This is a good article. Click here for more information.

Like a Prayer (album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Like a Prayer
Madonna - Like a Prayer album.png
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 21, 1989
RecordedSeptember 1988 – January 1989
Studio
GenrePop
Length51:16
Label
Producer
Madonna chronology
You Can Dance
(1987)
Like a Prayer
(1989)
I'm Breathless
(1990)
Singles from Like a Prayer
  1. "Like a Prayer"
    Released: March 3, 1989
  2. "Express Yourself"
    Released: May 9, 1989
  3. "Cherish"
    Released: August 1, 1989
  4. "Oh Father"
    Released: October 24, 1989
  5. "Dear Jessie"
    Released: December 10, 1989
  6. "Keep It Together"
    Released: January 30, 1990

Like a Prayer is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on March 21, 1989, by Sire Records. Madonna worked with Stephen Bray, Patrick Leonard, and Prince on the album, with her co-writing and co-producing all the songs. Her most introspective release at the time, Like a Prayer is a confessional record. Madonna described the album as a collection of songs about her mother, father, and bonds with her family. It was dedicated to Madonna's mother, who died when she was young.

Like a Prayer is a pop album and incorporates elements of rock, R&B, gospel, and funk. Madonna drew from her Catholic upbringing, as seen on the album's title track, which was also released as its lead single. The lyrics deal with themes from Madonna's childhood and adolescence, such as the death of her mother in "Promise to Try", the importance of family in "Keep It Together", and her relationship with her father in "Oh Father", as well as encouraging female empowerment in "Express Yourself".

Like a Prayer received universal acclaim from music critics, who praised the songwriting and recognized Madonna's increased artistic merit. The album was featured in several musical reference books and best-of lists including Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Spin Alternative Record Guide. Commercially, the album was an international success, reaching the top of the charts in 20 countries, and was certified quadruple platinum in the US by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Worldwide, it has sold over 15 million copies and is one of the best-selling albums by women. Six accompanying singles were released: the title track, "Express Yourself", "Cherish", "Oh Father", "Dear Jessie", and "Keep It Together". "Like a Prayer" became Madonna's seventh number-one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, while "Express Yourself" and "Cherish" both peaked at number two, and "Keep It Together" became a top-10 hit.

With the singles' music videos, Madonna furthered her creativity and became known as a leading figure in the format. The music video for "Like a Prayer" was met with controversy worldwide over its use of religious imagery, including the appropriation of Catholic iconography such as stigmata and the burning crosses of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as a dream about making love to a Black saint, and a scene depicting an interracial murder by white supremacist groups. Family and Christian groups including the Vatican protested its broadcast and threatened to boycott Pepsi for having ties with Madonna. Eventually, Pepsi caved in to the protest and canceled the sponsorship, allowing Madonna to keep her $5 million paycheck in advance. Like a Prayer preceded Madonna's Blond Ambition World Tour, which she used to promote it. At the end of the 1980s, following the release of the album, Madonna was named artist of the decade by several publications.

Background[edit]

1988 was a quiet year on the recording front for Madonna. Following the lack of critical and commercial success of her 1987 film Who's That Girl, she acted in the Broadway production Speed-the-Plow. However, unfavorable reviews once again caused discomfort for Madonna. Her marriage to actor Sean Penn ended and the couple filed for divorce in January 1989. Madonna had also turned 30, one year removed from the age at which her mother had died, and thus the singer experienced more emotional turmoil.[1] She commented for the May 1989 issue of Interview that her Catholic upbringing struck a feeling of guilt in her all the time:

Because in Catholicism you are a born sinner and you're a sinner all your life. No matter how you try to get away from it, the sin is within you all the time. It was this fear that haunted me; it taunted and pained me every moment. My music was probably the only distraction I had.[2]

Madonna came to the realisation that as she and her fans were growing up, it was time for her to move away from the teen appeal to wider audiences, and cash in on the longevity of the album market.[3] Feeling the need to attempt something different, Madonna wanted the sound of her new album to indicate what could be popular in the music world.[3] For lyrical ideas of the title track, she chose topics that until then had been personal meditations never shared with the general public.[4] Madonna told SongTalk magazine "In the past I wrote a lot of songs that [revealed my inner self], but I felt they were too honest or too frightening or too scary and I decided not to record them."[5] She decided to take a more adult, sophisticated approach; thoughtfully, she sifted through her personal journals and diaries, and began considering her options. She recalled, "What was it I wanted to say? I wanted the album and the song to speak to things on my mind. It was a complex time in my life." The singer had certain matters on her mind, including her troubled relationship with her husband Penn, her family, her lost mother, and even her belief in God.[4]

Development[edit]

"She'd start writing lyrics and oftentimes there was an implied melody. She would start with that and deviate from it. Or if there was nothing but a chord change, she'd make up a melody. [...] She would write the lyrics in an hour, the same amount of time it took me to write the music, and then she'd sing it. We'd do some harmonies, she'd sing some harmony parts, and usually by three or four in the afternoon, she was gone".

—Producer Patrick Leonard talking about working with Madonna on Like a Prayer.[6]

Like a Prayer drew its title from Catholicism's influence on Madonna's early life, as well as her struggles with religion; "The theme of Catholicism runs rampant", she said. "It's me struggling with the mystery and magic that surrounds it. My own Catholicism is in constant upheaval."[7] Recording sessions took place from September 1988 to January 1989.[8][9] On January 27, 1989, a press release from The Albany Herald said the album would include "a number of hot dance tracks" but noted, "much of the material [...] is of a personal tone".[10] The singer described it as a collection of songs "about my mother, my father, and bonds with my family. [...] It's taken a lot of guts to do this."[8] She also said that Like a Prayer would be her "most different" work to date; "It was a real coming-of-age record for me emotionally, I had to do a lot of soul-searching, and I think it is a reflection of that [...] I didn't try to candy-coat anything or make it more palatable for mass consumption, I wrote what I felt."[5][11][8] Madonna described Like a Prayer as a reflection of past musical influences, in contrast to current influences for her previous work.[5]

Madonna chose to collaborate with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard, with whom she had collaborated on her previous studio album True Blue (1986) and the Who's That Girl soundtrack (1987).[12] Both Bray and Leonard wanted to bring their unique style to the project, and they developed completely different music for the title track. Eventually, Madonna felt that the music presented to her by Leonard was more interesting, and she started to work with him. According to the singer, Leonard was also facing emotional turmoil; "I was working with Pat, who was also in a very dark state of mind, and we worked in a very isolated place in the Valley."[4][11] On January 6, 1989, following a nullified divorce filing in late 1987 and several publicized fights, one of which led to a 60-day prison term, Madonna and Penn filed for divorce.[13] This incident inspired the song "Till Death Do Us Part".[14] The rest of the songs were written within two weeks, with "Like a Prayer", "Cherish" and "Spanish Eyes" being penned in the first week.[11] According to Leonard, "we wrote a song a day, and we didn't change them. And oftentimes the vocal that she did was the lead vocal, we didn't even change the lead vocal. That was it. She sang it. It was done."[6]

