On January 1 2019, Madonna rang in the New Year with a surprise appearance at New York City’s historic Stonewall Inn.
A heartfelt speech about the gay rights movement was followed by a sing-along performance of Like A Prayer and a cover of Elvis Presley’s hit, Can’t Help Falling in Love, with her son David Banda providing musical accompaniment on acoustic guitar.
“I stand here proudly at the place where pride began, the legendary Stonewall Inn, on the birth of a New Year. We come together tonight to celebrate fifty years of revolution, fifty years of freedom fighting, fifty years of blood, sweat, and tears. Fifty years of sacrifice, fifty years of standing up to discrimination, hatred, and worst of all, indifference. And it started here, at Stonewall. Let us never forget the Stonewall riots and those who bravely stood up and said ‘enough!’
A half a century later, Stonewall has become a defying moment and a critical turning point in history, catapulting LGBT rights into public conversation and consciousness and awakening gay activism, giving birth to the civil rights movement of the 21st century.
Now you can’t imagine how happy I am to return home, to New York City, my beautiful city, where dreams are born and forged out of fire and brought to life, where I am proud to say that my journey as an artist began, and my commitment to equality for all people took root. As a lifelong ally, I have had the privilege of using my art as a vehicle for change, to provoke, to inspire, to wake people up and to bring the LGBTQ community with me.
There is so much destruction in the world, but you cannot stop art. And creation always wins in the end. So as we move forward, let’s not forget the work that we had to do from the ground up. We must never forget where we’ve been, the challenges and the road blocks along the way. We must never forget where we came from. This movement was born out of the need to survive discrimination and hatred. But why do people hate? Yes – fear of the unknown. But if we look and we truly take the time to get to know one another we will find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved. When we stand here together tonight let’s remember who we are fighting for and what we are fighting for. We are fighting for ourselves, yes, we are fighting for each other, yes, but truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for? We are fighting for love! Thank you, people – we are fighting for love!
So let’s take a moment to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019. In this New Year let’s commit to disarming people with unexpected acts of kindness. Let’s become more intuitive. Share what you know with someone you don’t agree with. Think about that. Try it. Get outside of your comfort zone. Let’s try to be more forgiving. Maybe we can find an opening to let the light come in. Let’s close up the distance between one human being and another.
I walk in the shadow of giants, our freedom fighters who have gone before me. But let’s be giants ourselves! Let’s be giants and carry each other on our shoulders into the New Year and into a future of love and understanding. Are you ready?”
On September 27 2009, Madonna’s hits compilation, Celebration, debuted at number one on the Official UK Album Chart, bringing her total of number ones (11 total) in line with Elvis Presley. Only The Beatles had more number ones, with a total of fifteen.
This achievement also marked another record for Madonna: the most successful female solo artist of all time.
Other records (at this time in Madonna’s career history):
- Madonna had spent more than 29 weeks at number one on the Official UK Album Chart (more than any other female solo artist)
- Madonna had more UK number one singles (13) than any other female solo artist
- Achieved the chart double (simultaneous number one album and single) more times (4) than any other female solo artist
- Completed the highest grossing tour in history (Sticky & Sweet) for a female artist
On January 31 2005, BBC Radio-One asked fans to vote for the Greatest UK Number One Single to celebrate the 1,000th number-one hit in the country. Madonna was the most voted for female artist with two songs in the top ten:
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Iron Maiden – Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
- Madonna – Like A Prayer
- Madonna – Vogue
- Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock
- Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger
- Abba – Dancing Queen
- Mariah Carey – Without You
- John Lennon – Imagine
What do you think of the results of the poll?
On October 11 1992, Madonna was interviewed at The Ritz Hotel in Paris for Swedish TV (7 Till 9). The interview was part of the European Erotica promotional tour. During the interview she calls Abba “boring” and Elvis “sexy”.
On January 3 2005, Madonna was ranked #5 on the list of 100 most successful recording artists of all time in the UK. The list, published by the Guinness British Hit Singles and Albums book, ranked artists according to how many weeks they spent in the UK singles and albums charts.
Madonna was the only female act to make it into the top ten (at the time) with a score of 1,653 weeks, right behind Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, The Beatles and Queen.