Madonna Tape From 1981 Shows Her Indie-Rock Potential

MadonnaMadonna has been a lot of things over the years: urban cowgirl, dancing queen, electro empress, pop priestess and ill-advised rapper.

But indie rocker? Madonna biographer Andrew Morton has found a 27-year-old tape of some of the singer's earliest recordings, chronicling the era when the future chameleonic media maven was a struggling dancer living in the basement of a Queens, New York, synagogue with brothers Ed and Dan Gilroy, the latter of whom was Madonna's boyfriend at the time.

The raw recordings are interspersed with some bizarre pillow talk and snippets of Madonna's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech in which she referred to that era. The tape features such tunes as "Born to Be a Dancer" and "Tell the Truth," a song she says is the first one she ever wrote, on which she plays guitar and drums.

The spare, acoustic "Tell the Truth" sounds like a Liz Phair outtake, while the other lo-fi, garage tunes might have fit in on an early Matador or Sub Pop album — if those labels had been around in 1981. But, for whatever reason, we know Madonna chose to go a way different direction with her sound.

What do you think of this early Madonna sound?