Throughout Madonna’s iconic career, the Queen of Pop has served us with some of the campest, gayest anthems ever. From ‘Material Girl’ all the way to ‘Girl Gone Wild’, she’s continued to provide us with bop after bop, most of which have received fierce and risqué clips that have made a massive impact on popular culture. To commemorate her 65th birthday, we compiled a list of her 15 gayest tracks (so far).
‘Material Girl’ (Like A Virgin, 1984)
UK Peak: 3
One of the first songs to establish Madonna as an icon, the video for ‘Material Girl’ saw the future Queen of Pop pay tribute to Marilyn Monroe’s iconic performance of ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’. It’s a feminist anthem, and still receives regular spins whenever we browse sugardaddy.com.
‘True Blue’ (True Blue, 1986)
UK Peak: 1
Before she became the cutting-edge, controversy-courting pop icon we know and love today, Madonna was pure camp. Nowhere is that more apparent than on ‘True Blue’, the title track (and third single) from her third studio album. There’s bonus points available if you know the choreography.
‘Open Your Heart’ (True Blue, 1986)
UK Peak: 4
In the music video for ‘Open Your Heart’, Madonna pays homage to gay icons Liza Minelli and Marlene Dietrich, and once again attempts to subvert the male gaze as a peep-show club dancer. Almost 30 years later, she performed the song alongside Macklemore and a choir at the 2014 Grammy Awards in support of same-sex marriage, as Queen Latifah officiated the unions of 34 gay and straight couples. If that doesn’t cement its status as a gay anthem, we don’t know what will.
‘Express Yourself’ (Like A Prayer, 1989)
UK Peak: 2
The second single from Madonna’s fourth studio album, ‘Express Yourself’ was acclaimed for its feminist themes and gender-bending video in which she portrayed a masculine, crotch-grabbing alter-ego. Fun fact: ‘Express Yourself’ is the third most expensive video of all time.
‘Vogue’ (I’m Breathless, 1990)
UK Peak: 1
Vogue is probably Madonna at her gayest. The deep house anthem became the queen’s most commercially successful single (at the time), topping the charts in over 30 countries, and critics have often credited the song and video with bringing ballroom culture to the forefront of popular culture.
‘Justify My Love’ (The Immaculate Collection, 1990)
UK Peak: 2
‘Justify My Love’ first appeared on The Immaculate Collection compilation, and marked a transitioning period for Madonna, as she left the camp upbeat sounds of ‘Vogue’ and ‘Hanky Panky’ behind and became a bonafide sex pioneer. The accompanying black and white music video was banned by MTV for its explicit portrayal of sex, sadomasochism, and bisexuality. In a typically unapologetic style, Madonna responded to the ban saying: “Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling?”
‘Fever’ (Erotica, 1992)
UK Peak: 6
While the title track and accompanying S.E.X. book may have dominated the headlines, Madonna’s most controversial record Erotica also brought with it this slinky reimagining of ‘Fever’, a song originally released by Little Willie John and later popularised by Peggy Lee, which saw Madonna add a hip-hop twist and her own original lyrics to the mix. The kaleidoscopic video is Madonna at her weirdest, and the entire era remains the subject of fascination among pop culture fanatics.
‘Human Nature’ (Bedtime Stories, 1994)
UK Peak: 8
Madonna released this leather-clad video as a complete ‘fuck you’ to critics who criticised her provocative nature. Instead of dialling back the sex, she ramped it up with S&M imagery and hardcore choreography. It wasn’t one of her biggest hits worldwide, but its impact can be seen in videos from contemporary megastars such as Christina Aguilera and Rihanna.
‘Forbidden Love’ (Bedtime Stories, 1994)
UK Peak: –
“I don’t care if it’s not right to have your arms around me, I want to feel what it’s like, take all of you inside me,” the Queen of Pop confesses on this sultry deep cut. It might be the lesser known ‘Forbidden Love’, forever living in the shadows of the thumping disco banger of the same name that appeared a decade later on Confessions On A Dance Floor, but this 1994 gem is relatable to the community for obvious lyrical reasons.
‘Nothing Really Matters’ (Ray of Light, 1998)
UK Peak: 7
Often noted by critics as one of Madonna’s most iconic reinventions, this William Orbit produced hit spawned one of the star’s most memorable videos to date. It’s one of her gayest, purely for the fact that nearly every single queen on the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race replicated the red kimono for the much-anticipated, failed Madonna runway.
‘Hung Up’ (Confessions on a Dance Floor, 2005)
UK Peak: 1
ABBA are notoriously selective when it comes to letting other artists sample their music, but when the Queen of Pop came calling, they agreed to let her have one of their most recognisable riffs for her own chart-topping hit. Incorporating that addictive ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ sequence into ‘Hung Up’ made it an instant disco-pop classic. Throw in Madge werking a pink leotard harder than had previously been recorded in human history, and it became one the gayest extravaganzas of her career.
‘Sorry’ (Confessions on a Dance Floor, 2005)
UK Peak: 1
Credited with teaching gays how to apologise in no less than five European languages with its suitably dramatic opening, Sorry had a tough act to follow coming after ‘Hung Up’, but it truly stood up on its own. The mix of pulsing electronics with disco beats while Madonna downright refuses to accept your apology for the ugly bouquet of hydrangeas you’ve just handed her is the kind of pop melodrama we all live for.
‘Give Me All Your Luvin’’ (MDNA, 2012)
UK Peak: 37
L.U.V. Madonna! If you wanna camp up your lead single for an album campaign, a good ole cheerleading chant certainly gives it plenty of kitsch value. ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’’ might have had mixed reviews, but considering it saw Madge team up with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. to form some sort of bad ass girl group (along with that controversial middle finger flip at the Super Bowl), it has certainly left its mark in the icon’s pop discography.
‘Girl Gone Wild’ (MDNA, 2012)
UK Peak: 73
Platinum bombshell Madonna made a comeback in the erotic, black and white clip for ‘Girl Gone Wild’, which sees the risqué performer pay homage to her controversial fifth studio album, Erotica. She gives us all the life we need in the video, while muscular male dancers in heels and leather underwear participate in bondage and other kinky shit. We still live for this.
‘Bitch I’m Madonna’ (Rebel Heart, 2015)
UK Peak: –
Being the ultimate gay icon means that you pave the way for more to come through. Beyoncé. Katy Perry. Rita Ora… They all paid their dues by cameoing in the music video for Madge’s brilliantly barmy bop ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’, an energetic explosion of ego that demonstrated the Queen of Pop has no intention of slowing down any time soon. Here’s to the next 65 years.