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60 scandalous years for Madonna

Madonna remains one of the most controversial art­ists of all time, with the Material Girl refusing to hold back with age from the unbridled sexuality that helped make her a superstar.

With Madonna turning 60 on Thursday, here is a look back at some of her more scandalous moments:

When MTV threw its first Video Music Awards in 1984, the young network quickly shattered the staid formula of established shows such as the Grammys and Oscars with a sensational performance by Madonna.

The pop star emerged from a five-meter (16-foot) cake to sing “Like a Virgin” in a wedding gown and a belt buckle that said “boy toy,” rolling about on the floor to reveal her undergar­ments.

Her reputation was sealed – and she repeatedly turned to music videos to cause a sensation.

Debuting the title track off her fourth album “Like a Prayer” in 1989, Madonna could barely have hoped for a bigger audience, with Pepsi teasing the video in a commercial broadcast around the world, including during “The Cosby Show,” one of the most popular shows on television.

The video itself, debuting on MTV, stunned viewers with its incorporation of sex with religious iconogra­phy. Addressing interracial romance, a topic then still controversial in parts of the United States, Madonna makes love to the statue of a black saint and dances in front of burning crosses, the symbol of the rac­ist Ku Klux Klan.

The Vatican protested and religious groups threatened to boycott Pepsi, which bowed to pressure and can­celed its advertising campaign with Madonna.

A year later, Madonna became too controversial even for MTV, which banned her video for “Justify My Love.”

Shot by the French fashion photog­rapher Jean-Baptiste Mondino in a stylized black-and-white that evoked 1950s cinema, “Justify My Love” depicts bondage and other kinky sex in a hotel, with the ac­tors later saying that the lines between performance and reality were blurred during filming.

Cashing in on the con­troversy, Madonna released “Justify My Love” as the top-selling ever video-single, a format that has vanished in the age of YouTube.

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