Despite becoming the biggest pop star in the world, the “serious music” crowd still didn’t ‘get’ Madonna at the turn of 1986. She was viewed as a ‘teenybop’ singer, one who did not make proper music. But the tide started to turn later that year, when a more “grown up” Madonna emerged with the “True Blue” album. The sound was more sophisticated, the lyrics were a lot darker, and even the image had changed - she famously appeared, with short cropped hair, on the cover of “Rolling Stone” above the headline “The New Madonna”. Not everybody was fully convinced yet (myself included), but the 1989 release of “Like A Prayer” would eventually be the final piece of the jigsaw.
In this blog, we look at the singles released in the UK from the “True Blue” and “Who’s That Girl” albums, plus a look at the single-that-never-was from the 1987 remix album “You Can Dance”. As ever, all formats are listed, and details of the accompanying CD reissues from Germany in 1995 are shown. None of the German releases came in different sleeves during this period, so all the picture sleeves shown below are from the different UK editions. Starting with this blog, any singles that were only ever issued as promos are also listed, but promo issues of singles that were released commercially in the UK will not be detailed. All releases are on Sire Records, although “white label” SAM promos were so called as they were not “officially“ released on a particular label at all.
Live To Tell
Something of a culture shock post “Like A Virgin” - “Live To Tell” was a slow, mournful, but quite astonishing ballad, which came housed in a picture sleeve showcasing Madonna’s new conservative look. The accompanying video wasn’t a barrel of laughs either. The 7” featured an edited mix on the A-side, with an Instrumental on the flip. The 12” edition added the album track as a bonus. “Live To Tell” was also issued on 12” with a free poster, and was the first such Madonna release to use a different catalogue number for such a pressing (with a “TW” suffix). The poster edition came with a sticker on the front which listed the alternate catalogue number, but the rear of the sleeve, and the actual record labels, still showed the “T” catalogue number instead. All Madonna 12”’s with posters for the next five years would be catalogued in this style. The German CD edition is identical to the UK 12”.
Live To Tell (Edit)/(Instrumental) (W8717, 7“)
Live To Tell (LP Version)/(Edit)/(Instrumental) (W8717T, 12“)
Live To Tell (LP Version)/(Edit)/(Instrumental) (W8717TW, 12” with free poster in stickered p/s)
Live To Tell (LP Version)/(Edit)/(Instrumental) (7599-20461-2, German CD Single)
Papa Don't Preach
More seriousness here - a song detailing teenage pregnancy. Not exactly “Lucky Star” is it? “Papa Don’t Preach” was notable in the UK for featuring that rare beast, a proper Madonna B-side, in the form of “Ain’t No Big Deal”. The track dated from the very start of Madonna’s career, and an early version of the track was at one point being considered as Madonna’s debut 45. It was later re-recorded (circa 1984) and appeared on the Sire compilation record “Attack Of The Killer B’s” before making it‘s UK debut here.
The UK editions of “Papa” consisted of a 7”, and 12”’s with or without posters, which featured the extended mix of the A-side as a bonus track. A 12” picture disc was also issued, and as usual, was housed in a clear sleeve. If my memory serves me correctly, some were issued with a clear rim around the edge of the sleeve, others with a black one. Similarly, it’s been claimed that several formats featured the wrong running order on the B-side, with different people noting that different formats were mispressed - I’ve lost track as to which ones were supposedly mispressed. The listings below are based on the actual tracklistings listed on the sleeve/picture disc, rather than the order in which they may (or may not) play. The German CD, again, is identical to the UK 12”.
