In 1984, at the inaugural MTV Music Video Award show - Madonna - singing the never before heard title track from her highly anticipated Like a Virgin album, was the bride in heat. Singing, moaning and slithering down that cake like a serpent. Virtually ignoring the audience - aside from kicking off her shoes and chucking her bouquet in their faces - the sex drenched lioness prowled that stage, searched and hit each camera man as if they were prey. This was the very first live televised performance of her career.
Madonna ruled MTV in the 80's but Express Yourself was only Madonna's second live appearance on the award show in 1989. This was the prototype of the version we would eventually see on The Blond Ambition Tour. It is also the first time we see Madonna vogueing. Although they were on the Who's That Girl Tour in 1987, this is also the first time we see Niki Harris and Donna DeLory as her primary background singers and dancers. Something that would last until The Drowned World Tour in 2001.
Fresh off the Blond Ambition Tour, Madonna returned to the MTV Music Video Awards stage in 1990 performing Vogue as we had never seen before - Madonna donning Marie Antoinette garb. This highly influential and phenomenal performance set the bar on what we would see singers do at award shows and concerts till date.
In 1993, after The Sex Book and Erotica backlash, Madonna had been rehearsing for her 4th tour, The Girlie Show. That September before she hit the road, she gave a preview of Bye Bye Baby at the 10th annual MTV Music Video Awards.
It had been 5 years since Madonna had performed live on MTV. In 1998, she returned with her highly acclaimed Ray of Light. She started this performance with the album track Shanti/Ashtangi. Lenny Kravitz joined her onstage playing the guitar.
Later that year, Madonna went to Milan and performed the Power of Goodbye from her Ray of Light album at the Euro MTV Music Video Awards.
A few months after the birth of Rocco, Madonna performed Music at the 7th annual Euro MTV Music Video Awards on November 16, 2000. She would then embark on the Drowned World Tour in 2001, her first tour since The Girlie Show.
In 2003, Madonna kicked off the MTV Music Video Awards with an echo of her first ever MTV performance, however, this time she would emerge from the cake as the groom singing Hollywood from her American Life album. Her two brides - Britney Spears and Christina Aguliera - performed Like a Virgin. Missy Elliot also joins this lezbatonical mash up while a sour pussed Mary J Blige, Justin Timberlake and a host of others watch in awe. The Infamous Kiss from this performance spread around the world like wildfire.
In 2005, after being written off by the critics and some of her fan base, Madonna came back to the MTV Music Video Awards with a bang, slaying her competition and stealing the show with Hung Up from her album, Confessions on a Dance Floor.
It's been said time and time again who put the M in MTV. As for live performances on the MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna set the standard and left her contemporaries eating her dust.
What is your favorite performance and why?