Year Released: 1986

Notable Songs: “Live to Tell”, “Papa Don’t Preach”, “True Blue”, “Open Your Heart”, “La Isla Bonita”

Album MVP: “Papa Don’t Preach”

Why I Loved It: When I first started putting together this countdown I was pretty confident “Like a Virgin” would be my highest ranking Madonna album.  Turns out I was wrong.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Like a Virgin (No. 22 on this countdown) but I simply thought True Blue was just a little better. I’m not really sure why True Blue is my most preferred Madonna studio album because generally speaking, I love concept albums where it feels the songs are connected together.  True Blue isn’t that—at all.  It’s a collection of singles with seemingly none  having similar meaning.  But man, what an incredible collection of tunes this is. Simply put, this is the prototype of what 80’s pop music was supposed to sound like. “Papa Don’t Preach” is all about a teenager getting pregnant and choosing to keep the baby as opposed to abortion.  In today’s realm that sounds like everyday music but back then it was highly controversial.  Then again, that’s to be expected with an artist like Madonna. Honestly and selfishly I didn’t love the song for its deep meaning but simply because I loved her voice on the record.  Ditto for “La Isla Bonita”; one of the more underrated funky jams to get down to in the 80s.  She had three number-ones and five top five songs on this album. That’s ridiculous. 

If you’ve ever wondered why Madonna has had such a long and illustrious career, give this entire album a listen and most your questions will probably be answered.  True Blue is awesome.

Commercial Success:  The expectations were sky high following her successful Like a Virgin album two years before, and True Blue shattered them.  Madonna’s third studio album was one of more the more commercially successful albums ever, literally.  True Blue rose to number-one on the Billboard Top 200 and remained there for five consecutive weeks before the Top Gun soundtrack finally pushed it off.  It was the best-selling album in the world in 1986 and wound out being the biggest-selling album of the entire decade by a female artist. 
“Live to Tell” was Madonna’s second career ballad (“Crazy For You” the first) and her third career single to reach number-one on the Billboard Hot 100.  “Papa Don’t Preach” soon after became her fourth, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. “Open Your Heart” made it a trio of Billboard Hot 100 chart toppers on the album. The title-track “True Blue” reached three on the Billboard Hot 100 while “La Isla Bonita” peaked at five, giving her a staggering five singles with the top five of the charts.   In total this album sold 25 million copies. If fact, this album made Madonna so huge that she was honored with the Video Vanguard Award at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards despite being a mere four years into her commercial music career.

Fun Facts: Madonna’s “True Blue” is the eighth-biggest selling album by a female solo artist of all-time.  Here, in order are the albums above it: Shania Twain’s “Come on Over”, Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill”, Celine Dion’s “Falling Into You”, Adele’s “21”, Celine Dion’s “Let’s Talk About Love”, Madonna’s “Immaculate Collection”, Mariah Carey’s “Music Box” and Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me.”  Rounding out the top 10 are Carole King’s “Tapestry” and  Brittany Spears’ “Baby One More Time.”


 100.  Van Halen – OU812 

99. Stevie Wonder – In Squared Circle

98. Taylor Dayne – Can’t Fight Fate

97. Kool & The Gang – Emergency 

96. Stevie B – In My Eyes 

95. Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever 

94. Michael Bolton – Soul Provider 

93. Go Go’s – Beauty & The Beast 

92. LL Cool J – Bigger And Deffer (Bad) 

91. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry 

90. Def Leppard – Hysteria

89. New Edition – Heartbreak

88. Don Henley – Building A Perfect Beast

87. Beverly Hills Cop – Movie Soundtrack

86. Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever 

85. Rolling Stones – Tattoo You

84. Asia – Asia 

83. Tiffany – Tiffany 

82. Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling

81. Barbara Streisand – Guilty 

80. Phil Collins – …But Seriously 

79. Air Supply – The One That You Love

78. J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame

77. Duran Duran – Rio 

76. Billy Ocean – Suddenly 

75. Run DMC – Raising Hell

74. Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

73. John Cougar – American Fool

72. Huey Lewis and The News – Picture This

71. Top Gun – Movie Soundtrack

70. Steve Winwood – Back In The High Life

69. Air Supply – Lost In Love

68. LL Cool J – Radio

67. Journey – Frontiers 

66. Styxx – Paradise Theater

65. Madonna – Like A Prayer

64. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full 

63. Tears for Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

62. Tina Turner – Private Dancer 

61. Steve Nicks – Bella Donna

60. U2 – The Joshua Tree

59. Bon Jovi – New Jersey 

58. Huey Lewis and the News – Fore!

57. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814

56. Prince – 1999

55. ZZ Top – Eliminator 

54. Survivor – Vital Signs

53. New Edition – New Edition 

52. Dirty Dancing – Movie Soundtrack

51. Foreigner – 4

50. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

49. Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie 

48. Men at Work – Business As Usual

47. Run DMC – Run DMC

46. Richard Marx – Richard Marx

45. Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl 

44. Rocky IV – Movie Soundtrack 

43. Tom Petty – Full Moon River 

42. Whitney Houston – Whitney 

41, REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity 

40. Christopher Cross – Christopher Cross

39. Culture Club – Colour By Numbers 

38. Chicago – Chicago 17

37. Bryan Adams – Reckless

36. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

35. Heart – Heart 

34. Def Leppard – Pyromania 

33. Toto -Toto IV

32. The Police – Ghost In the Machine 

31. Madonna – Madonna

30. New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough

29. Hall and Oates – H20

28. Don Henley – The End Of The Innocence

27. The Police – Synchronicity 

26. Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

25. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill

24. Hall & Oates – Private Eyes

23. Neil Diamond – The Jazz Singer

22. Madonna – Like A Virgin

21. Debbie Gibson – Out Of The Blue

20. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel 

19. Journey – Escape 

18. Billy Joel – An Innocent Man 

17. Van Halen – 1984

16. Janet Jackson – Control