On this day in music history: June 30, 1986 – “True Blue”, the third album by Madonna is released. Produced by Madonna, Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, it is recorded at Channel Recording in Los Angeles, CA from December 1985 – April 1986. After the massive whirlwind success of the “Like A Virgin” album and “The Virgin Tour”, the pop superstar does not rest on her laurels, beginning work on the crucial follow up at the end of 1985. Working with long time collaborator Stephen Bray and new producer Patrick Leonard (Michael Jackson, Jody Watley), the album is praised upon its release as her strongest effort to date, and is widely regarded today as one of the best albums of her career. It spins off five top five hits including “Live To Tell” (#1 Pop), “Papa Don’t Preach” (#1 Pop), “Open Your Heart” (#1 Pop) and the title track (#3 Pop). “True Blue” also marks the beginning Madonna’s long association with famed fashion photographer Herb Ritts who shoots the LP’s iconic cover photo. The original LP package also includes a poster of the album cover shot. As a promotion for the album, MTV sponsors the “Make My Video” contest, inviting viewers to submit their own visual interpretations of the title track. The winning entry comes from Angel Gracia and Cliff Guest, whose black & white clip is rotated heavily on the video channel. The pair are awarded a check for $25,000 by the pop superstar herself at MTV’s New York studios. The alternate video directed by James Foley, featuring Madonna with close friends actress Debi Mazur and fashion designer Erika Belle is shown largely outside the US. Madonna also supports the album with the worldwide “Who’s That Girl Tour” beginning in June of 1987. It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001, with the extended 12" mixes of “La Isla Bonita” and the title track included as bonus tracks. The vinyl LP is reissued in Europe in 2012, including the original inner sleeve lyric sheet and poster featured in the original release. In October of 2016, a limited edition release of the LP pressed on blue vinyl, is issued as exclusive through the European supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. “True Blue” spends five weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 7x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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