Material Girl – That’s right!
The second single released from the “Like A Virgin” album gave Madonna her most popular nickname. She often remarks that it is the song she regrets recording most for this reason. She has also said if she had known this, she probably would have never recorded it. Music critics started to refer to the singer as the Material Girl, until they also decided to name her the Blond Ambition after her 1990 tour.
Madonna never took this song seriously and prove of that is the way she has performed the song live during her tours. She ended The Virgin Tour with the song, where she would walk around the stage grabbing pieces of jewelry from one dancer to another to finally getting rid of all of them while she shouted: “Do you really think that I am a material girl? Well, you are wrong. I’m not a material girl. I don’t need money. I need love!”
Just at the end of the song, Madonna’s father’s voice could be heard saying: “Madonna, come out of the stage this instant! to which she’d replied- “Well, I’m not leaving without my fur”.
For the other tours Madonna didn’t really put up a great performance of the song, wearing the infamous odd pink dress for her Who’s That Girl Tour and appearing sitting at a “hairdressers” on stage during the Blond Ambition. After she promised not to sing the song again, she brought it back to life for the Re-invention tour in 2004, where she just offered a more guitar-driven version.
The infamous video directed by Mary lambert, inspired by the 1953 film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes“, shows Madonna as an ambitious and material movie star who does everything for money and uses men when in fact she’s not impressed by expensive gifts when seen off stage. There is this hollywood director who tries to win her heart pretending to be poor. He eventually succeeds, kissing Madonna in his dirty truck. It is indeed one of Madonna’s best videos. She looks very fresh and fantastic on a pink background, emulating Marilyn Monroe.
The song was a big hit, reaching the top 5 in many countries like the UK or Canada, and spending two weeks at number 2 in the US after the success of Like A Virgin. On a funny note, Madonna met Sean Penn at the shooting of this video. He happened to be there with a friend and apparently they hit it off right away. So here it is where their love story began, ending with their divorce in 1988.
A few lines from the song were used for the film Moulin Rouge back in 2001. Material Girl has been covered by a few different artists and bands.