Papa Don’t Preach/Ain’t No Big Deal (W8636, 7“)
Papa Don’t Preach (Extended Version)/Ain’t No Big Deal/Papa Don’t Preach (W8636 T, 12“)
Papa Don’t Preach (Extended Version)/Ain’t No Big Deal/Papa Don’t Preach (W8636TW, 12” with free poster in stickered p/s)
Papa Don’t Preach (Extended Version)/Ain’t No Big Deal/Papa Don’t Preach (W8636TP, 12“ Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
Papa Don’t Preach (Extended Version)/Ain’t No Big Deal/Papa Don’t Preach (7599-20503-2, German CD Single)
Strangely, the title track of Madonna’s third album has spent much of it’s lifetime “under wraps” - Madonna’s take on 50’s doo-wop was left off the 1990 ‘best of’, “The Immaculate Collection”, and hasn’t been performed live for some 23 years. The UK editions were quite interesting, although after the multi formatting madness of “Papa Don’t Preach”, Sire were a bit more restrained for this release.
The 7” featured a remixed version on the A-side, with the original edited mix of “Holiday” on the flip. The 12” altered these mixes,by including an extended version of “True Blue” on the A-side, and the album version of “Holiday” on the other side. A 12” picture disc was issued, with the same photo as per the black vinyl pressings, and the same tracklisting as the standard 12”. Unsurprsingly, some overseas editions were pressed on - yes - blue vinyl. The German CD single, once more, was identical to the UK 12”.
True Blue (Remix)/Holiday (Edit) (W8550, 7”)
True Blue (The Color Mix)/Holiday (W8550T, 12”)
True Blue (The Color Mix)/Holiday (W8550TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
True Blue (The Color Mix)/Holiday (7599-20564-2, German CD Single)
Open Your Heart
Leading contender for “Greatest Madonna Video Of All Time” (Madonna plays a stripper in the video, what’s not to like?), “Open Your Heart”, like “True Blue”, benefited from a remixed version for the 7” edition. The 7”, again, featured an edited version of a former Madonna hit on the flipside - in this case, “Lucky Star”.
The 12” was noticeably different, featuring both an extended mix and a dub mix of the A-side, with the album version of “Lucky Star” replacing the edit. A 12” picture disc was also issued, which as was so often the case, featured a different picture, using a still from the end of the video - which, in my view, was a much poorer shot than that adorning the black vinyl picture sleeve editions. The German CD single was based around the original German 12”, meaning that “Lucky Star” was replaced by “White Heat” from the “True Blue” album.
Open Your Heart (Remix)/Lucky Star (Edit) (W8480, 7”)
Open Your Heart (Extended Version)/(Dub)/Lucky Star (W8480T, 12”)
Open Your Heart (Extended Version)/(Dub)/Lucky Star (W8480TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
Open Your Heart (Extended Version)/(Dub)/White Heat (7599-20597-2, German CD Single)
La Isla Bonita
Quite impressive - four different mixes of the same song across both the 7” and 12” editions - although whether any of them, apart from the 7” Remix, were particularly exciting is open to question. Do you really need short AND long instrumental mixes in your life? The 7” featured an edited remix on the A-side, with a short instrumental version on the flip. The 12” featured extended mixes in both vocal and instrumental forms. A 12” Picture Disc was issued yet again, with the same tracks as the black vinyl 12”. The German CD Single mirrored the UK 12” exactly.
La Isla Bonita (Remix)/(Instrumental) (W8378, 7”)
La Isla Bonita (Extended Remix)/(Extended Instrumental) (W8378T, 12”)
La Isla Bonita (Extended Remix)/(Extended Instrumental) (W8378TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
La Isla Bonita (Extended Remix)/(Extended Instrumental) (7599-20633-2, German CD Single)
Who's That Girl
“Who’s That Girl” was the name of Madonna’s 1987 comedy movie outing, and spawned an accompanying soundtrack album. The soundtrack is often listed in Madonna discographies for these reasons:
a) it had Madonna’s name on the front
b) it had a huge picture of Madonna on the front
c) it included four new Madonna songs
However, it included more than four non-Madonna songs, so it’s not really a Madonna album at all, but has always been of interest to Madonna followers because one of the songs remains exclusive to the album, whilst the version of “Causing A Commotion” is a unique mix.
