Before presenting the MTV Video Music Awards' prestigious video of the year honor, Madonna took the opportunity to pay tribute to Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul who passed way at age 76 on Aug 16 -- and who had more of a hand in Madonna's career than fans might expect.
In a lengthy but heartfelt speech, the iconic pop singer remembered performing Franklin's career favorite "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" a cappella at an audition for back-up dancers in New York City, after leaving Detroit at age 18 with "35 dollars in my pocket."
Though Madonna didn't mention the "French disco sensation" whom she auditioned to tour with by name, her speech presumably refers to Patrick Hernandez, who famously invited a young Madonna on his 1979 world tour. "When they asked me if I had sheet music and a song prepared, I panicked," Madonna remembered. "Fortunately, one of my favorite albums was Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin."