On June 30, 1986, Madonna released her third studio album, True Blue. It was the album that turned Madonna from bubblegum pop singer to music legend. True Blue introduced maturity in Madonna’s music. The first single off the album, “Live to Tell”, was used in the film “At Close Range” which starred her then husband, Sean Penn, and Christopher Walken.
The single was received by critics as a “tremendous ballad that rewrites the rules of adult contemporary crossover” and earned Madonna her third number one song on the Billboard Hot 100.
Madonna’s next single from True Blue, “Papa Don’t Preach”, was not received without controversy. The song, as anyone has heard it is aware, is about a girl who got pregnant by her boyfriend and has decided to have the baby. “Papa Don’t Preach” was criticized by Planned Parenthood as promoting teenage pregnancy. Even with, or perhaps due to the controversy, “Papa Don’t Preach” earned Madonna another number one hit.
The song is still today one of Madonna’s best songs and has been covered by Kelly Osbourne.
True Blue was the top-selling album of 1986 and in almost ten years was certified seven times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over seven million copies worldwide. The album had a release of five singles: “Live to Tell”, “Papa Don’t Preach”, “True Blue”, “Open Your Heart” and “La Isla Bonita”; which influenced record companies to release more singles for albums than the standard of two singles per album at the time.
For me, I can definitely say that Madonna’s True Blue is one of the best albums in music history and twenty-five years later, it is better than some of the albums that come out. There is not one song off that album that is, in my opinion, a dud. I have listened to True Blue many times from beginning to end and felt that all of the songs compliment each other. Aside from the singles that came from True Blue, my favorite song off this album has always been “White Heat”. The opening dialogue on the song is James Cagney from his movie with the same name. The song is gritty and in-your-face with its hook “I don’t want to live out your fantasy. Love’s not that easy”.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of True Blue, Warner Brothers Records is promoting a contest to lip sync your favorite song from True Blue. The winner receives a copy of the album autographed by Madonna.