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.
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.
On August 23 1986, Papa Don’t Preach spent the first of two weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
Despite being more of a pop/rock song than a club-oriented cut – both in its original form and in Stephen Bray’s extended remix version – Papa Don’t Preach nevertheless managed to reach #4 on Billboard’s August 30th Hot Dance/Club Play chart due to the massive buzz surrounding the song and its undeniable crossover appeal.
On August 10 1985, Into The Groove spent the first of four weeks in the #1 position on the UK Singles Chart. It was Madonna’s first chart-topping single in the UK, where she has collected a total of thirteen #1 hits to date.
As an added validation, Into the Groove was Madonna’s first self-produced release (co-produced with Stephen Bray). While artists co-producing their own work is common today, it was relatively unusual at the time, particularly for female artists. The immense success of the single undoubtedly helped convince the powers at Sire/Warner to grant Madonna the artistic freedom to co-produce her next album, True Blue, together with her collaborators Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard.
On July 12 1986, Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach reached #1 in the UK and stayed there for 3 weeks.
Madonna’s first-ever CD single was for Papa Don’t Preach. The single was produced in the UK for distribution in the USA. The rare gold disc CD single featured 3 audio tracks as well as the official video for Papa Don’t Preach in NTSC format.
The single included:
- Papa Don’t Preach (7″ Version) (4:27)
- Papa Don’t Preach (12″ Version) (5:43)
- Pretender (LP Version) (4:28)
- Papa Don’t Preach (Video) (5:05)