“Who’s That Girl” (which also was the name of Madonna’s first world tour) featured some unusual formats. The 7” featured the album mix on the A-side, with “White Heat” on the flip. The bog-standard black vinyl 12” replaced the album mix of “WTG” with an extended version. There was also a very limited 12” picture disc. For some reason, only a small number of these were pressed, which explains why this has always been one of the more hard-to-find Madonna picture discs, even though it is “newer” than the likes of “Borderline” and “Into The Groove” - supply and demand. As for how many were pressed, I have heard quotes ranging from 4500 to 10000.
There was also a 2nd 12”, which added a third track - a “Dub” mix of “WTG”. It came in the same sleeve as the normal 12”, but with some minor sleeve alterations - the main thing being that “White Heat” is listed on the front of the sleeve, unlike the 2-track edition. The German CD features the same tracks as the UK 2-track 12”, rather disappointingly.
As an aside, the US 12” pressings listed just the same two tracks as the UK edition - all came shrinkwrapped, and unless you happened to open it, you wouldn’t have known that all the US 12”’s actually featured three tracks, as the “Dub” mix was included on all the pressings.
Who’s That Girl/White Heat (W8341, 7”)
Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)/White Heat (W8341T, 12”)
Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)/White Heat (W8341TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)/(Dub)/White Heat (W8341TX, 3-track 12”)
Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)/White Heat (7599-20692-2, German CD Single)
Causing A Commotion
The second single from the “WTG” soundtrack was also issued on a variety of fascinating formats - rather strangely, it seems as though some of these formats weren’t heavily promoted at the time of the single’s release, as several of them have become rather collectible. I recently saw a promo poster for the single issued at the time which proudly boasted “available on 7” and 12” “, when the single was actually issued on no less than five formats.
The 7” featured a remixed version of the A-side, backed with “Jimmy Jimmy“. Initial copies of the 7” came shrinkwrapped with a free Madonna button-badge, and in a stickered sleeve. These editions had, from what I can gather, a different catalogue number on the sticker, but the actual sleeve and record labels had the standard catalogue number printed. The button-badge edition is stupidly rare - I don’t inhabit record fairs every day, but I still never recall seeing one being offered for sale. From what I can gather, most people bought the single, ripped off the shrink wrap, wore the button and played the single. It’s probable that the badges have gone missing over the years, or have been sold individually - similarly, you may well own a “normal” copy of the single, unaware that it was originally a shrinkwrapped edition. I am sure there are some unopened copies still in existence, but presumably are in the hands of private collectors who have no plans to sell them.
The 12” featured two extended mixes of the A-side along with “Jimmy Jimmy” - however, UK single chart rules at the time meant a single would only be eligible for the charts if it had a running time of less than 20 minutes. The playing time of these three songs came to just over 20 minutes, so “Jimmy Jimmy” was edited, fading out 15 seconds early. This mix, I believe, is unavailable in most countries outside of the UK, if any. Instant rarity time! The 12” Picture Disc features the same tracks, with a different (and again, not as impressive) picture to the black vinyl editions. The photo used was the same as the aforementioned promo poster.
The other obscure format was the Cassette. Madonna’s first UK single to be issued on such a format, it featured the same tracks as the 12”, but came in what I can only describe as a “pop art” style sleeve - the basic picture cover was the same, but was reduced in size to form only part of the front cover. It’s fairly different to the 7”/12” editions, and so I have decided to show a scan above.
In the US, chart regulations were not as strict, and so “Causing A Commotion” appeared as a 4 track 12”, including a remix of the track not issued in the UK. This was the beginning, more or less, of a tradition where the UK releases would feature less tracks across the various formats to their US editions - I cannot even begin to tell you just how many remixes remain, to this day, “unavailable in the UK”, for subsequent Madonna 45‘s. The German CD single features the 4 tracks from the US 12” pressing.
