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Madonna Number Ones: The Complete US And UK Chart-Topping Singles
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List & Guides

Madonna Number Ones: The Complete US And UK Chart-Topping Singles

As this list of every one of Madonna’s US and UK number ones shows, the “Queen Of Pop” has well and truly earned her crown.

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Madonna has held a vice-like grip on the charts for more than three decades. This chronological list of all Madonna’s US and UK No.1 singles illustrates why she remains the indisputable “Queen Of Pop”.

Listen to the best of Madonna here, and check out the complete list of US and UK Madonna No.1s, below.

Like A Virgin (US No1. from ‘Like A Virgin’, 1984)

Taking Madonna to the top of the Billboard charts for the very first time, Like A Virgin launched the album of the same name and crowned the singer’s breakthrough year by becoming 1984’s US Christmas No.1. The success of Madonna’s self-titled debut album and its attendant singles meant the release of this Nile Rodgers-produced cut was delayed in order to allow Lucky Star to start its descent, but the reshaped timing worked out: Madonna was able to premiere the track at the first MTV Video Music Awards. The US was shocked yet thrilled at her performance and, when the Mary Lambert-directed video hit playlists, the single – the first in an incredible run of 20 Madonna No.1s – sprinted to the top spot in just five weeks. A star had been born at the most appropriate time of the year.

Crazy For You (US No.1 from the ‘Vision Quest’ soundtrack, 1985)

Madonna would make soundtrack songs one of her trademarks, and this spectacular gear-change, after a run of pop/dance smashes, made her the darling of AOR radio stations and a school-disco favourite for a generation. Crazy For You was one of two Madonna originals issued for 1985’s Vision Quest soundtrack (the second, Gambler, made it to No.4 in the UK later the same year), and she cameoed in the movie as, you guessed it, a nightclub singer. The single topped the US charts, dethroning the charity collective USA For Africa, and it would reach the UK Top 5 twice, peaking at No.2 in 1985 before hitting the same position again in 1991, on the back of Madonna’s first greatest-hits album, The Immaculate Collection.

Into The Groove (UK No.1; standalone A-side, 1985)

The phenomenal success of this dance cut saw its addition to the Like A Virgin album in some markets; originally released as a standalone single, this was where “Madonna-mania” hit fever-pitch. The song topped the UK charts for four weeks across August 1985, a month which also saw her breakthrough hit, Holiday, climb all the way back up to No.2 after both songs had been performed at the Philadelphia leg of the Live Aid concert. Another soundtr Into The Groove was used to promote Madonna’s first co-starring film role, in Desperately Seeking Susan, which inevitably became a box-office sensation. In the US, the track was added to the 12” of Angel but was never issued as a single in its own right.

Live To Tell (US No.1 from ‘True Blue’, 1986)

Topping either the US or UK charts, True Blue’s singles would provide a run of five consecutive Madonna No.1s, and Live To Tell would scale the stateside summit ahead of its parent record’s release. It was originally created for the film At Close Range, starring Sean Penn, who Madonna had married the previous summer. The couple had been working together on Shanghai Surprise when this masterful ballad was issued, and Madonna was still getting to grips with being one of the most famous women on the planet – which perhaps explains the understated performance video in which she radically overhauled her image (and not for the last time…).

Papa Don’t Preach (US and UK No.1 from ‘True Blue’, 1986)

Notable for being the first of Madonna’s No.1s to top the singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic, Papa Don’t Preach formally launched the True Blue album and found Madonna at the peak of her platinum-pop majesty. The storybook video cast the singer as a troubled teenager (she was actually 28 at the time) caught at one of life’s pivotal crossroads, and this clever repositioning finally put to bed the disco-urchin styling that characterised her first years of fame. The song was written by Brian Elliot for another artist, Cristina Dent, though Madonna earned a credit for her spin on the lyrics, after it was brought to her by Michael Ostin at her label’s A&R department.

True Blue (UK No.1 from ‘True Blue’, 1986)

Madonna’s most successful studio album is the perfect pop jigsaw, with a range of sharp dance cuts sitting alongside confident ballads and the occasional oddity. True Blue’s title track would fit that latter category, its frothy, all-out pop seeming a world away from the material to be found on her first two albums. The song neatly draws on Madonna’s love of classic Motown and gives it a radio-friendly, everyman sheen that saw it top the UK charts. Making No.3 in Madonna’s homeland, True Blue was also the subject of an MTV contest that saw fans compete for the chance to create their own video for the song. Elsewhere, there was a studio-set performance promo that eventually became the single’s default clip.

