Today in Madonna History: December 27, 1986

On December 27 1986, RPM magazine published their list of the top charting singles of 1986 in Canada.

Here’s how Madonna’s singles stacked up in the year-end ranking:

  • Live To Tell – #2
  • Papa Don’t Preach – #13
  • True Blue – #37

A stark departure from her earlier pop hits, Live To Tell was initially considered by her record label to be a risky choice for a single. Its success showed that programmers were willing to give Madonna some room to grow on radio.

Today in Madonna History: December 22, 1986

On December 22 1986, an exclusive interview with Madonna conducted by Simon Bates was broadcast on BBC Radio 1 in the U.K.

Madonna discussed her upbringing, her formative years as an artist, her work ethic, her marriage with Sean Penn, the press, Shanghai Surprise and more.

Listen to the full broadcast interview here:

Today in Madonna History: December 12, 1986

open your heart promo 550 Open Your Heart Canada CMS 550

On December 12 1986, Open Your Heart was released in North America as the fourth single from True Blue. The song was written by Madonna, Gardner Cole & Peter Rafelson and produced by Madonna & Patrick Leonard.

The single’s worldwide b-side, White Heat, an album track from True Blue, developed a relatively high profile due to its inclusion as the flip-side to two of Madonna’s #1 hits–the aforementioned Open Your Heart and 1987’s Who’s That Girl, released only six months apart. Gaining further exposure as a set-list staple during the Who’s That Girl Tour, the live performance of White Heat foreshadowed some of the dramatic elements that Madonna would expand upon in future tours.

White Heat’s original submission for copyright was registered to Madonna & Leonard under the working title Get Up, Stand Tall with a 1985 date of creation. Notes from the registration on file also list the title Dangerous–but it is likely just another working title that was being considered rather than a separate recording.  White Heat is thought to have been among the earliest songwriting collaborations between Madonna & Leonard to be completed, coming shortly after their first composition, Love Makes The World Go Round, surfaced during Live Aid in the summer of 1985. The sequence of the registration numbers for the two songs suggests that they may they have been completed within a month or two of each other. Madonna’s version of Open Your Heart (which she revised from the Cole/Rafelson demo) is also thought to have been recorded with Leonard during the same time period.

The liner notes of True Blue dedicated White Heat to actor James Cagney, who in 1949 played ruthless, deranged gang leader Arthur “Cody” Jarrett in the Warner Brothers film, White Heat. Several clips of Cagney’s dialogue from the original motion picture were used in the song for dramatic effect.

Today in Madonna History: November 29, 1986

On November 29 1986, Billboard’s dance music editor Brian Chin reported on the postponed Madonna remix project, You Can Dance.

While a release the following spring would also come to pass, the accuracy of details regarding the album’s content would suggest it was already in the can a year ahead of its eventual release.

An early preview would be granted for one of the remixes, albeit in live form, when Madonna’s Who’s That Girl World Tour performance of Into The Groove the following summer would borrow heavily from Shep Pettibone’s remix for You Can Dance.

Today in Madonna History: November 15, 1986

On November 15 1986, Billboard reported that a 6-track Madonna remix EP titled You Can Dance, initially scheduled for a 1986 pre-Christmas release, would be delayed until the following year to avoid affecting holiday sales of her still red-hot True Blue LP.

The article also mentions Madonna’s upcoming film, Slammer (later retitled Who’s That Girl), her track for Nick Kamen, the video for her next single, Open Your Heart, touring plans and more.

Stay tuned for a third and final installment on the You Can Dance delay…

Today in Madonna History: October 25, 1986

On October 25 1986, Billboard magazine reported that Madonna visited Larrabee Sound studios in Santa Monica to co-produce a track for Nick Kamen with Stephen Bray – and to oversee the mixing of Spotlight and the remixing of Holiday with Jellybean Benitez.

Billboard had previously announced in their October 4th issue that Sire Records planned to release a six-song Madonna EP titled You Can Dance ahead of the 1986 holiday season, featuring a previously unreleased cut Spotlight and five mixes of previously released songs.

But as we all know, You Can Dance would instead be promoted as full-length remix LP and would not hit the record store shelves until November of 1987.

(More on this next month!)

Today in Madonna History: September 8, 1986

true-blue-madonna-cassette-display

On September 8 1986, Madonna’s third album, True Blue, was certified double platinum (for shipment of 2 million units) in the USA.

Here’s a snippet of Davitt Sigerson’s review of True Blue from Rolling Stone (July 17, 1986):

Madonna’s sturdy, dependable, lovable new album remains faithful to her past while shamelessly rising above it. True Blue may generate fewer sales and less attention than Like a Virgin, but it sets her up as an artist for the long run. And like every other brainy move from this best of all possible pop madonnas, it sounds as if it comes from the heart.

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