On May 9 1987, Nick Kamen’s self-titled debut album – featuring the Madonna/Steve Bray written & produced track, Each Time You Break My Heart – was reviewed in Billboard.
Madonna’s opinion of Nick Kamen in 1986? “I said, ‘wow, this guy’s got everything’,” she told the BBC’s Simon Bates in December that year. “He [Stein] sent me a tape of four of his songs and the Levi commercial and a demo video that he [Kamen] had done,” Madonna told Bates. “You know, he’s got so much charm and charisma and there’s something there in the eyes…”
Kamen’s debut single, Each Time You Break My Heart, on which Madonna also performed backing vocals – was an international hit in the autumn of 1986. “I called Seymour up and said ‘how about if I produce the record because if I don’t…they might change the character of it…and I want it to be really good…and he said, ‘I would have asked you but, I mean, I didn’t think you’d have the time’, but I figured it was only one song so it would only take about a week if we really organize ourselves.”
The video for the single had other Madonna connections, as it was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and featured her Open Your Heart video co-star, Felix Howard, while the U.S. maxi-single was remixed by future Madonna collaborator, Shep Pettibone.
Each Time You Break My Heart was originally demoed during the sessions for Madonna’s True Blue album but sadly did not make the final cut. Kamen’s version featured the same musicians and backing vocalists (including Siedah Garrett & Edie Lehmann) from those sessions. A low-quality recording of Madonna’s original demo leaked to the internet in the early 2000’s.
Madonna fans would certainly welcome a deluxe edition of the True Blue album featuring Madonna’s version of this excellent cut and other outtakes of the era!
On April 21 2018, Rhino Warner released two limited edition Madonna albums for Record Store Day:
- You Can Dance – re-released on vinyl for the first time in 30 years. The Record Store Day version was pressed on red vinyl and included the obi strip, custom hype sticker and folded poster.
- The First Album – re-released replica of the Japanese picture disc, repressed for the first time since 1987. Originally part of a 3-picture disc reissue set along with Like A Virgin and True Blue. Includes lyric insert notes in English and Japanese.
On February 7 1987, Open Your Heart hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. It was the 4th international single release from the True Blue album.
The single’s b-side, White Heat, was inspired by the 1949 Warner Bros. film of the same name starring James Cagney, to whom Madonna dedicated the song. Interspersed with dialogue taken directly from the film, Madonna’s lyrics put her love of double entendre to clever use as she compares the film’s themes of trust and betrayal among gang members to affairs of the heart.
White Heat was written and produced by Madonna & Patrick Leonard and was one of the earlier songs developed for the True Blue album, along with Open Your Heart. The initial copyright registration, submitted to the Library Of Congress in 1985, lists the song under its original title, Get Up Stand Tall.
Both songs were performed during 1987’s Who’s That Girl Tour. White Heat was also featured as the b-side for the single, Who’s That Girl, released in the summer of 1987.
On August 13 1952, one of Madonna’s closest friends, Herb Ritts, was born in Los Angeles, California.
Ritts specialized in black and white photography and music videos, including Madonna’s Cherish music video and the photoshoot for Madonna’s True Blue, Like A Prayer and Immaculate Collection albums (among others — the list just goes on and on).
Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Herb was at Madonna’s side taking the most beautiful photos of her possible. We thank him from the bottom of our hearts for capturing Madonna during this time in her life and career.
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.