Readers' Poll: The Best Madonna Songs of All Time - Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The Best Madonna Songs of All Time

Your picks include ‘Ray of Light,’ ‘Borderline,’ and ‘Vogue’


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Madonna's 12th studio album, MDNA, hit stores last Tuesday. It's the first step in a new phase of the singer's career: she is now signed to an all-encompassing deal with concert promotion giant Live Nation, and it's her first record release outside Warner Brothers Records.

While the singer's future success is uncertain, there is no doubt that she has built up one of the most astonishing careers in the history of the music industry, with a deep catalog of hits that have changed the course of pop music. We asked you to name your favorite Madonna songs and we compiled the results as this Top 10 list. Click through to find out what you picked.

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10. ‘Holiday’

"Holiday" is one of Madonna's most enduring singles. The singer herself has said that the song, her first Top 40 hit, is among her favorites. It has been a staple of her live performances since the beginning.

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9. ‘Into the Groove’

Madonna has sung many tracks about dancing but few compare to "Into the Groove," a 1985 smash that adds just a touch of urban grit to a bouncy, ecstatic beat.

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8. ‘Like a Virgin’

"Like a Virgin" has been inspiring "Yeah, right!" snickers since it was released in 1984 but, despite the irony, there is a delightful sweetness to the song that sets it apart from the rest of her work. This performance, from the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, was a major star-making moment for the singer.

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7. ‘Express Yourself’

"Express Yourself" is one of Madonna's most inspiring and tuneful anthems, so it makes a lot of sense that Lady Gaga would draw on it as the basis for her own hit "Born This Way." Madonna clearly had no problem taking cues from the work of other artists in the music video, which was directed by David Fincher and based upon Fritz Lang's classic film Metropolis.

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6. ‘Frozen’

"Frozen," the lead single from Madonna's 1998 album Ray of Light, announced a new direction for the singer. Though she had dabbled in "mature" pop on Erotica and Bedtime Stories, "Frozen" finds her and producers William Orbit and Patrick Leonard striking the perfect balance of pop accessibility, sophisticated balladry and cutting-edge electronic textures.

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5. ‘Live to Tell’

"Live to Tell," written by Madonna and frequent collaborator Patrick Leonard, is arguably the singer's finest and most distinctive ballad. The song, which deals with her complicated relationship with her parents and her struggle to trust others, is as cutting as it is melancholic.

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4. ‘Borderline’

"Borderline," the fifth single from Madonna's debut album, was her first Top 10 hit. The tune, one of her most harmonically complex hits, remains a radio staple. She has distanced herself from the song somewhat, though she did perform a punk version of it on her Sticky and Sweet tour in 2008.

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3. ‘Ray of Light’

Before "Ray of Light" came along, it seemed as though Madonna was about to fade into a career of European dance hits and adult contemporary ballads. The song, written by the singer with producer William Orbit, revitalized her career and proved that she could still deliver a major dance hit with an emotional punch that was often missing from her earliest hits.

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2. ‘Vogue’

Madonna looked to underground drag culture as inspiration for "Vogue," one of her biggest and most iconic hits. As always, she was very far ahead of the curve; current shows like Ru Paul's Drag Race are bringing the drag subculture into the mainstream two decades after this hit.

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1. ‘Like a Prayer’

Madonna has always looked to her Catholic upbringing for inspiration and as a target for rebellion, but "Like a Prayer" is the most overtly religious hit of her career, from the song to the imagery of its video. She tapped into something powerful here – to this day, it remains one of her most resonant and defining hits.

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