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Single Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (W8224, 7”)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Single Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (W8224F, 7” with free Madonna badge)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (Fade) (W8224T, 12”)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (Fade) (W8224TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (Fade) (W8224C, Cassette in pop-art style sleeve)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Dub)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (7599-20762-2, German CD Single)
The Look Of Love
The third, and final, single from the “WTG” soundtrack - meaning that fans now had no choice but to shell out for the soundtrack LP to own both the album mix of “Causing A Commotion” and the exclusive “Can’t Stop”. “The Look Of Love” was a relative flop in Madonna terms, the first UK single to not hit the top five since the 1984 release of “Borderline”. The various formats offered nothing new in terms of remixes or B-sides, so there was little reason for anybody other than the completists to buy this 45.
For the record, the 7” came backed with “I Know It”, with “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” appearing on the 12” editions. Initial copies of the black vinyl 12” came with a free poster, whilst there was also a 12” picture disc featuring the same image. In France, the single was issued in a rather lurid red picture sleeve, whilst there was no US release at all. The German CD single, again, is identical to the UK 12”.
The Look Of Love/I Know It (W8115, 7”)
The Look Of Love/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore/I Know It (W8115T, 12”)
The Look Of Love/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore/I Know It (W8115TW, 12” with free poster in stickered p/s)
The Look Of Love/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore/I Know It (W8115TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
The Look Of Love/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore/I Know It (7599-20836-2, German CD Single)
The Single that never was. “Spotlight” was recorded during the album sessions for “True Blue”, but failed to make the final cut. Rather than issue the track as a B-side, it was held over for Madonna’s 1987 remix LP, “You Can Dance”. “You Can Dance”, in some respects, was a dry run for the “Confessions On A Dancefloor” CD, consisting of two long ‘mega mixes’. “Spotlight” originally was a four minute long song, but was extended and remixed for the album. It was joined by six more Madonna “hits” - I use the word “hits” loosely, as several of the songs included were not even issued as singles in the US or the UK. Five of these tracks were also remixed, but “Physical Attraction” would appear in the same mix as it did on the original “Madonna” album - it must have been deemed both long enough and funky enough to not need a 1987 makeover.
The first megamix consisted of four songs, the second the remaining three. The original 1987 remixes were issued on a set of three-promo only 12”’s in the US, but for the album, because the tracks segued from one to the next, either the opening bars or closing bars (or both) of each track would be absent. This has made the original US promos big collectors items over the years.
In addition to this, five of the songs were also remixed as “Dub” versions. Four of these dub mixes were issued on the Cassette edition of the album (two at the end of side 1, the remainder at the end of side 2). For the CD edition, the dub mixes of “Holiday” and “Into The Groove” were joined by a dub mix of “Where’s The Party”, the latter not being available on the Cassette pressing. This made “YCD” the first Madonna LP to really venture down the multi-formatting avenue. The dub mixes all appeared at the end of the CD. The vinyl edition, due to an obvious lack of space, had no dub mixes at all.
The four dub mixes from the Cassette edition (“Spotlight”, “Holiday”, “Over And Over”, “Into The Groove”) were issued on a promo 12” in the UK. It seems unlikely a proper single release was ever planned, and “Spotlight” purely appeared as track 1 because it was the first dub mix at the end of side 1 of the Cassette,. The release seemed to be aimed purely at the club market. “Spotlight” did actually appear as an A-side in Japan, when an edited version of the song was released on 7” and CD in 1988. Edited versions of all seven songs were created for a US promo CD issued before the album was released, known as the “Single Edits” CD, on the basis that if any of the tracks were to be issued as singles, these were the mixes that should be used. The edit of “Where’s The Party” appeared on the B-side of “Spotlight” in Japan, but apart from "Physical Attraction" (the CD included the original US 7" edit), the other mixes from the promo remain commercially unreleased.
Given that Spotlight was not actually released as a single in the UK, Germany, or hardly anywhere else, there is no 1995 CD Single edition.
