It seems that it has always been fashionable for the prudes, the hipsters, and the envious to knock Madonna. I may need to cop to having been among them when she first splashed onto the scene in New York City. But that all changed at some later point when I read up on her life story--I don't remember where--and realized that the woman had paid her dues, worked her ass off, and turned a modicum of talent and beauty into a uniquely innovative, ground-breaking pop music industry. That she is from my home state of Michigan didn't hurt, either. That after coming to New York City to "make it," she studied Graham technique modern dance under Pearl Lang (for whom I worked for awhile, back in the 1970s) served to enhance my admiration. Today, Madonna is being mocked by the assholes of the world for not looking like she's 20-something as she approaches age 60. Well, fuck them.
Yesterday, as I was surfing around on Facebook, I came across somebody's blog post that somebody else had shared and that showed up on my news feed. The post contained quotes from a 1991 Bob Dylan interview with Paul Zollo that had appeared in Songwriters on Songwriting, whatever that was. I was surprised to see that Dylan--easily the most influential musical figure in my life--shared my good opinion of Ms. Ciccone--and for the same basic reason:
Dylan considers what it takes to be among the few rare exceptions worthy of true creative respect:"Madonna’s good, she’s talented, she puts all kinds of stuff together, she’s learned her thing… But it’s the kind of thing which takes years and years out of your life to be able to do. You’ve got to sacrifice a whole lot to do that. Sacrifice. If you want to make it big, you’ve got to sacrifice a whole lot."
And that she did. Thanks, Madonna. And thank you, Bob.