Recording artist Prince played the guitar on three songs from Like a Prayer, "Like a Prayer", "Keep It Together", and "Act of Contrition", though he remained uncredited.[15] Prince and Madonna also worked together on the track "Love Song". The song was recorded at Prince's Studio on Paisley Park; "We were friends and talked about working together, so I went to Minneapolis to write some stuff with him, but the only thing I really dug was 'Love Song' [...] We ended up writing it long-distance, because I had to be in L.A. and he couldn't leave Minneapolis, and quite frankly I couldn't stand Minneapolis. When I went there, it was like 20 degrees below zero, and it was really desolate. I was miserable and I couldn't write or work under those circumstances", Madonna recalled.[11]

For the artwork, Madonna chose to work with photographer Herb Ritts. Initially, photos from the session with Ritts were also to be used for the lead single's packaging.[16] When it came to the photoshoot, she decided to dye her blonde hair brown; she commented, "I love blonde hair, but it really does something different to you. I feel more grounded when I have dark hair. It's unexplainable. I also feel more Italian when my hair is dark."[17] The cover art features a close-up of the singer's jean-clad midsection and bare midriff.[11][18] The cover has been seen as a reference to Sticky Fingers (1971) by the Rolling Stones.[11][19] The packaging for the first pressings of the CD, cassette, and LP were scented with patchouli oils to simulate church incense.[20] A publicist for Warner Bros. Records revealed this had been Madonna's idea; "She wanted to create a flavor of the 60's and the church. She wanted to create a sensual feeling you could hear and smell."[20] Initial pressings also included an insert with safe sex guidelines and a warning about the dangers of AIDS, to which Madonna had lost friends. Its inclusion was decided after Warner Bros. had agreed to release an album by stand-up comedian Sam Kinison the year before, although he had stated that AIDS came from gay men involved in bestiality.[7] Madonna dedicated the album to "My mother, who taught me how to pray".[21]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"Like a Prayer is about the influence of Catholicism in my life and the passion it provokes in me. In these songs I'm dealing with specific issues that mean a lot to me. They're about an assimilation of experiences I had in my life and my relationships. I've taken more risks with this album than I ever have before, and I think that growth shows."

—Madonna talking about the songs in Like a Prayer.[22]

Madonna's father, Tony Ciccone, in 2009. Madonna's relationship with him following her mother's death inspired "Oh Father" and "Keep It Together".

Like a Prayer is a pop album, which incorporates elements of rock, R&B, gospel, and funk.[23][24][25] According to Stephen Holden, Like a Prayer "teems with 60's and early 70's echoes – of the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and Sly and the Family Stone – all pumped up with a brash, if occasionally klutzy, 80's sense of showmanship". The album is a confessional record; in Madonna's own words, the songs "intertwine her search for faith with her search for her mother".[7] Like a Prayer uses live instrumentation, in contrast to the sound of Madonna's previous albums.[6] The opening track is "Like a Prayer", which was also the first song developed for Like a Prayer.[26] Once Madonna had conceptualized the way she would interpose her ideas with the music, she wrote the song in about three hours.[26] She described "Like a Prayer" as the song of a passionate young girl "so in love with God that it is almost as though He were the male figure in her life".[27] It is a pop rock song with elements of gospel music. A choir provides background vocals that heighten the song's spiritual nature, and a rock guitar keeps the music dark and mysterious.[28]

The second track, "Express Yourself", talks about rejecting material pleasures and only accepting the best for oneself; throughout the song, subtexts are employed.[29] According to the singer, the track is a tribute to Sly and the Family Stone.[5] The third track, "Love Song", is a duet with Prince. The song was co-written by Madonna and Prince and features the artist's "signature scratchy disco guitar break[ing] through Madonna's synths".[30][31] Originally titled "State of Matrimony", the song "Till Death Do Us Part" talks about the violent dissolution of Madonna's marriage.[11][14] It was described as "an anxious jumpy ballad that describes a marriage wracked with drinking, violent quarrels and a possessive, self-hating husband".[7] The next song, "Promise to Try", talks about the death of Madonna's mother. In one part of the song, she specifically asks: "Does she hear my voice in the night when I call?" Later, an adult seems to admonish a child with the lyrics, "Little girl, don't you forget her face/Don't let memory play games with your mind/She's a faded smile frozen in time."[30][32]

The sixth track, and third single from Like a Prayer, is "Cherish". Built around the themes of love and relationship, with William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet being one of the major inspirations, the song includes a line from "Cherish" by the 1960s band the Association.[29] The lyrics illustrate "Cherish" as a simple love song, where Madonna talks about devotion and having her lover by her side, whom she would never leave.[33] Following "Cherish" is "Dear Jessie"; according to Rikky Rooksby, the song sounds more like a children's lullaby than a pop song.[29] The lyrics encourage the little girl Jessie to use her imagination. The song summons up a psychedelic landscape, where pink elephants roam with dancing moons and mermaids. It references fairy-tale characters and creates an image of children playing with each other.[34] The nexus of the album's eighth song, "Oh Father", talks about the presence of male authoritative figures in Madonna's life, most prominently her father Tony Ciccone.[35] Madonna's insecurities about her childhood shows up in anxieties during her vocal performance.[36] Author J. Randy Taraborrelli held that "Till Death Do Us Part", "Promise To Try", and "Oh Father" are songs where Madonna tries to "purge herself of certain personal demons".[37]

The lyrics of "Keep It Together" talk about the realization of how important Madonna's family has been as a form of stability in her life.[25] In an interview with Interview magazine, Madonna expressed that she did not feel close to anybody in her family when she was growing up, and competed with her siblings in school grades for her father's attention.[2] "Spanish Eyes" is said to have "confronted the still-taboo issue of AIDS".[38] Carol Benson and Allen Metz, authors of The Madonna Companion: Two Decades of Commentary, described the song as "a cross between Ben E. King's 'Spanish Harlem' and something by Billy Joel".[39] The final song, "Act of Contrition", features Madonna reciting the Catholic prayer of the same name, before the vocals deteriorate into a monologue in which Madonna grows obstreperous over being denied a restaurant reservation.[40]

Release and promotion[edit]

