Madonna O2 arena: 15 best songs the setlist should include - including Material Girl, Hung Up, La Isla Bonita

Into The Groove, Holiday, Erotica - Madonna has so much to pack into her Celebration Tour O2 shows.
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Madonna's The Celebration Tour comes to the O2 arena this week, with hits spanning four decades in pop.

Born in 1958, Madonna Louise Ciccone rose to the top of the charts from the New York disco scene.

She first came to London in 1984, and she takes to the stage this year at the O2 on October 14, 15, 17 and 18, and December 5 and 6.

Here are 15 tracks that really should be in the Celebration Tour setlist:

15. Papa Don't Preach (1986)

True Blue's opener is an ambiguous tale of teenage pregnancy, power and independence - a leap in sophistication for the artist that led to fevered debates. And a pop gem.

Key line: "I may be young at heart. But I know what I'm saying."

14. Crazy For You (1985)

A gorgeous, tender, unabashed love song.

Key line: "It's all brand new, you'll feel it in my kiss, I'm crazy for you."

Madonna on stage in 1987. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)Madonna on stage in 1987. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
Madonna on stage in 1987. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

13. Erotica (1992)

Steeped in the dance grooves of the early ‘90s and coinciding with a book called Sex, obviously, this was just the latest chapter in Madonna's taboo-busting mission to push the bounds of pop decency. 😳 

Key line: “E*****, r*****. P** y*** h**** a** o*** m* b***.”

12. Hung Up (2005)

The Madonna-ABBA collab they thought would never happen. I'd say the latter's Voyage success and the possibilities of AI make future mash-ups almost inevitable.

Key line: "Time goes by, so slowly."

Madonna on The Drowned World Tour in 2001. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)Madonna on The Drowned World Tour in 2001. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
Madonna on The Drowned World Tour in 2001. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

11. Express Yourself (1989)

A straightforward and funky call to arms that seems to be a direct ripost to Madonna's own Material Girl half a decade earlier.

Keyline: "Come on, girls! Do you believe in love? 'Cause I got something to say about it."

10. Open Your Heart (1986)

It's the absolute classic 1980s Madonna single, but it's the one everyone forgets until that huge chorus comes in.

Key line: "Open your heart to me. I hold the lock and you hold the key."

Madonna performs at Live 8 London in Hyde Park on July 2, 2005. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)Madonna performs at Live 8 London in Hyde Park on July 2, 2005. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)
Madonna performs at Live 8 London in Hyde Park on July 2, 2005. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)

9. Into The Groove (1985)

Possibly the most paper-thin of lyrics possible but a wedding reception dancefloor essential.

Key line: "Get into the groove. Boy, you've got to prove your love to me, yeah."

8. Music (2000)

There’s not a whole lot to it - something of a sequel to Into The Groove - but its sparseness is its strength. A dancefloor banger.

Key line: “Music makes the people come together. Music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel.”

7. Like A Virgin (1984)

It’s one of Madonna’s iconic moments, and yet it still makes me think of Lesley Joseph’s Dorian Green putting in an epic karaoke performance in the BBC sitcom Birds Of A Feather.

Key line: “I made it through the wilderness. Somehow I made it through. Didn't know how lost I was until I found you.”

Madonna in concert in 1986. (Photo by Brenda Chase/Stringer/Getty/Hutton archive)Madonna in concert in 1986. (Photo by Brenda Chase/Stringer/Getty/Hutton archive)
Madonna in concert in 1986. (Photo by Brenda Chase/Stringer/Getty/Hutton archive)

6. Material Girl (1984)

Produced by Nile Rodgers, Madge’s hilarious, ironic (Marxist ?) tract (the video pastiches Marilyn Monroe’s Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend) is pure fun.

Key line: “They can beg and they can plead but they can't see the light (that's right). ‘Cause the boy with the cold hard cash is always Mister Right.”

5. Borderline (1983)

A sweet and innocent song compared to what would follow. Bassist Anthony Jackson runs wild all over the backing track.

Key line: “Something in the way you love me won't let me be.”

4. Holiday (1983)

Surely everyone who heads to the airport has a little “holidayee!” in them.

Key line: “Holiday (ooh yeah, ooh yeah). Celebrate (come on, let's celebrate).”

3. Live To Tell (1986)

None-more-80s synths back one of the singer's great ballads. It’s one to look out for in the setlist. The 2006 tour version involves crucifixion in a sequence highlighting the child AIDS epidemic in Africa.

Key line: “A man can tell a thousand lies. I've learned my lesson well. Hope I live to tell the secret I have learned. ‘Til then it will burn inside of me.”

2. La Isla Bonita (1986)

True Blue’s centrepiece is an evocative, nostalgic beauty and reminds me of car journeys in the 1980s.

Key line: “Last night I dreamt of San Pedro. Just like I'd never gone, I knew the song. A young girl with eyes like the desert. It all seems like yesterday, not far away.”

1. Like a Prayer (1989)

A joyful, controversial, mature pop masterpiece that caused a nice amount of outrage. With low-key guitar from Prince.

Key line: “When you call my name, it's like a little prayer. I'm down on my knees. I wanna take you there.”