On January 20 1988, Madonna’s You Can Dance remix album was certified platinum in the USA for sales of 1,000,000 copies.
Patrick Leonard had this to say about working on the album:
“Remixing is a form of secondary creativity. Dance music elevates the DJ and the mixer to being almost on a level with the musician. In my opinion this is false. Manipulation of pre-recorded sound sources may be creative in a secondary sense, and may be valid in its own field, but it is pseudo musicianship. That’s why we tried to have a fresh approach to the songs for You Can Dance, as if we were developing and composing them for the first time.
On August 22 1987, Madonna’s “Who’s That Girl” single (from the soundtrack album of the same name) went to number-one on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Regarding the development of the music for the film, Madonna explained:
“I had some very specific ideas in mind, music that would stand on its own as well as support and enhance what was happening on screen and the only way to make that a reality was to have a hand in writing the tunes myself. The songs aren’t necessarily about Nikki [her character name in the movie] or written to be sung by someone like her, but there’s a spirit to this music that captures both what the film and the characters are about, I think.”
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 June 7, 1986, Madonna’s “Live To Tell” hit #1 in the USA.
This beautiful video shows Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard playing a solo piano version of Live To Tell:
On May 31, 1986, “Live To Tell” hit #1 for 3 weeks on US Hot Adult Contemporary singles chart.
The song was Madonna’s third number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and her first number-one on the Adult Contemporary chart.
In an interview about the song, Madonna said, “I thought about my relationship with my parents and the lying that went on. The song is about being strong, and questioning whether you can be that strong but ultimately surviving.”
In a review of the album True Blue, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic called it a “tremendous ballad that rewrites the rules of adult contemporary crossover”.
Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly called the song “her best ballad to date”.
In a review of her compilation album The Immaculate Collection, David Browne from Entertainment Weekly magazine called it “one of her few successful shots at being a balladeer”.
Alfred Soto from Stylus Magazine felt that “the song’s set of lyrics remain her best” and that the vocals “seethes with a lifetime’s worth of hurts which she nevertheless refuses to share”.
Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine called the song “striking” adding that it “rewrote the rules of what a pop song was supposed to sound like”.
Edna Gundersen from USA Today called the song “a moody heart-tugger, may be her best song ever.”
On May 22, 1990, Madonna’s “I’m Breathless: Music From And Inspired By The Film Dick Tracy” album was released.
In the December 1994 issue of Q magazine, Madonna declared:
“I would have to say the favourite record that I’ve made is the soundtrack to Dick Tracy (“I’m Breathless”). I love every one of those songs… My judgement is never based on the world’s reaction.”