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> Live to Tell ● Good choice for lead single?
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Live to Tell
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liamk97
post Apr 26 2016, 05:40 PM
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30 years ago, 'Live to Tell' was released to coincide with the release of Sean Penn starring At Close Range and to lead the campaign for her third album True Blue. There's no question the album was an astounding success so it's hardly the case they made the wrong choice from that perspective, but would you have personally chosen 'Live to Tell' as lead single?

I could see 'Papa Don't Preach' working well as the first single (Lord knows I've mistaken it for such in the past) because it does a perfect job as track 1 on the tracking list and is a big pop moment that exemplifies the sound and image she was going for this era. Also, given how happy and joyous it is, I think 'Open Your Heart' would have been great to lead what was considered Madonna's most "girlish" album to date and could have been huge.

Yet, on the other hand, I think both those singles worked well at the times they were released whereas 'Live to Tell' would have lost its impact had it been saved for later. Nothing like this had been heard from Madonna before and I don't think anyone would have expected her to pull of a number like this, but the initial chords make a bold impression and leave you anticipating a dramatic performance. I think that thrill and hype was key for people to appreciate the song, because I don't think people would have given it quite so much of a chance had it been an album track initially since it is a song that gradually builds. It's that mentality that if it is lead single it must be good, but if it's at first an album track it cannot be as good as a single.
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dandy*
post Apr 26 2016, 05:48 PM
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I'm not sure it was the first single exactly. Wasn't it more a case that Live To Tell was from a film and it was released to coincide with the promotion around the film? I'd always assumed it was just slotted on the album because it was a single from the same period rather than a strategic first single release.

Papa Don't Preach was definitely the song that was released just before the release of True Blue and as such was the chosen track that would push the album, assuming the album would still be released after the 'second' single then I'd definitely keep the release order exactly the way it was. In fact, I'd say all five singles were in the correct order.


- in a similar way that history would say that 'Vogue' was strictly the first single release from I'm Breathless but of course it wasn't really as the track had nothing to do with the original concept/film and was tagged on the album to help it sell.


This post has been edited by dandy*: Apr 26 2016, 05:52 PM
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vibe
post Apr 26 2016, 06:02 PM
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It was not a lead single at all , dandy is correct . It was a single attached to Sean Penn's film .

March 26th Live to Tell
June 11th Papa Don't Preach
June 30th True Blue Album
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Sceryl_Streep
post Apr 26 2016, 06:18 PM
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Well, whatever the reasoning or release strategy I think a song such as Live To Tell needed to be released first/stand alone because it was so different to everything she had done up to that point. It showed a growth and maturity in her voice and sound, as well as being an incredible song of course, so it worked well as a statement of intent.
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HausAlone
post Apr 27 2016, 05:50 PM
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I think for like any other album I would've said yes it is the correct choice to start an era (whether it did or not) but for this album I have to vote no ohmy.gif I'd say as Liam said that 'Open Your Heart' would've been the most appropriate song for this album - an album about escapism and staying true to yourself. It's also a commercial WONDER so there's no issues with it being ignored by radios etc.

I love 'Live to Tell' and enjoy it more over time but it screams 3rd single in my opinion.
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liamk97
post May 1 2016, 12:21 PM
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Yeah, as John touched on, this was less focused on technicalities but more, looking back, how this worked leading Madonna into a new album/era.
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Joe ho ho!
post May 1 2016, 01:11 PM
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Possibly not as a lead single, but I still think it needed to be a single. Maybe sandwiched between some of the bigger pop numbers. I adore it, though truly.
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