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 December 27 1986, Billboard’s year-end issue hit newsstands with Madonna appearing on the following 1986 chart rankings:
- Top Pop Artist: #2
- Top Pop Album: “True Blue” #37
- Top Pop Album: “Like A Virgin” #52
- Top Pop Album Artist: #6
- Top Pop Album Artist – Female: #3
- Top Pop Singles Artist: #3
- Top Pop Singles Artist – Female: #2
- Top Pop Single: “Papa Don’t Preach” #29
- Top Pop Single: “Live To Tell” #35
- Top Pop Single: “True Blue” #76
- Top Pop Compact Disc: “True Blue” #25
- Top Adult Contemporary Artist: #9
- Top Adult Contemporary Single: “Live To Tell” #12
- Top Dance Club Play Single: “Papa Don’t Preach” #43
- Top Dance Sales Artist: #3
- Top Dance Sales 12-Inch Single: “Papa Don’t Preach” #29
- Top Dance Sales 12-Inch Single: “Live To Tell” #37
- Top Music Video: “Madonna Live: The Virgin Tour” #1
On November 22 1986, Madonna’s True Blue single peaked at #5 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart in the USA. The hit single would eventually spend 16 weeks on the AC chart.
On October 18 1986, Madonna’s True Blue debuted at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales chart. True Blue spent 10 weeks on the chart, eventually peaking at #4 on November 15.
On September 10 1986, True Blue was released as a single in Canada. Written & produced by Madonna & Stephen Bray, the title-track of her third album was a 1960’s Motown-inspired love letter to her husband, Sean Penn.
After including True Blue on 1987’s Who’s That Girl World Tour set list, the song appeared to have been written out of Madonna’s repertoire following her split from Sean. By 2015’s Rebel Heart Tour, Madonna had made amens with both Sean and True Blue, performing the track as a stripped-down, crowd-pleasing acoustic number.
Shep Pettibone’s remixes of the single marked his first of many collaborations with Madonna.
On March 16 1995, Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection was certified 6x platinum (6 million units) in the USA.
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com):
On the surface, the single-disc hits compilation The Immaculate Collection appears to be a definitive retrospective of Madonna’s heyday in the ’80s. After all, it features 17 of Madonna’s greatest hits, from Holiday and Like a Virgin to Like a Prayer and Vogue. However, looks can be deceiving. It’s true that The Immaculate Collection contains the bulk of Madonna’s hits, but there are several big hits that aren’t present, including Angel, Dress You Up, True Blue, Who’s That Girl and Causing a Commotion. The songs that are included are frequently altered. Everything on the collection is remastered in Q-sound, which gives an exaggerated sense of stereo separation that often distorts the original intent of the recordings. Furthermore, several songs are faster than their original versions and some are faded out earlier than either their single or album versions, while others are segued together. In other words, while all the hits are present, they’re simply not in their correct versions. Nevertheless, The Immaculate Collection remains a necessary purchase, because it captures everything Madonna is about and it proves that she was one of the finest singles artists of the ’80s. Until the original single versions are compiled on another album, The Immaculate Collection is the closest thing to a definitive retrospective.
On November 2 1987, Madonna’s True Blue won International Album Of The Year at the 17th annual Juno Awards at the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
When did you last give True Blue a full listen?