Like a Virgin

Composed by Billy Steinberg / Tom Kelly

Song Review by

Some years removed from the initial controversy behind this song -- and Madonna's legendary performance at the first MTV Video Awards, writhing orgasmically on the stage in a traditional wedding gown -- it's hard to figure out what exactly the fuss was about. By far the most lightweight of Madonna's early singles, "Like A Virgin" is pure bubblegum fluff of the style that would become songwriters Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg's trademark throughout the rest of the decade. Indeed, it doesn't feel too much like a conspiracy theorist's stretch to wonder if perhaps Madonna's helium-pitched vocals -- this is the song on which she sounds most like Marilyn Monroe, not the supposed Monroe homage "Material Girl" -- are perhaps meant as a subtle mockery of the song's silliness. Of course, since 1992, it's been impossible to hear this song without thinking of the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs, in which Quentin Tarantino manically deconstructs the song's lyrical impetus.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Madonna 1983 Sire/Warner Reprise Video / Warner Bros.
Like a Virgin 1984 Atlantic / Elektra / Rhino / Warner Bros. / Warner Music
Crazy for You 1985 7:07
Like a Virgin 1990 WEA International
The Immaculate Collection (The Best Of Madonna) [Video] 1990 Warner Reprise Video
No Image 1990 Sire
No Image 1991 Warner Bros.
Girlie Show: Live Down Under [Video] 1994 Warner Reprise Video
Like a Virgin & Other Big Hits 1998 Sire 6:10
Three for One Box Set 1999 WEA International 3:38
Immaculate Collection/Something to Remember 2001 WEA International 3:11
Don't Stop the 80's 2001
Various Artists
WEA International 6:08
Best of 80's Rock, Vol. 2 [Atracao Fonografica] 2004
Various Artists
Best Hit 80's 2005
Various Artists
The Confessions Tour 2007 Warner Bros. 4:12
Celebration 2009 Warner Bros. 3:08
The Sticky & Sweet Tour 2010 Warner Bros.
The Complete Studio Albums (1983-2008) 2012 Rhino 3:38
Bits n' Bobs 2016 Zip City 3:41
The Girlie Show: Live [Left Field Media] 2016 Left Field Media 5:57
No Image Phantom Import Distribution / WEA International
The Party's Right Here Goldfish 5:06
The Very Best of Madonna 3:11
blue highlight denotes editor's pick