true blue

True Blue (album)

True Blue is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on June 30, 1986 by Sire Records. On its release, it reached number one in twenty-eight countries, an achievement that The Guinness Book of World Records called "totally unprecedented." The RIAA certified it Gold, Platinum & Double Platinum on September 8th 1986 and 7.00× Multi Platinum in February 9th 1995, recognizing seven million shipments in the United States - which makes it her third best-selling album there. In 2001, Warner Bros. released a remastered version with two bonus remix tracks. Worldwide, the album has sold at least twenty-five million copies to date.

Album history

For this album, Madonna continued to collaborate with Stephen Bray, and began to work with Patrick Leonard. Unlike Madonna and Like a Virgin, Madonna wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, although writing involvement on some songs such as "Papa Don't Preach" and "Open Your Heart" was limited to adding lyrics. She is also credited with co-producing every track. The album was recorded in late 1985 and early 1986, during the first year of Madonna's marriage to American actor Sean Penn. She dedicated the album to Penn, "the coolest guy in the universe."

The album's second single, "Papa Don't Preach," was surrounded by controversy due to its message about a young woman who tells her father that she is pregnant out of wedlock, but is going to keep her baby. Madonna's love for the Golden Age of Hollywood can be seen in the Jimmy Cagney tribute, "White Heat," which features a sample from the ending of the film White Heat (Raoul Walsh, 1949). Track four on the album, "Live to Tell," was originally recorded as the theme to the film At Close Range, and was released as a single before the album was released. Originally intended as the first single, "Love Makes the World Go Round" closes the album and was first performed at Live Aid a year earlier in July 1985.

"Spotlight" was considered for inclusion on the album but was cut at the last minute. It was later released on the 1987 remix compilation You Can Dance as an extended version. The song was also released as a single in Japan on April 25, 1988.

The album cover, shot by photographer Herb Ritts, is one of Madonna's most recognizable pictures. It features a picture of Madonna from the neck up; the main colors in the picture are gray, white and various shades of blue to reinforce the album's title. The album cover is actually a cropped image of a longer picture including torso which was included as a poster with some releases of the album. Also, some runs of the cover image do not include the artist-title text.

In 1986, the album won a Juno Award in Canada for Best International Album. In 1987 it won two American Music Awards.

Madonna has performed nearly all the songs on her world tours:

Musical elements of "Open Your Heart" were included in the introduction to "Nobody's Perfect" on her 2001 Drowned World Tour, and a sample of "Where's the Party" was included in the song "Music Inferno" performed at her 2006 Confessions Tour.

"Jimmy, Jimmy" is the only track from the album to have never been performed live thus far in Madonna's career.

In 2001, True Blue was remastered and re-released with two bonus tracks, remixes of the hit singles "True Blue" and "La Isla Bonita".

Critical response

True Blue received mixed reviews from critics. Music critics were less than impressed with the album's ending, but did praise the fact that Madonna's voice sounded stronger than it did on her previous efforts. Stephen Holden, in a review for The New York Times, said that "her singing, which has been harshly criticized as a thin imitation of the sixties girl-group sound, has strengthened, and in a Rolling Stone review, Davitt Sigerson stated that Madonna was "singing better than ever."

The album's songs were called "catchy," but Sigerson in his review commented on the lack of outstanding songs. Forgetting about this comment, he later stated that True Blue is a "sturdy, dependable, lovable new album" which "remains faithful to her past while shamelessly rising above it.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, in a review for Allmusic, named the album as the record that made Madonna a superstar. He also calls it "one of the great dance-pop albums, a record that demonstrates Madonna's true skills as a songwriter, record-maker, provocateur, and entertainer through its wide reach, accomplishment, and sheer sense of fun.

While Madonna's first two albums have occasionally been seen as throwaway to some, True Blue was the first to be recognized as a classic album. In his guide to Madonna, Ricky Gardiner argues that it should be considered in any album-of-the-1980s list, whilst worldwide sales make it her second biggest seller after The Immaculate Collection. It also remains her only album to date to spawn multiple number one singles in the USA ("Papa Don't Preach," "Open Your Heart," "Live To Tell"). "Where's the Party," despite not being released as a single, became a dance hit and a fan and concert favourite, and was later remixed for You Can Dance.

Track listing

# Title Composers Production credits Time
01 "Papa Don't Preach" Brian Elliot, additional lyrics Madonna Madonna and Stephen Bray 4:27
02 "Open Your Heart" Madonna, Gardner Cole, Peter Rafelson Madonna and Patrick Leonard 4:13
03 "White Heat"¹ Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 4:40
04 "Live to Tell" Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 5:52
05 "Where's the Party" Madonna, Stephen Bray, Patrick Leonard Madonna, Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard 4:21
06 "True Blue" Madonna, Stephen Bray Madonna and Stephen Bray 4:16
07 "La Isla Bonita" Madonna, Patrick Leonard, Bruce Gaitsch Madonna and Patrick Leonard 4:02
08 "Jimmy Jimmy" Madonna, Stephen Bray Madonna and Stephen Bray 3:55
09 "Love Makes the World Go Round" Madonna, Patrick Leonard Madonna and Patrick Leonard 4:32
2001 Remastered version bonus tracks
10 "True Blue" (The Color Mix) Madonna, Stephen Bray Madonna and Stephen Bray
Additional Production and Remix by Shep Pettibone for Mastermix Productions
11 "La Isla Bonita" (Extended Remix) Madonna, Patrick Leonard, Bruce Gaitsch Madonna and Patrick Leonard
Remixed by Chris Lord-Alge

¹Contains an audio sample from the 1949 film of the same name

Certifications, peaks & sales

Country Peak position Certification (if any) Sales/shipments
Australia 1 4x Platinum 280,000
Canada 1 Diamond 1,000,000+
Chile 1
Denmark 29
Finland Platinum 53,912+
France 1 Diamond 1,400,000+
Germany 1 2x Platinum 1,000,000
Italy 1 Diamond 2,300,000
Netherlands 1 Platinum 100,000+
Norway 2
Spain 1 3x Platinum 350,000+
Sweden 2
Switzerland 1
United Kingdom 1 7x Platinum 2,100,000+
United States 1 8x Platinum 8,000,000

Album credits



  • Producers: Stephen Bray, Patrick Leonard, Madonna
  • Engineers: Michael Hutchinson, Michael Verdick
  • Mixing: Dan Nebenzal, Michael Verdick
  • Mixing assistant: Dan Nebenzal
  • Drum programming: Stephen Bray, Patrick Leonard
  • String arrangements: Billy Meyers



External links

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