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True Blue by Madonna (Sire, 1984)

True Blue was Madonna’s third studio album. True Blue has been deemed Madonna’s most “girliest” album with lyrics centered on love, dreams, work and life’s disappointments and was dedicated to her then husband Sean Penn. True Blue went straight to #1 in a record-breaking 28 countries, was the world’s top selling album of
1986, was the biggest selling album of the 1980s by a woman and has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. All five singles from True Blue reached the top five on Billboard’s Hot 100 — three of them went to #1. It’s been said that True Blue was the album that turned Madonna from a pop tart into a consummate musical icon.

The first single release was Live to Tell. This pop ballad went to #1 in Canada, Italy and the U.S. (on both the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary charts). It also hit #1 on the Eurochart. Live to Tell was used in Penn’s movie At Close Range. Overall, Live to Tell was Madonna’s third number one single and her first adult contemporary hit.

The second single Papa Don’t Preach also went to #1 (in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Norway, the UK and the U.S.) In true Madonna fashion, the single has caused quite the controversy: Family planning organizations felt the song glamorized teen pregnancy while those who oppose abortion felt the song promoted a positive pro life message. Papa Don’t Preach was mostly written by Ben Elliot based on teen gossip he overheard outside his studio. (Madonna did provide additional lyrics for the song.)

The third single, True Blue, hit #1 in Canada, Ireland and the UK. (It only hit #3 on the Hot 100.) Originally written by Steve Bray, Madonna claimed that True Blue was Sean Penn’s favorite expression of his vision of love. Hence, both the single and, in fact, the entire album was a tribute to Penn, whom she was very much in love with at the time.

The fourth single, Open Your Heart, was originally written for Cyndi Lauper. The single never made it to her and ended up with Madonna instead. She altered some lyrics and changed the melody from rock’n’roll to dance-pop and took it to #1 on the Hot 100 and Dance/Club Play charts in the U.S.

The final single, La Isla Bonita, was first offered to Michael Jackson. It ended up with Madonna who tinkered with the lyrics and melody and it became her first single with a Latin influence. Madonna took it to #1 in Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, the Adult Contemporary chart in the U.S. and on the Eurochart.