Madonna released her third studio album, True Blue, thirty years ago today. One of the best-selling albums of all time, True Blue sold seven million copies in the U.S. and an estimated 25 million copies worldwide.True Blue was the top-selling album in 1986, reaching No. 1 in 28 countries around the world, as well as the best-selling album of the ’80s by a female artist.
Madonna co-wrote and co-produced the entirety of True Blue with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard. She has said that the album deals with her view of love and was an “unabashed valentine” to her then husband Sean Penn. In his AllMusic Review, critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that “True Blue is the album where Madonna truly became Madonna the Superstar. The album’s second single, “Papa Don’t Preach” sparked outrage for its themes of pregnancy and abortion, while the peep-show theme for “Open Your Heart” also became a lightning rod for a discussion about the “male gaze” and voyeurism.
Madonna now holds the record for the “Top Grossing Touring Solo Artist” in the history of Billboard Boxscore with over $1.31 billion in ticket sales sold over the course of her career.
True Blue spawned five Top 5 singles, “True Blue,” “La Isla Bonita,” “Live to Tell,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” and “Open Your Heart,” the latter three all peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also features fan favorite “Where’s the Party“.