On June 28 1986, Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach single debuted at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA. Eight weeks later it would reach #1 on the same chart.
Shortly after its release, the song caused heated discussions about its lyrical content. Women’s organizations and others in the family planning field criticized Madonna for encouraging teenage pregnancy, while groups opposed to abortion saw it as a positive pro-life message.
In July 1986, shortly after the release of the video for Papa Don’t Preach, Madonna commented on the controversy surrounding the song, to music critic Stephen Holden from The New York Times:
“Papa Don’t Preach is a message song that everyone is going to take the wrong way. Immediately they’re going to say I am advising every young girl to go out and get pregnant. When I first heard the song, I thought it was silly. But then I thought, wait a minute, this song is really about a girl who is making a decision in her life. She has a very close relationship with her father and wants to maintain that closeness. To me it’s a celebration of life. It says, ‘I love you, father, and I love this man and this child that is growing inside me’. Of course, who knows how it will end? But at least it starts off positive.”
On September 4 1987, Madonna performed “Causing A Commotion” live via satellite from the Stadio Communale in Turin, Italy, during the “Who’s That Girl World Tour” and won Best Female Video for “Papa Don’t Preach” at the 4th annual MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, California.
On July 26 1986, “Papa Don’t Preach” spent its third and final week at number-one on the UK singles chart. It was certified Gold by BPI on August 1st, 1986 for shipment of over 500,000 copies, based on certification thresholds at that time. With a chart run extending for 15 weeks, the single ranked #8 overall in the UK’s year-end charts tally.
The song was a massive hit across Europe, topping the Eurochart for an incredible eleven week stretch from August 2nd through October 11th, 1986 when it was finally overtaken by none other than Madonna herself with the follow-up single, “True Blue.”
Although “Justify My Love” is often cited as being the first-ever video single, it is interesting to note that it was actually not the first Madonna music video to be marketed commercially as a single. Possibly an attempt to cash-in on the success and controversy surrounding “Papa Don’t Preach” or more likely as a means of testing out new marketing possibilities for a hybrid laserdisc/cd format, Warner issued limited quantities of “Papa Don’t Preach” as a CD Video in the US, UK and Japan containing three audio tracks along with the music video. Perhaps anticipating the limited appeal of the format, Warner did not bother modifying the track-listing to include the appropriate b-sides in either the UK (“Ain’t No Big Deal“) or Japan (“Think Of Me“), instead opting to issue the US b-side (“Pretender“) on all three pressings. Stranger still was the release date – 1988 – two years after the standard single hit stores. Needless to say, this early attempt to market a music video single did not stir public interest the way it would in 1990, and the concept went into hibernation mode until Madonna gave audiences a video single they were willing to pay for.
On July 11 1987, Madonna’s “True Blue” album was certified 5x platinum (5 million units) in the USA. The album went on to sell an estimated 19 million units worldwide.
On June 30 1986, Madonna’s True Blue album was released by Sire Records. She worked with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard on the album while co-writing and co-producing all the songs.
True Blue was an immediate global success, reaching number one in then record-breaking 28 countries across the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. It spent 34 consecutive weeks at the top of the European Top 100 Albums chart, longer than any other album in history. It became the world’s top-selling album of 1986, as well the biggest selling album of the 1980s by a woman and remains one of the best-selling albums of all time with sales of more than 25 million copies worldwide. All five singles released from the album reached the top five on theBillboard Hot 100, with Live to Tell, Papa Don’t Preach, and Open Your Heart peaking at number one.
On January 26 1987, Madonna won Best Female Performance for Papa Don’t Preach at the 14th annual American Music Awards at the Scottish Rite Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA.
Isn’t she adorable?