The album was released on March 21, 1989 on LP, cassette, and compact disc.[41][42] Madonna performed an energetic version of "Express Yourself" during the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards. She started the performance by descending from a flight of stairs, wearing a pin-striped suit and a monocle.[43] Later she removed the coat to reveal her bustier, and together with her backing singers Niki Haris and Donna De Lory, performed a dance routine called voguing.[43] Ian Inglis, author of Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time, noted that the historical importance of Madonna's performance at the Video Music Awards was due to the televisual venue. Inglis explained that since Madonna's performance was striking primarily as a high-energy, provocatively choreographed, dance production number, it went on to highlight the 'TV' part of MTV, and in a way heralded her and the network as a cultural arbiter.[43] In August 1989, in order to promote the release of Like a Prayer in Japan, Warner Music released a remix extended play titled Remixed Prayers, which included several remixes of "Like a Prayer" and "Express Yourself". It was released exclusively in Japan until July 1993, when the EP was released in Australia to celebrate Madonna's first visit to the country as part of her Girlie Show World Tour.[44] The EP reached number 24 on the Oricon weekly albums chart and was present on the chart for five weeks.[45]

Pepsi partnership[edit]

In January 1989, Pepsi-Cola announced that they had signed Madonna for US$5 million deal to feature the singer and "Like a Prayer" for a high-profile television commercial.[46] The deal also included Pepsi sponsoring the then-upcoming Blond Ambition World Tour.[47] Madonna wanted to use the commercial to launch the album and its lead single globally before its release — the first time something like this was being done in the music industry.[46] Titled "Make a Wish", the two-minute commercial portrayed Madonna going back in time to her childhood memories.[48][46] An estimated 250 million people around the world viewed the commercial.[49]

The day after the Pepsi commercial premiered, Madonna released the actual music video for "Like a Prayer" on MTV.[50] Religious groups worldwide, including the Vatican immediately protested the clip, saying that it contained blasphemous use of Christian imagery.[51][52] They called for the national boycott of Pepsi and PepsiCo's subsidiaries, including fast food chains Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.[52] Despite taken aback by the protests, Pepsi initially wanted to continue airing the commercial, explaining the differences between their advertisement and Madonna's artistic opinions in the video.[53][54] They ultimately gave in to the protests and cancelled the campaign, and were so eager to extricate themselves from the collaboration that Madonna was allowed to keep the US$5 million advance.[52][7]

Singles[edit]

Madonna singing Like a Prayer's second single, "Express Yourself", on the Blond Ambition World Tour; the song reached the second position of the Billboard Hot 100

The title track was released as the lead single from Like a Prayer on March 3, 1989. The song was acclaimed by critics, and was a commercial success.[7] It became Madonna's seventh number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100,[55] and topped the singles charts in eighteen countries, including Australia,[56] Canada,[57] and the United Kingdom.[58] "Express Yourself" was released as the second single from the album on May 9, 1989. The song received positive reviews from critics, who applauded the gender equality message of the song and complimented the song for being a hymn to freedom and encouragement to women, as well as all oppressed minorities.[7][59] Commercially, the song peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100,[60] and became Madonna's sixth number-one hit on the European Hot 100 Singles chart.[61] It also reached the top of the singles charts in Canada and Switzerland, and the top five elsewhere.[62]

"Cherish" was released as the third single on August 1, 1989. After its release, the song received positive feedback from reviewers, who were surprised by the change of content and the lighter image of Madonna's music, unlike her previous singles from Like a Prayer that incorporated themes such as religion and sexuality.[14][63] On the US Billboard Hot 100, "Cherish" became Madonna's 16th consecutive top-five single, setting a record in the history of the chart.[64] It was also a commercial success elsewhere, topping the singles chart in Canada,[65] and reaching the top-10 of the charts in Australia,[66] Belgium,[67] Ireland,[68] the UK and the combined European chart.[69] It also featured the B-side, "Supernatural", previously unreleased from the album sessions.[29] Released on October 24, 1989 as the fourth single, "Oh Father" received positive reviews from critics and authors, but commercially was less successful than Madonna's previous singles.[70][71] In most of the countries where it was released, the song failed to attain top-ten positions, except in Finland, where it peaked at number six.[72] It ended Madonna's string of 16 consecutive top-five singles in the US.[73]

"Dear Jessie" was released as the fifth single from Like a Prayer on December 10, 1989. The release of "Dear Jessie" was limited to the UK,[74] certain other European countries, Australia, and Japan.[75][76] Upon its release, "Dear Jessie" received mixed reviews from critics, who complained about the overdone fantasy imagery of the song, but complimented its composition. The track was a moderate success commercially, reaching the top 10 in the UK and Ireland and the top-20 in Germany,[77] Spain, and Switzerland.[78][79] "Keep It Together" was released on January 30, 1990, as the sixth and final single from Like a Prayer. The song received mixed reviews from critics, but was commercially successful, reaching a peak of number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian charts, while topping the dance chart in the US.[80][81] In Australia, it reached number one along with Madonna's next release, "Vogue".[82]

Tour[edit]

Madonna performing the singles "Cherish" (left) and "Oh Father" (right) during the Blond Ambition World Tour

Like a Prayer, alongside Madonna's following album I'm Breathless (1990), was promoted in her third concert tour, the Blond Ambition World Tour, which visited Asia, North America, and Europe. Originally planned as the "Like a Prayer World Tour", it consisted of 57 dates and was divided into five different sections; the first inspired by the 1927 German expressionist film Metropolis, the second by religious themes, the third by the film Dick Tracy (1990) and cabaret, the fourth by Art Deco, and the fifth was an encore.[83][84] The show contained sexual themes and Catholic imagery, such as in the performances of "Like a Prayer" and "Oh Father", which were based in church-like surroundings with Madonna wearing a crucifix and her backup dancers dressed like priests and nuns.[85] A lighter moment was the performance of "Cherish", which featured dancers dressed up as Mermen and Madonna playing the harp.[86]

The concert was criticized for its sexual content and religious imagery; in Toronto, Canada, Madonna was threatened with arrest for obscenity,[87] and Pope John Paul II later called for a boycott, with one of the three Italian dates being cancelled.[88][89] Despite this, the tour was a critical success, winning "Most Creative Stage Production" at the 1990 Pollstar Concert Industry Awards.[90] Two different shows were recorded and released on video; Blond Ambition: Japan Tour 90, taped in Yokohama, Japan, on April 27, 1990,[91] and Blond Ambition World Tour Live, taped in Nice, France, on August 5, 1990.[92]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[23]
Blender[93]
Chicago Sun-Times[94]
Entertainment WeeklyA[95]
NME10/10[96]
Pitchfork9.0/10[24]
Q[97]
Rolling Stone[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[98]
The Village VoiceB+[99]

