Madonna “Live to Tell”

Madonna “Live to Tell
is a pop ballad by American singer-songwriter Madonna. Originally written by Patrick Leonard for the soundtrack of the film Fire with Fire, the song was shown to Madonna, who decided to use it for then-husband Sean Penn’s film At Close Range. It was produced by Leonard and Madonna for her third studio album True Blue, released in mid-1986, later appearing as a remix on the 1990 compilation album The Immaculate Collection, in its original form on the 1995 ballads compilation album Something to Remember, and most recently on her third compilation album Celebration (again in its original form), released in September 2009.
The song includes instrumentation from guitars, keyboards, drums and a synthesizer, and its lyrics deal with deceit, mistrust and childhood scars. It is also about being strong, which Madonna recalled in an interview that she thought about her relationship with her parents, while writing the lyrics. The music video, directed by James Foley, shows Madonna’s first image makeover, featuring her with a cleaner look, shoulder-length wavy golden blond hair, conservative wardrobe and subtle make-up. This toned down blond appearance was again inspired by Marilyn Monroe.
Released as the album’s first single in March 1986, the song was a commercial success. It became Madonna’s third number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and her first number-one on the Adult Contemporary chart. It was generally well received by music critics, who frequently referred to it as the best ballad of her career. The song faced controversy when Madonna performed it on her 2006 Confessions Tour wearing a crown of thorns while hanging on a giant mirrored cross. The performance at Rome’s Olympic Stadium was condemned as an act of hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church by religious leaders.


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Madonna Louise Ciccone (/ɪˈkn/) (born August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She achieved popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery in her music videos, which became a fixture on MTV. Madonna is known for reinventing both her music and image, and for retaining a standard of autonomy within the recording industry. Music critics have acclaimed her musical productions which have also been known to induce controversy. She is also cited as an influence among other artists around the world.

Born in Bay City, Michigan, Madonna moved to New York City to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she signed with Sire Records (an affiliate of Warner Bros. Records) in 1982 and released her self-titled debut album the following year. She followed it with a series of commercially successful albums, including the Grammy Award winners Ray of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). Throughout her career, she has written and produced most of her songs, with many of them reaching number one on the record charts, including “Like a Virgin”, “Into the Groove”, “Papa Don’t Preach”, “Like a Prayer”, “Vogue”, “Frozen”, “Music”, “Hung Up”, and “4 Minutes”.

Madonna’s popularity was further enhanced by her film roles, but most of them have received harsh feedback. But she garnered a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Evita (1996). Her other ventures include fashion design, writing children’s books, and film directing and producing. She has been acclaimed as a businesswoman, most notably after she founded entertainment company Maverick (including the label Maverick Records) in 1992 as a joint venture with Time Warner. In 2007, she signed an unprecedented US $120 million 360 deal with Live Nation.

Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second best-selling female artist in the United States, with 64.5 million certified albums. Billboard ranked her at number two, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of American singles chart. The magazine also declared her as the top-touring female artist of all time. She became one of the five founding members of the UK Music Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility.

 

Background and writing
After Madonna finished The Virgin Tour, she asked producers Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray to write some songs with her and produce her third studio album, True Blue (1986). “Live to Tell” was originally written by Leonard for the soundtrack of Paramount’s romantic drama film Fire with Fire. “My managers represented the guy who was directing the film; it was his first film. I saw a little piece of the film, and I had the script. I wrote a theme and I said, ‘What if I could get Madonna to write the lyrics for it?'”, said Leonard.
However, Paramount rejected the song, believing that Leonard was incapable of creating the score for the film. It was then that Leonard presented the song to Madonna. She decided to use it for At Close Range, the new film of her then-husband, actor Sean Penn. Madonna wrote the lyrics of the song onspot, and made a demo recording on a cassette. She presented the song to the film’s director James Foley, who after hearing the track, decided to enlist Leonard as the person to write the score for the film, as per suggestions by Madonna.
Leonard was working with Michael Jackson, on some transcriptions for his Bad album, when Penn called him at the home of Foley. There he got to know that Madonna had suggested he write the score for At Close Range, and had also asked who was going to sing “Live to Tell”, since the song was written from a man’s perspective. Leonard, although he had initially envisioned a male voice interpreting the song, decided to use Madonna as the main vocalist and used the demo version as the main vocal with backup drums only. He later recalled that “it was so innocent and so shy. It’s as naive, as raw, as raw can be and that’s part of what gave it all its charm.” In a 1986 interview, Madonna said that the mood on the song was inspired by a different facet of her image makeover and her desire to focus on something different.

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