitude. I don’t need her saving me; I just need her to continue entertaining me and being political. Do I agree with everything she does, of course not, but she has every right to express herself like you and I. Do I love other singers? Yes!!!! Just don’t tell M ? , I love all kinds of music. I just don’t understand why people have to insult, hate or leave nasty comments not just about M but other artists as well, no need for it. I say enjoy life, it’s too short to be bitter!!!!

  • Calin

    @pressuredrop: It’s ok to like Gaga, now about Madonna’s legacy, As someone who grew up with Madonna I can tell you she was and continues to be very vocal about gay rights, well human rights in general. All you need to do is google it and please don’t go to Wikipedia. I think is great Gaga has been vocal about her drug and alcohol addiction, insomnia, bulimia, bullying, borderline positive to lupus, depression, stripper past, bisexuality and gay rights, she’s able to relate more with today’s teens, feel their pain. More power to her.

  • o.codone

    wait, I can wear wear jeans jacket as a shirt. She ain’t sh*it. I am. Now, there are 56 comments on this dead thread, happy birthday bit*ch, now close it.

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