Like a Prayer was met with universal acclaim from music critics.[100] Stephen Thomas Erlewine, from AllMusic, said in retrospect that it was Madonna's "most explicit attempt at a major artistic statement", and that though she is trying to be "serious", the singer delivers a range of well-written pop songs, making the album her "best and most consistent".[23] Annie Zaleski, from The A.V. Club, praised the album for its extensive discussion of parental issues, and described it as Madonna's first "truly substantial" record.[5] In Rolling Stone, reviewer J. D. Considine wrote that Madonna's fame up to that point had been built more on "image than artistry", but that with Like a Prayer Madonna was asking, successfully, to be taken seriously; "Daring in its lyrics, ambitious in its sonics, this is far and away the most self-consciously serious album she's made. There are no punches pulled, anywhere". Considine concluded his review by hailing the album "as close to art as pop music gets ... proof not only that Madonna should be taken seriously as an artist but that hers is one of the most compelling voices of the Eighties".[14]

Robert Christgau from The Village Voice lamented the "kiddie psychedelia" of "Dear Jessie", and was unmoved by "Promise to Try" and "Act of Contrition", but felt all the other songs were memorable, especially the "cocksucker's prayer" of "Like a Prayer" and the "thrilling", independence-themed "Oh Father" and "Express Yourself".[99] Lloyd Bradley of Q said, "Musically it's varied, unexpected and far from instantly accessible; lyrically, it's moving, intelligent and candid."[97] Edna Gundersen from USA Today described the album's songwriting as a "confessional feast", with the emphasis on Madonna's Catholic upbringing as the highlight. Songs are rife with religious overtones, spiritual and hymnal arrangements and a host of references to joy, faith, sin and power".[101] NME critic David Quantick hailed Like a Prayer as "a brilliant, thoughtful, startling and joyful example of popular music".[96]

Jonathan Takiff from The Philadelphia Inquirer praised the album for being "serious and reflective, at times heavily laden with psychic trauma. You might consider Like a Prayer to be [Madonna]'s Misfits...or her hour in the confessional box".[102] Sal Cinquemani, from Slant Magazine, described the album as "a collection of pop confections layered with live instrumentation, sophisticated arrangements, deeply felt lyrics, and a stronger, more assured vocal".[38] The review concluded by declaring Like a Prayer as "one of the quintessential pop albums of all time".[38] Barry Walters from the San Francisco Examiner praised the album's cohesiveness, and described it as Madonna "[crossing] the boundary between craft and inspiration."[103] Walters later wrote in The New Rolling Stone Album Guide that Like a Prayer, with its more substantial songs that "covered topics such as spousal abuse and familial neglect", "effectively upped Madonna's ante as a serious artist".[104]

Negative criticism came from Spin magazine. Reviewer Christian Logan wrote: "On Like a Prayer your relationship to Madonna changes from to song to song, and it makes you uncomfortable. It's like sitting on a table with a friend who's telling too much about herself to people she doesn't know."[105] Joe Levy, from the same magazine, was also critical, writing that "there's not a lot of old Madonna, nothing of the generation of women who grew up in her wake: Regina, Debbie Gibson, and Taylor Dayne", but highlighted "Keep It Together" as "the only great dance song on the record".[105]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the US, Like a Prayer debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200, on the issue dated April 8, 1989.[106] It quickly rose to the top of the chart after three weeks, remaining there for six consecutive ones, thus becoming Madonna's longest-running number one album.[107][108] The album spent a total of 77 weeks on the chart.[106] Like a Prayer also reached a peak of number 55 on Billboard's R&B Albums list.[109] It was eventually certified quadruple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of four million units in the US.[110] Like a Prayer has sold over 5,000,000 copies in the US, as of March 2015.[111] In Canada, the album debuted at number two on the RPM Albums Chart on May 1, 1989.[112] It was present for a total of 37 weeks on the chart, and was certified five times platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for shipments of 500,000 copies in Canada.[113]

Throughout Europe, Like a Prayer also did well on its charts and topped the European Top 100 Albums.[114] The album moved 3 million units across the continent by July 1989,[115] a sum that increased to 5 million by May 1990.[116] In the UK, Like a Prayer debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, on April 1, 1989. It remained on this position for two weeks and spent a total of 73 weeks on the chart.[117] The album was certified four-times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments of 1.2 million copies in the UK.[118] According to Belgium's national IFPI group SIBESA, Like A Prayer was amongst the top five best selling international albums of 1989 in Belgium.[119] In France, the album debuted at number one on the French Albums Chart on April 9, 1989, staying there for two weeks, totaling 36 weeks on it.[120] In July 1989, it was certified platinum by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) for shipments of 300,000 copies in France, and once again in 2001, for shipments of 600,000 copies.[121] In the Netherlands, Like a Prayer entered the MegaCharts at number four during the week of April 4, 1990. It eventually reached the top position, staying a total of 32 weeks on the chart.[122] In Germany, Like a Prayer topped the Media Control albums chart for one month, and was later certified three times gold by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI) for having shipped over 750,000 copies in the country.[123] In Italy, Like a Prayer debuted at the number one position at Musica e dischi charts, remaining seven consecutive weeks in that position.[124][125] By June 1989, the album had sold 550,000 copies there,[126] and remains as one of the best-selling albums in Italy with sales of over 800,000 units.[127]

The album was commercially successful in Asia-Pacific countries. In Japan, Like a Prayer reached number one on the Oricon Albums Chart and remained on the chart for 22 weeks.[128] At the 1990 Japan Gold Disc Awards held by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), Madonna won three awards for Best Album of the Year – Pops Solo, Grand Prix Album of the Year, and Grand Prix Artist of the Year; the last two were given for the best-selling international album and the best-selling international artist of the year, respectively.[129] The album also became her sixth platinum album in Hong Kong.[130] In Malaysia, the album sold 23,000 units on the first day of release, and another 7,000 copies in two weeks.[131] With 151,000 copies sold, Like a Prayer remains the best-selling album by an international female artist in Turkey.[132] In Australia, Like a Prayer debuted and peaked at number four on April 2, 1989, and was certified quadruple-platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 280,000 copies.[133][134] In New Zealand, the album peaked at number two, and was certified double platinum by the Recorded Music NZ for shipments of 30,000 copies.[135][136]

The album also achieved success in Latin America, where it received a platinum certification from the Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas (CAPIF) for surpassing 60,000 copies units. Actual sales in Argentina stand at more than 270,000 copies, as of 1992.[137] In Brazil, Like a Prayer received a double platinum certification from Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos (ABPD) for the sales of 500,000 copies. It ultimately sold 710,000 units as of 1993 and became in one of the best-selling albums by an international artist in the country. Like a Prayer has sold over 15 million copies worldwide, as of March 2020.[138]

