On January 30 1990, Keep It Together was released in North America as the fifth and final single from Like A Prayer. It also received a commercial release in Japan, Australia, Ecuador and the Philippines, while some European markets opted to include it as the b-side to Madonna’s next single, Vogue.
As fate would ironically have it, Madonna’s soulful ode to remembering ones roots would turn out to be the last Madonna-performed single co-written and co-produced with longtime collaborator Stephen Bray, whom she had befriended (or by some accounts, dated) during her days as a student at the University of Michigan. A final collaboration written by the pair, Get Over – which is speculated to have been written as a potential new track for The Immaculate Collection but was instead given to fellow Warner recording artist Nick Scotti – was released as a single in 1993, after first appearing on the Nothing But Trouble soundtrack in 1991.
Although no music video was produced for Keep It Together, the maxi-single – jam-packed with memorable remixes by Shep Pettibone and DJ Mark “The 45 King” with Stephen Bray – made the single a must-have for fans around the world. And despite its exclusion from her greatest hits releases, Madonna’s show-closing (and show-stopping) performance of the song during her legendary Blond Ambition Tour – and its accompanying documentary Truth Or Dare – has also served to keep the song alive in the hearts and minds of fans.
On August 25 1987, “Causing a Commotion” was released as the second single from the soundtrack album “Who’s That Girl“, by Sire Records. “Causing a Commotion” was written and produced by Madonna and Stephen Bray, the song was inspired by Madonna’s relationship with then husband Sean Penn, and his abusive and violent nature.
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 April 11 1990, the Keep It Together single was certified gold for sales of 500,000 units in the USA.
Written and produced by Madonna and Stephen Bray, the main inspiration behind Keep It Together was Madonna’s relationship with her family—whom she dearly missed after her divorce from actor Sean Penn. It became the final Madonna single release to feature a collaboration with Bray—a partnership that had begun romantically when Madonna & Stephen were college students at the University of Michigan, Madonna later persuaded Bray to join her in New York where he became the drummer for her band, Emmy. The two went on to write and produce some of Madonna’s most memorable 80’s hits. A final collaboration between the pair, Get Over, was reworked by Madonna and Shep Pettibone for possible inclusion as one of the new tracks on The Immaculate Collection, but was instead given to Warner Bros artist Nick Scotti to record in 1991.
March 21 2014 marked the 25th Anniversary of Madonna’s Like a Prayer album. Like a Prayer was released on March 21, 1989 by Sire Records. Madonna worked with Stephen Bray, Patrick Leonard, and Prince on the album while co-writing and co-producing all the songs.
Six singles were released from the album: Like a Prayer, Express Yourself, Cherish, Oh Father, Dear Jessie, and Keep It Together.