JR Robinson

Like a Prayer

Like a Prayer is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on March 21, 1989 by Sire Records. The RIAA certified it Gold, Platinum & Double Platinum on May 23rd 1989 & Quadruple Platinum on July 16th 1997, recognizing four million shipments in the U.S. - making it her seventh best-selling album there. Worldwide, it has sold more than eleven million copies.

Album history

Like a Prayer was considered to be Madonna's most accomplished artistic statement at the time, incorporating rock, dance, pop, soul, and funk elements into the album. Rolling Stone magazine hailed it "as close to art as pop music gets". It was recorded in 1988 with collaborators Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, and also includes a duet with R&B pop singer Prince. It featured the first of several songs throughout her career in which she talked openly about her mother's death, "Promise to Try"; Madonna even dedicated the album to "my mother who taught me to pray." She also addresses the end of her marriage to actor Sean Penn in the song "Till Death Do Us Part."

Before the commercial release of the first single and title track, Pepsi decided to use the song as part of their soft drink commercial featuring Madonna. In addition to this, the company had also struck a deal to sponsor her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour. The commercial was aired twice before the release of the music video on MTV. Pepsi had no idea about the controversial content depicted in the video; Madonna witnesses a murder, kisses a black saint, displays stigmata after cutting her palms on a knife, and dances in a field of burning crosses. Religious groups were furious and threatened to boycott Pepsi. They decided the risk was too great, and they canceled their ad campaign and sponsorship deal, although Madonna got to keep the $5 million in her contract.

Due to the high publicity surrounding the controversy, the single soared to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the USA. The album debuted at number eleven, and within three weeks, shot to number one, where it would stay for over a month. Singles "Express Yourself" and "Cherish" both made it to number two. "Oh Father" was her least successful single since 1984, but still became a top twenty hit, peaking at number twenty. "Keep It Together" reached number eight on the charts, and "Dear Jessie" was also a hit single in Europe, and had an animated video.

According to a list released by Time magazine on November 13, 2006, Like a Prayer is one of the 100 greatest albums of all time.

Track listing

# Title Composers Production credits Time
01 "Like a Prayer" Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 5:39
02 "Express Yourself" Madonna, Stephen Bray Madonna and Stephen Bray 4:37
03 "Love Song" (duet with Prince) Madonna, Prince Rogers Nelson Madonna and Prince 4:52
04 "Till Death Do Us Part" Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 5:16
05 "Promise to Try" Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 3:36
06 "Cherish" Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 5:03
07 "Dear Jessie" Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 4:20
08 "Oh Father" Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 4:57
09 "Keep It Together" Madonna, Stephen Bray Madonna and Stephen Bray 5:03
10 "Spanish Eyes"1 Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 5:15
11 "Act of Contrition" Madonna Madonna and Prince ("The Powers that Be") 2:19
1 This song was titled "Pray for Spanish Eyes" on the LP release, the U.S. cassette version and also on the track listing to the "Oh Father" single release in 1989.


# Title Date
01 "Like a Prayer" February 1989
02 "Express Yourself" May 1989
03 "Cherish" August 1989
04 "Oh Father" October 1989
05 "Dear Jessie" December 1989 (Europe/Australia)
06 "Keep It Together" January 1990 (Nth. America/Japan/Australia)

Certifications, peaks & sales

Country Peak position Certification (if any) Sales/shipments
Austria 1 Platinum 50,000+
Brazil 2x Platinum 730,000
Canada 5x Platinum 500,000+
Finland Platinum 70,818+
France 1 2x Platinum 600,000+
Germany 1 3x Gold 750,000+
Netherlands Platinum 100,000+
Ireland 1
Norway 1
Spain 1 4x Platinum 400,000+
Sweden 1
Switzerland 1 2x Platinum 100,000+
United Kingdom 1 4x Platinum 1,200,000+
United States 1 4x Platinum 4,200,000+

Album credits



  • Produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard
  • Produced by Madonna and Stephen Bray ("Express Yourself" and "Keep It Together")
  • Produced by Madonna and Prince ("Love Song")
  • Mixed and Engineered by Bill Bottrell
  • Horns arranged by Chuck Findley
  • Strings Arranged and Conducted by Bill Meyers
  • Concertmaster: Susie Katayama


External links

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