Open Your Heart (US No.1 from ‘True Blue’, 1986)

One of Madonna’s most remarkable videos, the Jean-Baptiste Mondino-directed clip for Open Your Heart cast the singer as an adult performance artist befriending a young boy, played by Felix Howard, who would later co-host the cult British music TV show The Tube. The echoes of the Charlie Chaplin classic The Kid demonstrate just how aware Madonna was becoming of her opportunity across wider pop culture, and it can be argued that the maverick artistry that characterised some of her later work has its origin here. Open Your Heart topped the US charts for one week and made No.4 in the UK, caught up in the highly competitive Christmas chart rush which, in 1986, saw Jackie Wilson’s reissue of Reet Petite seize the coveted crown. Madonna has made the festive listings many times, but has yet to score herself a UK Christmas No.1.

La Isla Bonita (UK No.1 from ‘True Blue’, 1987)

The fifth and final single from True Blue, La Isla Bonita was demoed for Michael Jackson, but Madonna was quick to work on the Bruce Gaitsch composition after the “King Of Pop” turned it down. There is no specific place called San Pedro, so the song’s romantic Latin-pop seduces as a sort of anywhere lament: a place or a holiday romance, take your pick. Madonna has reinterpreted the classic many times, most notably at the 2007 Live Earth concert, where she performed it in a frantic medley with multicultural rockers Gogol Bordello. La Isla Bonita topped the UK charts for two weeks in spring 1987.

Who’s That Girl (US and UK No.1 from the ‘Who’s That Girl’ soundtrack, 1987)

An all-out Madonna romcom that hoped to capitalise on the singer’s enormous global success, Who’s That Girl needed a hit song to go with it. With soundtrack recordings now regularly taking their place among a seemingly unstoppable run of Madonna No.1s, the film’s title track topped both the UK and US charts for a week. The soundtrack album, also featuring acts such as Scritti Politti, contained three further Madonna originals, the singles Causing A Commotion and The Look Of Love, plus album cut Can’t Stop.

Like A Prayer (US and UK No.1 from ‘Like A Prayer’, 1989)

Madonna knows how cause a commotion, and this lead single for her Like A Prayer album got things off to a controversial and commercially outstanding start. So slick was the general buzz around the whole period that a campaign with Pepsi saw teaser clips trailed before a full-scale TV advert, starring Madonna and this new song, was shown once around the world. Horrified Pepsi executives pulled the whole project after they saw the video for this epic pop classic, ensuring even more newspaper headlines and record sales. Topping both the US and UK charts, Like A Prayer is arguably the best-loved of Madonna’s vast back-catalogue of songs, and the anthem that almost always ends up on her concert setlists. Across 2019 and early 2020, it became part of the finale to her Madame X shows.

Vogue (US and UK No.1 from ‘I’m Breathless’, 1990)

Starting life under consideration for the B-side to Madonna’s last Like A Prayer US single, Keep It Together, Vogue was eventually chosen to launch her concept record I’m Breathless, designed to promote her part in the Warren Beatty/Disney epic Dick Tracy. Madonna’s magpie-like ability to draw on trends and repackage them for wider consumption is well understood, and this flashy upgrade of New York City’s legendary “House Ball” scene (brilliantly realised in the TV series Pose) became the world’s best-selling single of 1990 as it topped both the US and UK charts, setting the new decade up for another slew of game-changing Madonna No.1s.

Justify My Love (US No.1 from ‘The Immaculate Collection’, 1990)

When Madonna issued The Immaculate Collection for Christmas 1990, she had enjoyed so many hits that she had to leave some of them off the record, including even a few of her No.1s. Justify My Love was one of two new tracks on the collection and was written by Lenny Kravitz and Ingrid Chavez. By now, Madonna was tiring of her carefully curated pop success and had become more interested in social and sexual political agitation. This steamy single topped the US charts for a fortnight and was supported by an out-there video that got the singer banned from MTV even as she publicly defended her right to artistic self-expression. Madonna had plenty to say about sexuality and issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, and was determined to use her platform to speak about them…

This Used To Be My Playground (US No.1; standalone A-side, 1992)