Legacy[edit]

Entertainment Weekly's Nicholas Fonseca felt that Like a Prayer marked "an official turning point" of Madonna's career, which earned her "a long-awaited, substantive dose of critical acclaim".[95] Mark Savage from BBC noted that the album's release "marks the moment when critics first begin to describe Madonna as an artist, rather than a mere pop singer".[139] Glen Levy from Time stated: "Madonna has always been a keen student of pop-culture history, and her creative powers were probably at their peak in the late 1980s on the album Like a Prayer."[140] Hadley Freeman from The Guardian opined that Like a Prayer shaped "how pop stars, pop music, music videos, love, sex and the 80s were and should be".[141] LA Weekly's Art Tavana expressed that "Like a Prayer was the moment when Madonna went from being the voice of America's teenagers to the worldwide high priestess of pop".[142] With the release of Like a Prayer, Madonna's impact culminated during the 1980s, and many publications named her the artist of the decade.[143]

Taraborrelli wrote that Like a Prayer was a turning point's in Madonna's career; "Every important artist has at least one album in his or her career whose critical and commercial success becomes the artist's magic moment; for Madonna [...] Like a Prayer was. [Madonna] pushed onwards as an artist, using her creative wit to communicate on another level, musically."[144] Kenneth G. Bielen, author of The Lyrics of Civility: Biblical Images and Popular Music Lyrics in American Culture, wrote that with the album, Madonna began to be seen as a serious artist; "Five years earlier, she was a dance-pop 'Boy-Toy'. With Like a Prayer, she proved she was an artist who could think with more than her body."[145]

Thomas Harrison on the book Music of the 1980s, documented that Like a Prayer pushed boundaries by addressing "uncomfortable song topics".[146] Jon Pareles, from The New York Times, said that " [Like a Prayer] defiantly grabbed Christian language and imagery".[147] Similarly, Zaleski, for The A.V. Club, praised the album for "starting a conversation about religion—which remains one of the most incendiary topics a musician can address. [...] All of this pointed to Madonna establishing herself as a serious artist (emphasis on the "art") who had significant things to say".[5]

According to Christopher Rosa from VH1, "Like a Prayer was the first pop album to evoke what female artists explore today: sexuality, religion, gender equality and independence. It was pioneering, and no woman in music has come close to doing something as groundbreaking." He believed that the album was her peak of cultural and musical influence, saying that "Madonna went from bubbly pop act to a serious artist who received her first bout of universal acclaim". Rosa also stated that Like a Prayer will be always more influential than the "iconic" albums of contemporary female artists, such as Blackout (2007), The Fame Monster (2009), and Beyoncé (2013).[148][149] Singer Taylor Swift stated that with the album, Madonna made "the most incredible, bold, risky, decisions as far as pop music goes", calling the title track "legitimately one of the greatest pop songs of all time".[150]

Music videos[edit]

Madonna performing the title track "Like a Prayer" on the Madame X Tour. It marked a turning point in her career and she began to be viewed as an efficient businesswoman

According to Douglas Kellner, Like a Prayer and its singles were particularly influential on the music video field.[151] Madonna tried to experiment with different forms and styles with the videos and in the process, she constructed a new set of image and identity.[152] The video for "Like a Prayer", which depicted Madonna as a witness to a murder of a white girl by white supremacists, Catholic symbols such as stigmata, Ku Klux Klan-style cross burning, and a dream about kissing a black saint, was extremely controversial and gained a great deal of attention.[153] Pareles wrote that the video "set a media circus in motion, stirring up just those issues of sexuality and religiosity that Madonna wanted to bring up".[147] The Vatican condemned the video, while critics observed sacrilege and heresy.[19] Madonna commented, "Art should be controversial, and that's all there is to it."[7] Taraborrelli wrote that the song and its video also served to enhance Madonna's reputation as "a shrewd businesswoman, someone who knows how to sell a concept".[154] Stewart M. Hoover wrote that the music video pushed boundaries by "bringing traditional religious imagery into the popular music context".[155] Similarly, Daniel Welsh from The Huffington Post wrote that the video "catapulted Madonna to the ranks of music video heavyweight, and proved to the world she really meant business".[156]

The music video for "Express Yourself" was also noted by critics for its exploitation of female sexuality, and they came to the conclusion that Madonna's masculine image in the video was gender-bending; authors Santiago Fouz-Hernández and Freya Jarman-Ivens commented that "the video portrayed the deconstructive gender-bending approach associated with free play and self-reflexivity of images in postmodernism".[157] Michelle Gibson and Deborah Townsend Meem, authors of Femme/Butch, commended the video for showing a shift in power between the sexes, declaring that "Madonna assertively claimed all possible gender space like Marlene Dietrich".[158] The video for "Express Yourself" was the most expensive video at the time of its release.[159] Author John Semonche explained in his book Censoring Sex that with her True Blue and Like a Prayer-era music videos, Madonna pushed the envelope of what could be shown on television, which resulted in increase of her popularity.[160]

Critic lists and accolades[edit]

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named Like a Prayer the 239th greatest album of all time,[161] maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list,[162] before moving to number 331 in a 2020 edition.[163] In 2005, a poll of 500,000 people by Channel 4 placed Like a Prayer at number eight on list of "The 100 Greatest Albums in Music History".[164] In the same year, Like a Prayer was featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[165] The following year, Q magazine placed the album at number 14 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[166] According to the 2006 list of "All-TIME 100 Albums" by Time magazine's critics, Like a Prayer is one of the 100 greatest and most influential musical compilations since 1954.[167] Like a Prayer was featured in the book Spin Alternative Record Guide with a perfect score of 10/10 from reviewer Rob Sheffield, given to those records to be either "[a]n unimpeachable masterpiece or a flawed album of crucial historical significance".[168] The album was placed at number 237 in the All Time Top 1000 Albums.[169]

In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at number 20 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s", saying: "By the late '80s, Madonna was already one of the biggest pop stars of all time, but with Like a Prayer, she became one of the most important".[170] The album was also featured in the Rolling Stone "Women Who Rock" list made in 2012, at number 18.[171] In 2019, The Independent named it one of the 40 best albums you have to listen before you die.[172] In a 2020 review, Spin magazine named Like a Prayer the eighth best album of the last 35 years.[173]

At the end of 1989, Like a Prayer was voted the 18th best record of the year in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics published by The Village Voice, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album.[174][175] Billboard retrospectively cited Like a Prayer as Madonna's best album in 2015.[176]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written and produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, except where noted.

