Since her debut in 1982, Madonna has scored a total of 56 Billboard chart hits, including a record 38 top 10 singles, and has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.

Since her debut in 1982, Madonna has released many chart-topping albums and singles, and has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. In 1982, the debut album called "Madonna" was released. When the second album "Like a virgin" came out, Madonna turned to be the most popular rock-star in the world. Billboard reported that her 2006 Confessions Tour holds the record for the highest grossing concert tour by a female artist. According to both the 2007 Guinness Book of Records and Forbes, she is the top earning female singer in the world. In 2001, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Madonna as the "World's Most-successful Female Musician". She is the 2nd most successful top selling female artist in the US according to the RIAA, and 15th biggest selling artist overall. In the UK she is the most successful female in the UK album chart history, having sold 3.9 million copies of her compilation The Immaculate Collection there alone. She is also the most successful female in the UK Singles Chart with the most number one singles, forty-four Top 5 singles, thirty-five consecutive Top 10 singles and sixty-three consecutive Top 20 singles.

Madonna joined Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham dance groups. In the early 80's she started to learn guitar and play the piano. Madonna had her first small concerts in dance clubs, attracting people with her enthusiasm and performance on stage. In 1982, DJ Mark Kamins remixed the demo of "Everybody" and showed it to Warner Bros. record label, who offered Madonna a contract for one record. The album was a huge hit and songs like "Holiday," "Lucky Star," and "Border Line" became instant hits. Some songs were filmed into video clips (MTV was just starting back then), where Madonna showed her intriguing style, wearing accessories mixed with necklaces, earrings, skirts, and tight tops, setting a trend that spread worldwide. In 1984, Warner Bros. released the album Like a Virgin. The title song became Madonna's most played song to date and the album was an instant #1 hit. Madonna sold more singles and albums than any other artist in 1985. In 1992, Madonna confirmed her place among the biggest stars of all time by signing a multi-millionaire contract with Time Warner, creating her own label, Maverick Records and bringing stars like Alanis Morrissette and Prodigy into the music world. Subsequent albums released by her have also been big hits which include Like a Virgin (1984), True Blue (1986), Ray of Light (1998), Music (2000), American Life (2003), and Confessions on a Dance floor (2005).

Madonna has also acted in films, including Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Shanghai Surprise (1986) and Body of Evidence (1993). In 1996 she starred in the critically acclaimed film adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita (1996). She won a Golden Globe for her performance and her song, "You Must Love Me," earned an Academy Award.

Her defiant and raunchy stage appearances became an important role model for teenagers in the 1980s and 1990s. Madonna made her London West End stage debut in 2002 in Up for Grabs. In a new departure, her first children's book, The English Roses, was published in 2003. She was inducted into the inaugural UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004.

On March 10, 2008, Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.