Madonna and Cher are two of the most enduring American pop singers of all time. Both performers are equal parts fashion icons and pop stars. And they’ve each made great strides in how the world sees women in a male-dominated industry.
However, it’s no secret that the two pop stars have a long-running feud. But who came first, and which of the two stars reigns supreme as the true Queen of Pop?
Join us as we take a closer look at these two divas and compare notes.
Let’s hit it!
The Story of Madonna
Born on August 16, 1958, in Michigan, Madonna Louise Ciccone was raised in the Detroit suburbs. Her Catholic upbringing had a significant influence on her music and fashion choices. While she made great grades, Madonna found her first true passion while taking ballet.
Madonna earned a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan but dropped out to pursue a career in dance in New York City. She started her career as a backup dancer and singer with French Disco artist Patrick Hernandez.
She returned to New York and started acting and recording demos. Her early success came from her tireless ability to promote herself in clubs and discos around the city. In 1982, Madonna signed a deal with Sire Records. Her first two singles reached the number three spot on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
Madonna found international success with the release of her first album. Her unique style set many of the trends that dominated the 80s. The singer’s signature bleached blonde locks, lace tops, and fishnet tights are still highlights at 80s-themed parties. In addition, she was the first woman to truly embrace music videos as a way to market herself.
Her history as a dancer shines in her MTV catalog. But Madonna’s lasting success comes from her ability to reinvent her style and artistry from one album to the next. She maintains creative control of her work and, unlike many pop stars, writes and produces most of her music.
The Story of Cher
Madonna and Cher both dominated the 80s. But Cher’s career started much earlier. Born Cherilyn Sarkisian in 1946, she grew up in Southern California. Her love for singing developed early.
When Cher was 16, she dropped out of high school and moved to L.A. to find work as an actor and dancer. She met Sonny Bono soon after, and they married in a private ceremony. Though Sonny wanted to produce her as a solo artist, Cher preferred to work with him to help overcome stage fright. So they performed under the name Caesar & Cleo.
In early 1965, the duo decided to drop their original name and go by Sonny and Cher. They went to England after their friends in the Rolling Stones suggested their music would find a receptive audience. On their first night, they were kicked out of the London Hilton for their unusual outfits. However, the press showed up, and the story helped their single I Got You Babe find international success.
Cher began a successful solo career while still working with Sonny. Unfortunately, the folksy sounds of Sonny and Cher became quaint as the heavy rock sounds took over the culture. The duo found a more mature audience with TV appearances, but their relationship crumbled. Eventually, the two split up.
Throughout most of the 70s, Cher struggled to revive her career. But in 1979, she shifted into disco and rock music, and her popularity soared again. She earned great accolades as both a singer and an actress throughout the 80s when she shared the media spotlight with Madonna.
Tell Me About the Feud Between Madonna and Cher
In the 1980s, at the peak of both stars’ fame, Madonna married actor Sean Penn, who was close to Cher at the time. Because of their connection, Madonna and Cher spent time together.
Since then, Cher has made several comments about her counterpart. In one interview, she said the Lucky Star singer was rude, and she also called her untalented and not beautiful. And as recently as 2018, Cher even joked she would never want to work with Madonna.
While Cher has thrown shade on the starlet for decades, Madonna hasn’t returned the slander publicly. Cher has also claimed the feud is overblown. Incidentally, the two were photographed together during the Women’s March in 2017 and were all smiles.
Is Madonna or Cher the Queen of Pop?
The two artists have some truly staggering stats behind them. Both earned over 300 awards for their work in music and film and have dozens of hit albums between them.
However, record sales have the final say. Cher has sold over 100 million records since she first came on the scene in the early 60s.
Madonna has had an impressive 300 million albums since 1983. While Cher is known as the Goddess of Pop, Madonna is the true Queen of Pop and the highest-grossing female touring artist.
What Are Madonna and Cher Doing Now?
At 64 and 76, respectively, Madonna and Cher are both still active artists.
In recent years, Cher’s charity Free the Wild has worked to help animals in need return to their natural habitat. She’s also donated money to help families struggling to afford basic necessities and medical care.
Cher is currently working on a biopic with Universal Pictures that will tell her life story. She’s also recording a new album of original songs, though it may be her last.
Meanwhile, Madonna recently released Finally Enough Love, a compilation album. The record celebrates her recent achievement as the first artist to have 50 #1 hits on any single Billboard chart.
But she’s doing more than rehashing her old hits. Madonna has since teased fans on social media about a new project underway.
Two Great Performing Divas
While Cher may be older than Madonna, she’s never allowed age to slow her down. Cher has always held her own in an industry known for letting women age out of the spotlight long before men do. As a result, she has the distinction of being the only act in history with number-one hits across six decades.
On the other hand, Madonna rewrote the blueprint for female pop stars while also becoming a successful entrepreneur. Cher may have paved the way, but Madonna is carrying the torch to her own tune.
Both artists managed to outlive the typical pop act by continuing to redefine themselves and their art to stay relevant.
Which of these two amazing women is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!