Like a Prayer – Standard edition
No.TitleLength
1."Like a Prayer"5:41
2."Express Yourself" (writers and producers: Madonna, Stephen Bray)4:37
3."Love Song" (with Prince; writers and producers: Madonna, Prince)4:52
4."Till Death Do Us Part"5:16
5."Promise to Try"3:36
6."Cherish"5:03
7."Dear Jessie"4:20
8."Oh Father"4:57
9."Keep It Together" (writers and producers: Madonna, Bray)5:03
10."Spanish Eyes"5:15
11."Act of Contrition"2:19
Total length:51:16
Like a Prayer – 30th Anniversary edition[177]
No.TitleLength
1."Like a Prayer" (12" Dance Mix; remix/additional production: Shep Pettibone)7:52
2."Express Yourself" (Non-Stop Express Mix; remix/additional production: Pettibone)8:00
3."Love Song" (with Prince)4:52
4."Till Death Do Us Part"5:18
5."Cherish" (extended version)6:16
6."Dear Jessie"4:21
7."Oh Father" (single version)4:27
8."Keep It Together" (12" remix; remix/additional production: Pettibone)7:48
9."Pray for Spanish Eyes"5:17
10."Supernatural"5:12
Total length:59:23

Notes[21]

  • "Spanish Eyes" was re-titled "Pray for Spanish Eyes" on certain editions of the album.
  • In the album's notes "The powers that be" (Madonna and Leonard) are credited as the producers of "Act of Contrition".

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[21]

Musicians

Production and design

  • Madonna – producer
  • Patrick Leonard – producer
  • Stephen Bray – producer
  • Prince – producer
  • Bill Bottrell – sound engineer
  • Eddie Miller – sound engineer
  • Stephen Shelton – sound engineer
  • Heidi Hanschu – sound engineer
  • Michael Vail Blum – sound engineer
  • Robert Salcedo – sound engineer
  • Stacy Baird – sound engineer
  • Joe Schiff – sound engineer
  • Bill Bottrell – mixing
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Herb Ritts – photography
  • Jeri Heiden – art design

