Music, Classic Songs to Be Discovered

1986 – Part 5.6: Madonna – True Blue

I’m not sure what Madonna is trying to own right now, but once upon a time Madonna owned the charts,

“True Blue” is album number 3. She had a new look and a newish sound.

She co-wrote and produced the entire album with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard.

Papa Don’t Preach

Written by Brian Elliot and Madonna.

There are a lot of players on this song.

Bray provides keyboards, drums and drum programming. Fred Zarr provides additional keyboards, John Putnam is on acoustic guitar and electric guitar, with David Williams providing more guitars and Bruce Gaitsch providing even more guitars. Billy Meyers did the string arrangements and Jonathan Moffett provides percussion and drums.

While the song doesn’t resonate lyrically, Madonna’s vocal performance is stellar and the melodies remain with me long after the song is finished.

Open Your Heart

Written by Madonna, Gardner Cole and Peter Rafelson. It was one of the first songs recorded for the album, however it was originally intended for Cyndi Lauper.

White Heat

Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard.

The great Richard Marx provides backing vocals on this.

The song was dedicated to actor James Cagney and named after the film of the same name from 1949. The song is like a funk meets a groovy rhythm and blues chord progression.

Live to Tell

The keyboard/synth riff hook you in and the decorative guitar playing by Bruce Gaitsch is perfect.

The track is listed as being written by Madonna and producer Patrick Leonard who also plays the keys and drums on the song, with Jonathan Moffett also contributing. No bass player is listed, as all the different keyboard tracks create a synth bass line.

It was originally written by Patrick Leonard for the soundtrack of Paramount’s romantic drama film “Fire with Fire” but, after the company declined it, Leonard showed the song to Madonna. She decided to use it for “At Close Range”, the new film of her husband Sean Penn. When the film’s director, James Foley, heard Madonna’s demo, he asked Leonard to write the score for the film, as suggested by Madonna.

Make sure you listen to the album version, the version that is close to 6 minutes long.

Where’s The Party

Written by Madonna, Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard. Bray and Leonard also do the keyboards, the drums and the drum programming. The great Dann Huff plays guitars on this with David Boroff appearing on the saxophone.

I class this song as a funk pop song.

And who knew that the funk pop rock sounds of this album would give way to a whole new movement called Dance Music in a few years’ time. While not released as a single, “Where’s the Party” did receive airplay on radio stations, back when the radio DJ’s did their own programming. Before investors and share prices.

The message of the song is clear. It doesn’t matter how bad or pressured life could get, accept that party invite and let your hair down. Enjoy.

True Blue

Written by Madonna and Stephen Bray. I dig the whole 60’s Motown vibe.

Bray provides the keyboard sounds, the drums and the drum programming, with Fred Zarr providing additional keyboards and Bruce Gaitsch again decorating nicely on the guitars.

La Isla Bonita

Written by Madonna, Patrick Leonard and session guitarist Bruce Gaitsch who also provides some wonderful flamenco leads.

Leonard provides most of the music with the keyboards and drums/drum programming with Paulinho da Costa providing percussion and all the guitar tracks are provided by Bruce Gaitsch.

It’s about escapism and hoping that the holiday never ends.

As a side note, the song was written for Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album, but Jackson turned it down. While working with Leonard, Madonna accepted the song and re-wrote the lyrics, earning herself a co-writing credit.

Jimmy Jimmy

Written by Madonna and Stephen Bray.

Leonard and Bray provide the keyboards, drums and drum programming with Fred Zarr providing additional keyboards. Jonathan Moffett is on real drums and percussion while Bruce Gaitsch again decorates nicely on the guitars.

“Jimmy Jimmy” is that bad boy that Madonna likes, like James Dean.

Love Makes the World Go Round

Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, it feels like a Phil Collins track. Guitars on this one are provided by Paul Jackson Jr with Paulinho da Costa on percussion with Bray and Leonard providing all of the other sounds.

And the themes are about anti-war and anti-poverty, using Latin drums and samba-influenced rhythms.

For 40 minutes, Madonna had captured my attention and held it.

And she did that around the world to many others.

It went Diamond in France and Canada.

It went 7x Platinum in the UK and the US.

It went 5x Platinum in New Zealand.

It went 4× Platinum in Australia, Italy and Argentina.

It went 3x Platinum in Spain and Switzerland.

It went 2x Platinum in Germany.

It went Platinum in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Norway.

It went Gold in Brazil, Greece, Japan and Portugal.

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3 thoughts on “1986 – Part 5.6: Madonna – True Blue

  1. Still remember when Madonna started her own label and signed Candlebox and they were outselling the label boss at that point. lol.
    I watched decades ago her Truth and Dare video or whatever that documentary was called. She knew what she wanted and she always went for it.
    I give her that…

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