Provocative and populist, Like A Virgin was the song which propelled Madonna into the premiere league. The soon-to-be “Queen Of Pop”’s profile had been building steadily across 1984, with each US single performing better than the one before. With Borderline and then Lucky Star, both lifted from Madonna’s self-titled debut album, refusing to loosen their grip on MTV’s heavy rotation and pop-radio playlists, Madonna was frustrated that the fresh material she had created with producer Nile Rodgers was forced back in the schedules. The release of her second album, slated for that summer, had to be postponed until November – but she put the spare time to good use.
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A controversial TV appearance: “I thought, I’ll pretend I meant to do this”
Madonna signed on for a starring role in the movie Desperately Seeking Susan and flew to Venice, Italy, to film an iconic video for Like A Virgin, which would soon do much to fuel the forthcoming song’s success. However, an early opportunity to showcase the new track at the inaugural MTV Music Awards in New York wasn’t without controversy.
In one of the most fortuitous stage mishaps of all time, Madonna lost her shoe during her performance (while descending from a towering wedding cake, naturally) and decided to ad lib some choreography in which she dropped to the floor, her wedding-dress costume riding high and flashing a bit of thigh. “I thought, Well, I’ll just pretend I meant to do this, and I dove on the floor and I rolled around,” she would tell talk-show host Jay Leno almost three decades later.