Spotlight (Dub)/Holiday (Dub)/Over And Over (Dub)/Into The Groove (Dub) (SAM412, 12” Promo in die cut sleeve)
As ever, listed below are selected rarities from the period from overseas. The list is a bit smaller than that for 1984-1986, as it seems by now, most Madonna 45’s were appearing in the same covers in each country. I have not listed any black vinyl singles that were not issued in full picture covers where a picture sleeve version from elsewhere exists, but quite a few do exist in several countries.
SELECTED RARITIES 1986 - 1988
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Dub)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (9 20762-4, US Cassette Single in unique “titles” longbox p/s)
Holiday (Extended Remix)/(Dub)/Over And Over (Extended Remix)/(Dub) (PRO-A-2907, US Promo Only 12")
Into The Groove (Extended Remix)/(Dub)/Everybody (Extended Remix) (PRO-A-2906, US Promo Only 12")
La Isla Bonita/La Isla Bonita (819, Spanish Promo 7” in unique p/s)
La Isla Bonita (Remix)/(Instrumental) (P-2237, Japanese 7” in unique p/s)
La Isla Bonita Super Club Mix (WPCP 3440, Japanese CD Mini Album, includes Extended Remix of "La Isla Bonita", plus "Gambler" & "Crazy For You")
La Isla Bonita (Remix)/Open Your Heart (7-21941, US "Back To Back" 7" in die cut sleeve)
Live To Tell (Edit)/(LP Version) (PRO-A-2470, US Promo 12" in unique p/s)
Live To Tell (LP Version)/(Instrumental) (P-2106, Japanese 7", initial copies on white vinyl)
The Look Of Love/I Know It (918 115-7, French 7" in red p/s)
Papa Don’t Preach/Papa Don’t Preach (1.025, 45/33 rpm Brazilian Promo 7” in unique p/s)
Papa Don't Preach (LP Version)/(Edit) (PRO-A-2517, US Promo 12" in unique p/s)
Papa Don’t Preach (Edit)/Think Of Me (P-2130, Japanese 7” in same sleeve as “True Blue” album cover)
Papa Don't Preach (Edit)/(Extended Version)/Pretender/Papa Don't Preach (Video) (9 25681-2, US Only CD Video, some copies of this format also pressed in UK but for US release)
Papa Don't Preach/Everybody (3.58 Edit) (7-21986, US "Back To Back" 7" in die cut sleeve)
Spotlight (Single Edit)/Where's The Party (Single Edit) (10SW-21, Japanese 3" CD in "snap-pack")
Spotlight (Fade)/(Fade) (920, Spanish Promo 7” in unique p/s)
Super Club Mix (WPCP 3439, Japanese CD Mini-Album, includes Color Mix of "True Blue")
True Blue (Remix)/Ain't No Big Deal (9 28591-7, US Blue Vinyl 7")
True Blue (The Color Mix)/(Instrumental)/Ain't No Big Deal/True Blue (Remix) (9 20533 0, US 12")
True Blue/True Blue (1.035, 33/45 rpm Brazilian Promo 12” in unique p/s)
True Blue (Remix)/Ain’t No Big Deal (P-2159, Japanese 7” in similar sleeve to “True Blue” album cover)
Where's The Party/Love Don't Live Here Anymore (WB 77-561,Phillippines 7" in die cut sleeve)
Where's The Party (Extended Remix)/(Dub)/Spotlight (Extended Remix)/(Dub) (PRO-A-2905, US Promo Only 12")
Who's That Girl/Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Single Mix) (9 21940-4, US "Backtrax" Cassette Single)
You Can Dance (PRO-CD-2892, US Promo Only CD Mini Album)
The photo at the top of the article is from Madonna's 1986 "Life" magazine shoot, and this and many more pictures can be found at the Madonna Shots website (which, possibly, is now no longer being updated), link below. In three blogs time, we shall look at the final set of releases that were subsequently reissued in Germany in 1995 - from "Like A Prayer" through to "Vogue".
Madonna Shots: http://www.madonnashots.com/