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Madonna - True Blue (1985)

  • Video Views 53,795,601
  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.59
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

“True Blue” is a song by American singer Madonna. It is the title track from her third studio album True Blue ...

“True Blue” is a song by American singer Madonna. It is the title track from her third studio album True Blue (1986), and was released as the album’s third single on September 17, 1986, by Sire Records. Written and produced by Madonna and Steve Bray, the song deals with Madonna’s feelings for her then-husband Sean Penn. A dance-pop song, it features instrumentation from a rhythm guitar, a synthesizer, keyboards, and drums. The main chorus is backed by an alternate one, incorporating a chord progression generally found in doo-wop music.

Received by critics as a light-hearted and cute retro song, “True Blue” topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada and became another consecutive top-ten song in United States for Madonna, by reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The original music video portrayed her again with a new look, leaner and sporting platinum blond bushy hair. An alternate video was made through the “Make My Video” contest on MTV. The final selected videos had a similar theme of a 1950s-inspired setting and the storyline following the lyrics of the song. “True Blue” has been performed on the Who’s That Girl World Tour (1987) and the Rebel Heart Tour (2015–2016).

Chart performance

“True Blue” was released in the United States in October 1986. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 40, six weeks later it reached its peak of number three, remaining at the position for three consecutive weeks, and spent a total of 16 weeks on the chart. The song performed equally well on the other Billboard charts, peaking at number five on Adult Contemporary, and number six on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. In October 1998, the single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of 500,000 copies. In Canada, the song debuted at number 84 the RPM singles chart on September 27, 1986, reached the top for one week in November 1986, and stayed on the chart for 23 weeks. It ended at number 37 on the year-end chart.

In the United Kingdom, “True Blue” was released on September 29, 1986. It debuted at number three on the UK Singles Chart, before climbing to number one the next week, becoming Madonna’s third number-one single there. It was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in October 1986. According to the Official Charts Company, the song has sold 557,000 copies there as of August 2016. The song peaked at number one for two weeks in October 1986 in Ireland, making it her fourth number-one single on the Irish Singles Chart. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the song reached the top five, and was certified platinum in the former region by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales of 70,000 copies of the single. In Europe “True Blue” also topped the Eurochart Hot 100 for one week in October 1986. It peaked in the top five in Belgium and the Netherlands, and in the top ten in Austria, France, Germany, and Switzerland.

Music video

Madonna sporting a blond bouffant short haircut, drives a 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertible with her girlfriends in the back, in the 50s inspired blue themed video for “True Blue”

“True Blue” had two music videos to accompany it. Shot in early September 1986 in New York, Madonna’s own video for the song was directed by James Foley, who worked with Madonna in her videos for “Live to Tell” and “Papa Don’t Preach”, produced by Robert Colesberry and David Massar with photography by Michael Ballhaus. The Foley version features Madonna with three dancers and a 1950s car in an all-blue diner. Madonna changes her hairstyle from short-cropped in “Papa Don’t Preach” to a bouffant platinum blonde hairdo and sings the song in choreographed moves backed by her dancers. It displays a flashing back to fifties rock’n’roll youth culture.

The blue background changes to a sunny one as she sings “The sun is bursting right out of the sky” to go-along with the lyrical meaning of the song. Two of Madonna’s close friends, Erika Belle and Debi Mazar appear in the video. The video was released at a time when she was going through a failed marriage with then husband actor Sean Penn. During this period, Madonna focused on more traditional fashion and attitudes and tried to appear more respectful of traditional gender roles. After shedding her trampy sex-kitten and boy-toy image with the “Live to Tell” music video, Madonna again adopted a new look for this video. Madonna attended aerobics classes at Hollywood health centre The Sports Connection, which was responsible for her toned down look in the video.

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