Never issued on any Madonna album until her 1995 ballad collection, Something To Remember, this Shep Pettibone-produced ballad for the 1992 baseball comedy flick A League Of Their Own wasn’t even featured on the Hans Zimmer soundtrack due to contractual reasons, but it did make an appearance on the compilation album issued for that year’s Olympic Games, Barcelona Gold. Madonna had a company role in the Tom Hanks movie, which also featured Geena Davis and did decent box-office business. If This Used To Be My Playground felt like a more sedate approach, no one should have been fooled: Madonna was gearing up for a fresh sound and a radically different presentation. The Erotica album and Sex book were just around the corner…

Take A Bow (US No.1 from ‘Bedtime Stories’, 1994)

This Babyface collaboration became the longest-reigning US chart-topper of Madonna’s career to date (with seven weeks at the summit), while becoming the first of her singles to miss the UK Top 10 altogether after a mighty run of 35 consecutive releases that made the grade. Take A Bow’s parent album, Bedtime Stories, deliberately dialled down the controversy, but this powerful and ever-so-slightly camp epic became one of Madonna’s most beloved ballads – a form that she has rightly demonstrated she can own as confidently as any more dancefloor-friendly style. The story that played out in the promo video was successfully revisited in the clip for the following year’s You’ll See, which launched the Something To Remember compilation.

Frozen (UK No.1 from ‘Ray Of Light’, 1998)

The first of Madonna’s No.1s to enter the charts at the top spot in the UK, Frozen launched the career reinvention of Ray Of Light with confident ease and drew on the star’s then recent Golden Globe-winning success in Alan Parker’s Evita with a cinematic Chris Cunningham-directed promo. For the song itself, the aural trickery of studio wizard William Orbit teased all the best bits of Madonna into a fresh new package. She had been searching for something very different for her seventh studio album, and Ray Of Light’s frantic reimagining created fresh momentum as the millennium drew to a close.

American Pie (UK No.1 from the ‘The Next Best Thing’ soundtrack, 2000)

This William Orbit production of the Don McLean classic topped the charts in the UK, where Madonna was now living with Guy Ritchie. It was used to promote one of her final acting roles to date, in The Next Best Thing, and co-star Rupert Everett turned up in the video and even contributed backing vocals. Madonna shortened the 1971 original and frothed it up in a dance-pop treacle that was also added to copies of the Music album in some markets.

Music (US and UK No.1 from ‘Music’, 2000)

Madonna’s creative partnership with French producer Mirwais remains one of her most enduring, but Music marks the last time one of her songs topped the Billboard Hot 100 (it would scale a comparable peak in the UK and elsewhere, en route to becoming one of Madonna’s most successful singles of all time). Nevertheless, the single showed that, after defining the 80s and 90s, the best Madonna songs could still shape the 21st century, and the singer’s dominance of the US dance charts continues to this day. Technology was catching up with her, however, and this cut infamously became one of the earliest songs by a major artist to get leaked online ahead of its official release. Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund directed a camp promo clip, which features the heavily pregnant star and a cameo from Ali G, then at the apex of the character’s fame.

Hung Up (UK No.1 from ‘Confessions On A Dance Floor’, 2005)

ABBA don’t allow it often, but OKing the use of a sample from their classic 1979 single Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) arguably elevates a strong dance-pop cut into something show-stopping. Hung Up’s worldwide success took Madonna in a fresh, confident direction, with its parent album cleverly riffing on her early disco-pop appeal and fusing it with contemporary electronica, courtesy of a dynamic collaboration with British producer Stuart Price. The song topped the charts in 41 countries, including the UK.

Sorry (UK No.1 from ‘Confessions On A Dance Floor’, 2006)

The second single from Madonna’s tenth studio outing, Confessions On A Dance Floor, Sorry is an uptempo cut that was among the first demoed in recording sessions for the album. It made No.1 in the UK for a week, during the era when CD single sales were dying and the download era was dawning. Pet Shop Boys were drafted in for one of the remixes, on which singer Neil Tennant added vocals; the results was later used extensively on the Confessions tour.

4 Minutes (featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland) (UK No.1 from ‘Hard Candy’, 2008)

Madonna was taking no chances with her Hard Candy album, which appeared to have the single proposition of re-establishing her stateside appeal. She drafted in über-producer du jour Timbaland to work on the record alongside other heavyweights such as Pharrell Williams (on 4 Minutes’ follow-up release, Give It 2 Me). As Hard Candy’s first single, this energetic dance-synth thumper with Justin Timberlake largely did the business, making No.3 stateside and topping the charts in the UK, where it remained for four weeks.

With a track record like this, and her appetite for drama and reinvention as strong as ever, who would entirely be sure this list of Madonna No.1s might not yet expand?

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