Archive for category 13. Live to tell

Live to tell

(Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard. Producer: Madonna/Patrick Leonard)
Released by Sire Records on March 26, 1986

Found in:
True blue (1986)
The Immaculate Collection (1990)
Something to remember (1995)
The Confessions Tour (2007)
Celebration (2009)

Certification: NONE

Live performances on Tour:
The Who’s that girl Tour (1987)
The Blond Ambition Tour (1990)
The Confessions Tour (2006)


Billboard Hot 100
Debut Date: April 12, 1986
Peak date: June 7, 1986
Final week on chart: August 9, 1986
Peak: #1 (1 week)
Chart run: 49-35-24-14-11-5-2-2-1-2-4-11-20-31-45-59-75-100-off (18 weeks)

BILLBOARD HOT 100: (June 7, 1986)
#1 “Live to tell” MADONNA (9 weeks)
#2 “On my own” PATTI LABELLE
#3 “Greatest love of all” WHITNEY HOUSTON
#4 “I can’t wait” NU SHOOZ
#5 “All I need is a miracle” MIKE
#7 “Something about you” LEVEL 42
#8 “Crush on you” THE JETS
#9 “There’ll be sad songs” BILLY OCEAN
#10 “A different corner” GEORGE MICHAEL

Hot 100 Single Sales
Debut date: April 26, 1986
Peak date: June 7-14, 1986
Final week on chart: July 12, 1986
Peak: #2 (2 weeks)
Chart run: 29-16-12-8-3-3-2-2-7-16-22-32-off (12 weeks)

Hot 100 Airplay
Debut date: April 19, 1986
Peak date: May 31-June 14, 1986
Final week on chart: July 12, 1986
Peak: #1 (3 weeks)
Chart run: 28-21-13-10-5-2-1-1-1-2-8-16-31-off (13 weeks)

Adult Contemporary
Debut date: April 19, 1986
Peak date: May 31-June 14, 1986
Peak position: #1 (3 weeks)
Final week on chart: August 16, 1986
Chart run: 28-19-13-3-2-3-1-1-1-3-5-6-12-16-20-25-29-?-off (18 weeks)

Hot Dance Music/Club Play

Hot Dance Music/Maxi Singles Sales
Debut date: May 3, 1986
Peak date: June 21-28, 1986
Peak position: #3 (2 weeks)
Final week on chart: July 19, 1986
Chart run: 23-17-11-8-10-5-5-3-3-4-11-27-off (12 weeks)

UK Singles
Debut date: April 26, 1986
Peak date: May 10, 1986
Peak: #2. Certification: SILVER
Final week on chart: July 12, 1986
Chart run: 10-4-2-5-10-17-23-40-55-65-72-75-off (12 weeks)

Rest of the world

Australia: #7
Canada: #1
Belgium: #4
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles: #1
France: #6 (SILVER)
Netherlands: #3
Germany: #12
Ireland: #2
Italy: #1
New Zealand: #6
Norway: #2
Sweden: #11
Switzerland: #4

Worldwide Sales: 1,600,000

“Live to tell” is Madonna’s 13th overall single and 11th in the United States. It is featured in the movie “At close range” starring Sean Penn and at the moment of its release, it wasn’t featured on any Madonna album, although months later it was included in her third studio album True blue. Musically it was a great departure from what Madonna had offered before, not technically her first ballad, but Live to tell could be consireded her first attempt at something serious and mature. Her voice and looks were also different, her voice sounded stronger and filled with emotion as well as her looks on the video, she had removed all the junk jewelry, the fishnet stockings, and the laces in her hair. It was a complete makeover and truly her first from many reinventions.

The song became a hit on the charts reaching the top on the Billboard Hot 100 for the third time and at Adult Contemporary for the first time as well. This change in Madonna was also welcomed by the critics, claiming it was a new path for musical growth for Madonna and who was daring enough to expand her musical horizons not sticking with the winning formula. With time it has become one of Madonna’s most recognizable and signature songs, and also as one of her best works to date.

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