Happy Birthday, Madonna

Why is it so hard to accept that Madonna is 53 today? All anyone can say is how much they can’t believe she’s that old. First, c’mon, 53 isn’t that old, so get over it. Besides, isn’t it a testament to the woman’s longevity and transformative career in pop music that we’re stunned in the first place?

In other words, shouldn’t we be celebrating the icon’s icon who contributed so enormously to the soundtrack of our lives, even if you/we were a little derisive at the time? Sure, we seriously could have done without (and did) her last three albums, but Music and Ray of Light are still in constant rotation here. So we don’t mind that she’s pulling a Kris Kardashian—oh, sorry, Jenner—these days and pimping out Lourdes to whatever mass chain will put her name on a tube of lipstick, because we know sooner or later she’ll blow us away again.

Indeed, fashioning a tribute post befitting of the occasion had us conspiring like excitable high-schoolers. So happy birthday, Madonna. Here’s to many more. And now for some warm and fuzzy quotes…

“The history of women in popular music can, pretty much, be divided into before and after Madonna.” — Susan Sarandon

“Some people say that I copy her, but show me one girl my age who was not influenced by her.” — Gwen Stefani

“She’s John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the same time.” — Jean Baptiste Modino

“Madonna’s sound was made for the dance floor.” — Tori Amos

“I performed at Mom and Dad’s party when I was four. Oh my gosh, I was singing a Madonna song and I peed myself.” — Britney Spears

“She’s exemplary, the love she gives her kids is a dream. And I know that her heart is big enough to adopt not just one child but to adopt 20.” — Ricky Martin

“When she fixed you with her regard, there was a tenderness and warmth that made your skin bump, but when she looked away, it was like sunbathing on a cold day and suddenly a cloud comes.” — Rupert Everett

“I want to be the black Madonna.” — Rihanna

“I saw Madonna outside the Music Machine before she even made it. There was this chick outside from New York going ‘I’m going to be a star’ and it was her! And she’s got some fucking balls you know?” — Adam Ant

“We used to swim at the same pool. She’d get out and put all this jewelry on and I’d go home with my wet hair.” — Marcia Cross

“I proposed to Madonna three times, but she refused all the time. Always in very a polite way. She’s the only woman I would ever have married.” — Jean Paul Gaultier

“I jokingly refer to Madonna being my template in making my decisions, because she’s the best at reinventing herself. Every two years she reinvents herself. [That’s why] she still is where she is after 20 years. I think that that’s a smart thing.” Anthony LaPaglia

“I watched a screening of her [Madonna’s] film and I was sitting right next to her, which to me was exciting still. I’m not jaded enough to not be excited by that.” — Marilyn Manson

“She’s outrageous, she’s provocative, she’s inscrutable. And over the years, we’ve all been witness to her evolution, from street smart kid sister to virgin bride, from sex goddess to a yogi. Her mind is as celebrated as her body. She’s as feared as she is desired. She leads while others follow…a woman who is all woman, and all women.” — Sting

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