Madonna, Annie Lennox and 'Acting Your Age' | Keo Nozari

There's a reason the current crop of pop princesses (Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and even queen Beyoncé) all have made a point to pay respects: Madonna helped create the model of sustaining relevancy in a pop music career for over four decades. According to TiVO, Madonna's performance was the most-watched part of the entire Grammy night, and the day following the Grammys, three songs from her new album Rebel Heart hit the top three slots of the iTunes music chart, and her single "Living For Love" reemerged into the Top 40 after previously reaching the top in December. 

She -- more than 30 years after her debut single in 1982 -- remains the definition of relevant. Madonna opened her Grammy performance with a quote that highlights her career-long message: Be who you are, "someone unique and rare and fearless." And part of her enduring appeal is people like witnessing someone fearlessly (and rebelliously) doing something outside the standards of conventions and cultural expectations. Even if some are keen on slagging it off in the press and on social media. After all, those that dare go against convention are often the most maligned and criticized.


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