On July 12 1986, Madonna’s third album, True Blue, debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart.
Here’s the AllMusic review of True Blue by Stephen Thomas Erlewine:
True Blue is the album where Madonna truly became Madonna the Superstar — the endlessly ambitious, fearlessly provocative entertainer that knew how to outrage, spark debates, get good reviews — and make good music while she’s at it. To complain that True Blue is calculated is to not get Madonna — that’s a large part of what she does, and she is exceptional at it, but she also makes fine music. What’s brilliant about True Blue is that she does both here, using the music to hook in critics just as she’s baiting a mass audience with such masterstrokes as “Papa Don’t Preach,” where she defiantly states she’s keeping her baby. It’s easy to position anti-abortionism as feminism, but what’s tricky is to transcend your status as a dance-pop diva by consciously recalling classic girl-group pop (“True Blue,” “Jimmy Jimmy”) to snag the critics, while deepening the dance grooves (“Open Your Heart,” “Where’s the Party”), touching on Latin rhythms (“La Isla Bonita”), making a plea for world peace (“Love Makes the World Go Round”), and delivering a tremendous ballad that rewrites the rules of adult contemporary crossover (“Live to Tell”). It’s even harder to have the entire album play as an organic, cohesive work. Certainly, there’s some calculation behind the entire thing, but what matters is the end result, 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.
On May 23 1987, La Isla Bonita hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart where it ruled for a single week.
It was Madonna’s second Hot AC chart topper after Live To Tell‘s three-week stint at #1 the previous year.
Both releases achieved similar longevity on AC radio playlists, with La Isla‘s seventeen-week Hot AC chart run nearly living up to Tell‘s eighteen weeks.
On February 25 1987, Madonna’s La Isla Bonita was released as the fifth and final single from the True Blue album.
An instrumental version of the song, written by Bruce Gaitsch, was first offered to Michael Jackson for his Bad album, but Jackson declined to use the track.
While working with Patrick Leonard on the True Blue album, Madonna accepted the instrumental track and then wrote the lyrics and melody, giving her a co-writing credit with Leonard and Gaitsch. The track was also produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard.
On December 4 2007, Warner Bros. released Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis on CD and DVD. The CD included Madonna’s Hey You, while the DVD included her La Isla Bonita performance with Gogol Bordello.
The CD/DVD was released internationally on November 26 and December 4 in North America. Proceeds from the CD/DVD were directed to the Alliance for Climate Protection.
Madonna performed the following songs during the benefit concert:
- Hey You
- Ray Of Light
- La Isla Bonita
- Hung Up
On October 7 1989, Cherish, the third single from Madonna’s incredible Like A Prayer album started the first of a two-week run at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart in the USA.
Cherish was Madonna’s third single to top the A.C. chart, following the 1986 ballad hit Live To Tell (3 weeks at #1) and 1987’s La Isla Bonita (also 1 week at #1).
Here’s what Madonna biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli (Madonna: An Intimate Biography) had to say about the single:
Cherish was a particular triumph for the Madonna/Patrick Leonard partnership. A delightful confection of radio-ready proportions, the song had it all—strong, positive, remarkably dysfunction-free lyrics about love, a memorable, singalong vocal melody, and a tight, pungent rhythm arrangement. It remains, quite simply, one of the best songs Madonna has ever written; sweet and happy, but by no means corny, it’s a perfectly constructed pop song which Madonna delivered beautifully, and with undeniably sassy charm. Indeed, if Cherish had been released in the Sixties, it would have most likely emanated from Detroit’s Motown or the New York song writing Mecca, the Brill Building.
On November 10 1995, Madonna’s Something to Remember was released in Japan under the title Best of Madonna: Ballad Collection.
The Japanese release included Madonna’s 1986 hit La Isla Bonita as a bonus track.
La Isla Bonita was re-released three months prior to the compilation as a double A-side record with Human Nature, the final single from Bedtime Stories. Receiving gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), the song was added to Something to Remember track listing in the hope of boosting the album sales in the Japanese region.