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Madonna turns 60 and is still taking risks

August 15, 2018

Everyone knows who the Queen of Pop is: Madonna - style icon, headline-grabber, entrepreneur and mother. For her 60th birthday, we look back on the career of the most successful woman in music history.

Image: picture-alliance/empics/Yui Mok

Madonna approached her 60th birthday in typically mocking style. She appeared in a photo on Twitter earlier this week, dressed to the nines, with half-eaten piece of cake in her mouth.

"Three more days... Let's all have cake!" she wrote, apparently having temporarily lost her manners.

It seems the Queen of Pop — Madonna Louise Ciccone — born August 16, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan, has no plans to ignore what for many is a day they dread.

With some 335 million records sold and a fortune estimated at more than $1 billion (€880 million), Madonna is the music business' most successful woman. Even more importantly, she's become the first woman to dominate the male world of pop.

Read more: Madonna blocks auction of her intimate items

Breaking taboos

Turning heads, ignoring boundaries and breaking new ground is what Madonna's career has been all about. Breaking several taboos in her music videos — think of the black Jesus in "Like a Prayer" and the explicit postures in "Erotica" — Madonna has always known how to court publicity — by causing a stir.

But she is also an entrepreneur, writer, director, producer and designer. And while her acting career may have struggled to take off, she still won a Golden Globe for her role as "Evita" in the 1997 movie version of the musical.

Read more: High Five: 5 great musicians who are astonishingly bad at acting

The mother of two biological and four adopted children lives in Lisbon, Portugal and spends much of her time helping her offspring fulfil their own dreams. Her 12-year-old son David wants to become a professional football player, and she thinks he'll stand more of a chance in Cristiano Ronaldo's home country than in the United States.

Wherever she goes, she always takes inspiration from local culture. As she recently revealed to the fashion magazine "Vogue," she recently recorded new songs inspired by the Portuguese fado folk tradition. Her fourteenth studio album will be released later this year.

In our picture gallery (above), we look back on a great career and on Madonna's uncanny ability to eternally reinvent herself.