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Certifications for Like a Prayer, with pure sales where available
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[208] Platinum 270,000[137]
Australia (ARIA)[134] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[209] Platinum 50,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[211] 2× Platinum 710,000[210]
Canada (Music Canada)[113] 5× Platinum 500,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[212] Platinum 70,818[212]
France (SNEP)[121] 2× Platinum 800,000[213]
Germany (BVMI)[123] 3× Gold 750,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[130] Platinum 20,000*
India 41,000[214]
Italy 800,000[127]
Japan (RIAJ)[216] 2× Platinum 414,390[215]
Malaysia 30,000[131][217]
Netherlands (NVPI)[218] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[136] 2× Platinum 30,000^
Portugal (AFP)[219] Gold 20,000^
Singapore 70,000[220]
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[78] 4× Platinum 400,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[221] 2× Platinum 100,000^
Turkey 151,000[132]
United Kingdom (BPI)[118] 4× Platinum 1,200,000^
United States (RIAA)[110] 4× Platinum 5,000,000[111]
Summaries
Europe
as of 1990
5,000,000[116]
Worldwide 15,000,000[138]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rooksby 2004, p. 30
  2. ^ a b Johnston, Becky (May 1989). "Confession of a Catholic Girl". Interview. Brant Publications. ISSN 0149-8932.
  3. ^ a b O'Brien 2007, p. 120
  4. ^ a b c Taraborrelli 2002, p. 168
  5. ^ a b c d e f Zaleski, Annie (November 14, 2014). "Madonna's Like A Prayer remains a provocative, substantial pop record". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on November 14, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Caulfield, Keith (March 21, 2014). "Madonna Producer Patrick Leonard Talks 'Like A Prayer' at 25". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 7, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Holden, Stephen (March 19, 1989). "Madonna re-creates herself – again". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 30, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Burnett, Bryan (March 1, 1989). "Of the Pops, with the big news on Madonna". Evening Times. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  9. ^ McKeen 2000, p. 233
  10. ^ "Release set". The Albany Herald. January 27, 1989. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Rosen, Craig (March 26, 2014). "Madonna's 'Like a Prayer' Turns 25! 10 Things You Might Not Know". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on November 14, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  12. ^ Britt, Bruce (March 3, 1989). "Madonna album set for release". The Lewiston Journal. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  13. ^ "Madonna and Sean Penn to end their marriage". The New York Times. January 7, 1989. Archived from the original on November 14, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d e Considine, J. D. (April 6, 1989). "Like A Prayer". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on March 28, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  15. ^ Zollo, Paul (June 17, 2013). Songwriters on Songwriting (4 ed.). Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81265-1.
  16. ^ Voller 1999, p. 30
  17. ^ Smith, Liz (March 16, 1989). "Soon-to-be single Madonna revs up career". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. New Media Investment Group. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  18. ^ Ferman, Dave (March 5, 1998). "Chronology: From Material Girl to Evita". Lakeland Ledger. New Media Investment Group. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  19. ^ a b Freccero, Carla (1992). "Our Lady of MTV: Madonna's 'Like a Prayer'". Boundary 2. Duke University Press. 19 (2): 163–175. doi:10.2307/303538. JSTOR 303538.
  20. ^ a b "Making scents of Madonna". TimesDaily. Tennessee Valley Printing Co. June 28, 1989. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  21. ^ a b c Like a Prayer (Liner notes). Madonna. Warner Bros./Sire Records. 1989. 925844-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  22. ^ Taraborrelli 2002, p. 150
  23. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Like a Prayer – Madonna". AllMusic. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  24. ^ a b Johnston, Maura (August 16, 2017). "Madonna: Like a Prayer". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on August 16, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Rooksby 2004, p. 36
  26. ^ a b Bronson 2003, p. 727
  27. ^ Perricone, Kathleen (April 20, 2011). "Lady Gaga on Madonna plagiarism: Accusations she ripped off 'Express Yourself' are 'retarded'". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  28. ^ Rooksby 2004, p. 33
  29. ^ a b c d Rooksby 2004, pp. 34–35
  30. ^ a b Partridige, Kenneth (March 14, 2014). "Madonna's 'Like a Prayer' at 25: Classic Track-by-Track Review". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 17, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  31. ^ Norman, Tony (May 5, 1989). "Madonna stretches on 'Prayer'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  32. ^ Dunn & Jones 1994, p. 241
  33. ^ Fouz-Hernández & Jarman-Ivens 2004, p. 181
  34. ^ O'Brien 2007, p. 198
  35. ^ Fouz-Hernández & Jarman-Ivens 2004, p. 110
  36. ^ O'Brien 2007, p. 212
  37. ^ Taraborrelli 2002, p. 176
  38. ^ a b c Cinquemani, Sal (October 11, 2003). "Madonna: Like a Prayer". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on February 10, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  39. ^ Metz & Benson 1999, p. 13
  40. ^ Bernard & Marsh 1994, p. 103
  41. ^ "This Day in 1989: Madonna and her "Like a Prayer" controversy | Rhino". www.rhino.com. Archived from the original on November 3, 2021. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  42. ^ "Madonna's 'Like a Prayer' at 30: Here's Where She Goes From Superstar to Artistic Great | Billboard". Billboard. March 21, 2019. Archived from the original on February 29, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  43. ^ a b c Inglis 2006, p. 136
  44. ^ Kot, Greg (December 16, 1990). "Shocking stuffers Madonna and Ice Cube carefully craft controversy _ and it sells". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 19, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  45. ^ リミックス・プレイヤーズ (in Japanese). Oricon. August 25, 1989. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  46. ^ a b c Taraborrelli 2002, p. 172
  47. ^ Bignell 2007, p. 123
  48. ^ Metz & Benson 1999, p. 131
  49. ^ Mizoguchi, Karen. "Madonna and Pepsi Once Had Issues, So She Posted a Photo to Remind Everyone About It". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  50. ^ Khloer, Phil (March 10, 1989). "Madonna Crosses Line in 'Like a Prayer' Video". Record-Journal. Archived from the original on October 21, 2021. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  51. ^ Romero, Frances (October 20, 2010). "Top 10 Vatican Pop-Culture Moments: Madonna, Over and Over". Time. Archived from the original on September 23, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  52. ^ a b c Taraborrelli 2002, p. 174
  53. ^ Hochman, Steve (March 8, 1989). "Mad About Madonna PepsiCo Backs Use of Video in Ad Campaign". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  54. ^ Key, Janet (March 8, 1989). "Pepsi 'thrilled' with Madonna ads". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 4, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  55. ^ "Madonna Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 18, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  56. ^ "Madonna – Like a Prayer (Song)". Australian Recording Industry Association. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  57. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". www.bac-lac.gc.ca. Archived from the original on October 16, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  58. ^ "Archive Chart – Singles March 18, 1989". Official Charts Company. March 18, 1989. Archived from the original on April 13, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  59. ^ Guilbert 2002, p. 120
  60. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100: Week Ending July 15, 1989". Billboard. July 15, 1989. Archived from the original on September 16, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  61. ^ "Charts of the World: European Hot 100 Singles". Billboard. Vol. 99, no. 2. July 1, 1989. ISSN 0006-2510.
  62. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 50, No. 5, May 29, 1989". RPM. RPM Library Archives. May 29, 1989. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  63. ^ Clerk 2002, p. 83
  64. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100: Week Ending October 7, 1989". Billboard. October 7, 1989. Archived from the original on September 16, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  65. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 50, No. 25, October 16, 1989". RPM. October 16, 1989. Archived from the original on March 4, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  66. ^ "Madonna – Cherish (Song)". Australian Recording Industry Association. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  67. ^ "Radio Top 30 – Hoogste – Cherish" (in Dutch). VRT Top 30. Archived from the original on April 9, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  68. ^ "The Irish Charts – All There Is To Know". Irish Recorded Music Association. September 7, 1989. Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  69. ^ "Archive Chart – Singles – 23rd September 1989". Official Charts Company. September 23, 1989. Archived from the original on September 24, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  70. ^ DeKnock, Jan (November 10, 1989). "The Wait Is Over For Bad Englishman Waite". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 19, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  71. ^ Rooksby 2004, p. 32
  72. ^ "Madonna – Oh Father (Song)". Yle. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  73. ^ "Billboard – Madonna – Oh Father". Billboard. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  74. ^ "Archive Chart: UK Singles". Official Charts Company. December 16, 1989. Archived from the original on December 14, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
  75. ^ Kent 1993, p. 334
  76. ^ Rooksby 2004, p. 35
  77. ^ "Chartverfolgong / Madonna / Singlet" (in German). Media Control Charts. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  78. ^ a b Salaverri 2005, p. 90
  79. ^ "Madonna – Dear Jessie (Song)". Swiss Music Charts. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on February 6, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  80. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100: Week Ending March 31, 1990". Billboard. March 31, 1990. Archived from the original on October 19, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  81. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 51, No. 13, February 10, 1990". RPM. RPM Library Archives. February 10, 1990. Archived from the original on February 16, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  82. ^ "Madonna – Vogue (Song)". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on April 6, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  83. ^ Mackie, Drew (April 13, 2015). "25 Reasons Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour Still Rules, 25 Years Later". People. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  84. ^ Brown, Patricia Leigh (June 17, 1990). "POP; Video and Theater Shape a New Madonna". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 3, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  85. ^ Wurtzel, Elizabeth (May 14, 1990). "Heavy Breathing". New York. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  86. ^ Clerk 2002, p. 84
