Today in Madonna History: February 25, 1987

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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.

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Today in Madonna History: February 20, 1986

On February 20 1986, Madonna and Sean Penn attended the premiere of his film At Close Range at the Berlin Film Festival in Berlin, Germany.

Madonna contributed Live To Tell to the At Close Range soundtrack. Live To Tell was written by Patrick Leonard and Madonna, and was released as the first single from her True Blue album in March 1986.

Today in Madonna History: August 11, 1987

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On August 11 1987, Madonna’s True Blue album was certified 5x platinum (for shipment of 5 million units) in the USA.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted that “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.”

Today in Madonna History: July 19, 1986

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On July 19 1986, Madonna’s True Blue enjoyed a second week at the top of the UK Albums Chart. The record debuted at #1 the previous week (July 12 1986).

Today in Madonna History: February 3, 1987

On February 3 1987, Madonna’s True Blue album was certified 4x platinum, for sales of 4 million units in the USA.

Today in Madonna History: December 12, 1986

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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: September 8, 1986

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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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