Papa Don't Preach (4:27)

Cover of True Blue

From True Blue and 26 other releases

“Papa Don’t Preach” is a dance-pop song by American singer-songwriter Madonna. The song was written by Brian Elliot with additional lyrics by Madonna, and produced by Stephen Bray and Madonna for her third studio album True Blue, released in June 1986. The song also appears remixed on the 1990 compilation album The Immaculate Collection and in its original form on the 2009 compilation album Celebration. The song’s musical style combines pop and classical rhythms, and its lyrics deal with teenage pregnancy and abortion. The music video, directed by James Foley, shows Madonna’s second image makeover, featuring her with a more toned and muscular body, and cropped platinum blonde hair.

Released as the album’s second single in mid-1986, the song was a commercial success. It became Madonna’s fourth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and performed well internationally, reaching the top position in Australia and the United Kingdom. It was generally well-received by music critics and was frequently cited as a highlight in the album.

Shortly after its release, the song caused heated discussions about its lyrical content. Women’s organizations and others in the family planning field criticized Madonna for encouraging teenage pregnancy, while groups opposed to abortion saw it as a positive pro-life message. The song also caused her first conflict with the Vatican, as she dedicated the song to Pope John Paul II, who urged Italian fans to boycott her concerts during the Who’s That Girl World Tour in 1987.

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