Happy Birthday, Madonna! Queen of Pop hits the big 6-0 Thursday

Kevin Winter/Getty Images via ABC(NEW YORK) -- Holiday!  Celebrate! Madonna is marking her 60th birthday today!

According to her Instagram, she appears to be celebrating her milestone in Marrakesh, Morocco.  But in the past year, she's made a major life change by moving herself and her four youngest children to Lisbon, Portugal.  As she told Vogue, "I like to put myself in uncomfortable situations and take risks."  That's pretty much what she's been doing her entire career.

"One of the things that always impressed me, personally, about Madonna is how courageous she is," says Dr. Jason Hanley, VP of Education for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  "She could have just laid back on a comfortable thing with the dance music she had started in, but she found new ways of thinking about her music."

"She innovated music videos...she innovated world tours and live stage shows in ways that people had not done before, these massive arena shows in the '80s," Hanley adds. "I think so many people try to be like Madonna now. ...I think Madonna has served as an icon for so many artists for years."

Explaining her presence in the Rock Hall, Hanley notes, "Madonna is somebody who continued to be so productive and innovative over the years....she really is somebody who pushed music forward." 

Madonna, the top-selling female recording artist of all time, will continue her journey later this year when she releases a brand-new album, inspired, she says, by the musicians she met in Portugal.  She's also been working with Mirwais [meer-WEH], the producer behind some of her biggest records of this millennium.  A world tour may follow, no doubt stuffed with spectacle and Madonna's trademark controversy.

Beyond her status as a singer, songwriter and producer, Madonna is also an actress, director, businesswoman and humanitarian.  For her 60th birthday, she's asked fans to donate to Raising Malawi, her charity foundation that helps orphans and vulnerable children in that African nation. The fundraiser, hosted on her Facebook page, runs through August 31.

Here's a handy list of just a few of some of Madonna's honors:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee

Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee

20 MTV Video Music Awards, plus the MTV Artist of the Decade Award

16 Guinness World Records

Seven Grammy Awards

Five Billboard Music Awards

Three People's Choice Awards

Two Golden Globe Awards

Two Kids' Choice Awards

GLAAD Excellence in Media Award

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