  87. ^ Lynch, Joe (May 29, 2015). "Madonna Was Nearly Arrested for Simulating Masturbation 25 Years Ago Today". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 20, 2019. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  88. ^ "Controversy hurts Madonna in Italy". Sun Journal. July 12, 1990. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  89. ^ Mackie, Drew (April 3, 2015). "25 Reasons Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour Still Rules, 25 Years Later". People. Archived from the original on October 15, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  90. ^ "Pollstar Awards Archive – 1990". Pollstar. Archived from the original on October 2, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  91. ^ Madonna (1990). Blond Ambition – Japan Tour 90 (VHS). Warner-Pioneer Japan.
  92. ^ Madonna (1990). Blond Ambition World Tour Live (Laserdisc). Warner Pioneer Artists.
  93. ^ Power, Tony (December 2003). "Madonna: Like a Prayer". Blender. No. 22. New York. Archived from the original on August 18, 2004. Retrieved March 10, 2017.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  94. ^ McLeese, Don (March 27, 1989). "Madonna's newest album, 'Like a Prayer,' is her best". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 29, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2015.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  95. ^ a b Fonseca, Nicholas (April 25, 2003). "Reviewing Madonna's albums". Entertainment Weekly. New York. Archived from the original on January 30, 2022. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  96. ^ a b Quantick, David (March 25, 1989). "Angel Delight". NME. London. p. 32.
  97. ^ a b Bradley, Lloyd (May 1989). "Madonna: Like A Prayer". Q. No. 32. London. Archived from the original on December 27, 2021. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  98. ^ Walters, Barry. "Madonna: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 5, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2012.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  99. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (June 6, 1989). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Archived from the original on September 14, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  100. ^ Gitlin, Marty (2011). M: Madonna (1958—). The Baby Boomer Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 122. ISBN 9780313382185. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  101. ^ Greeley, Andrew M. (May 13, 1989). "Madonna's Challenge to Her Church". America. Archived from the original on August 29, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  102. ^ Metz & Benson 1999, p. 12
  103. ^ Walters, Barry (March 24, 1989). "Madonna exposes herself in 'Like a Prayer'". San Francisco Examiner. p. 29. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  104. ^ Walters 2004, pp. 508–509
  105. ^ a b Logan Wright, Christian; Leland, John; Levy, Joe (May 1989). "Madonna: Lady sings the Blues". Spin. p. 79. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  106. ^ a b c "Madonna Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  107. ^ Waddel, Ray (March 10, 2009). "Madonna's Top Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  108. ^ Caulfield, Keith (April 10, 2015). "Madonna's 21 Top 10 Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  109. ^ "Madonna - Top R&B Albums Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 24, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  110. ^ a b "American album certifications – Madonna – Like a Prayer". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  111. ^ a b Claimed sales for Like a Prayer in the United States (+ 5 million):
  112. ^ a b "Top RPM Albums: Issue 6333". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  113. ^ a b "Canadian album certifications – Madonna – Like a Prayer". Music Canada. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  114. ^ a b "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. April 29, 1989. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  115. ^ "The Nine Lives Of Madonna" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6, no. 26. July 1, 1989. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 8, 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  116. ^ a b "WEA Warnings On Madonna LP" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 7, no. 19. May 4, 1990. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 19, 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  117. ^ "Madonna | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  118. ^ a b "British album certifications – Madonna – Like a Prayer". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  119. ^ Maes, Marc (February 24, 1990). "International – 'Lambada' Tops Belgian Big-Sellers' List" (PDF). Billboard. p. 74. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  120. ^ "Madonna Like a Prayer;– search with artist name". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. April 9, 1989. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  121. ^ a b "French album certifications – Madonna – Like a Prayer" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  122. ^ "Madonna – Like A Prayer". Dutch Charts. Archived from the original on April 27, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  123. ^ a b "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Madonna; 'Like a Prayer')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  124. ^ a b "Top 3 Albums In Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. April 15, 1989. p. 20. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  125. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Retrieved May 30, 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Album". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "Madonna".
  126. ^ "Italy No. 3 Worldwide For Madonna LP" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6, no. 23. June 10, 1989. p. 11. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 24, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  127. ^ a b Giampieri, Valentina (April 14, 2019). "Madonna, Like a Prayer: 30 anni di un album spartiacque". GQ (in Italian). Italy. Archived from the original on July 7, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  128. ^ a b ライク・ア・プレイヤー (in Japanese). Oricon. April 9, 1989. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  129. ^ ゴールドディスク大賞受賞者一覧 (PDF) (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 1987–2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 13, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2010.
  130. ^ a b "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1989". IFPI Hong Kong. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  131. ^ a b Y.S. Ming (June 3, 1989). "Madonna, Tiffany, Local Star, & Catalog Fuel April Growth WEA Malaysia Posts Record Music Sales" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 101, no. 22. p. 67. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 26, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  132. ^ a b Stokes, Martin (2010). "4". Why Cry? Sezen Aksu's Diva Citizenship (PDF — version). The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music. University of Chicago Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-226-77506-7. The first efforts to establish official figures by MESAM [from Turkish: Türkiye Musiki Eseri Sahipleri Meslek Birliği] (a music industry organization established primarily to lobby for firmer copyright control) took place in 1990. Dilmener reproduces a list of sales from Boom that confirm the kinds of figures I would hear in Unkapanı in candid conversations with producers and small company owners. [...] By way of comparison, İbrahim Tatlıses' İnsanlar had sold 800,000 while Madonna's Like a Prayer had sold 151,000 (Dilmener 2003, p. 349). {{cite book}}: External link in |format= (help)
  133. ^ a b "Australiancharts.com – Madonna – Like a Prayer". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  134. ^ a b "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1996 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association.
  135. ^ a b "Charts.nz – Madonna – Like a Prayer". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  136. ^ a b Scapolo, Dean (2007). The Complete New Zealand Music Charts: 1966–2006. Wellington: Dean Scapolo and Maurienne House. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8.
  137. ^ a b "La Nueva Madonna". Somos (in Spanish). Editorial Atlántida (832–848): 24. 1992. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved February 18, 2021 – via Google Books. [c]uando en el ' 83 vendió 9 milloInes (millones) de copias de su primer álbum, nadie creía que Madonna podía ser capaz de superarse a sí misma. Sin embargo , el asunto fue in crescendo : Like a Virgin largo con 11 millones , True Blue trepó a 17 y la cosa no paró más . Sólo en la Argentina , se vendieron 140 . 000 placas del primer LP, 160 . 000 del segundo . 190 . 000 del tercero y 270 . 000 del cuarto
  138. ^ a b "100 Women of the Year, 1989: Madonna". Time. March 5, 2020. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  139. ^ Savage, Mark (August 15, 2008). "Pop superstars turn 50". BBC. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  140. ^ "The 30 All-Time Best Music Videos". Time. July 28, 2011. Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  141. ^ Freeman, Hadley (August 23, 2011). "My favourite album: Like a Prayer by Madonna". The Guardian. Archived from the original on October 13, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  142. ^ Tavana, Art (December 12, 2014). "The 20 Best Pop Songs in History By Female Artists". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on December 15, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  143. ^ Taraborrelli 2009, p. 484
  144. ^ Taraborrelli 2002, p. 164
  145. ^ Bielen 1999, pp. 152–153
  146. ^ Harrison 2011, p. 10
  147. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (June 11, 1990). "Critic's Notebook; On the Edge of the Permissible: Madonna's Evolving Persona". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 14, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  148. ^ Rosa, Christopher. "Madonna Vs. Rihanna: The Battle Of The DGAF Divas". VH1. Archived from the original on March 27, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  149. ^ Rosa, Christopher. "10 Things Millennials Don't Understand About Madonna". VH1. Archived from the original on March 31, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  150. ^ Taylor Swift: Interview, 1989. October 10, 2014. 12:44. (London) Kiss FM (UK)
  151. ^ Kellner 1995, p. 277
  152. ^ Kellner 1995, p. 274
  153. ^ Metz & Benson 1999, p. 192
  154. ^ Taraborrelli 2002, p. 175
  155. ^ Hoover 2006, p. 50
  156. ^ Welsh, Daniel (March 21, 2014). "Madonna's 'Like A Prayer' At 25: 10 More Shocking And Outrageous Music Videos Featuring Miley Cyrus, Kylie Minogue, M.I.A." The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  157. ^ Fouz-Hernández & Jarman-Ivens 2004, p. 26
  158. ^ Gibson & Meem 2002, p. 155
  159. ^ Mclntyre, Hugh (August 24, 2015). "The 5 Most Expensive Music Videos Of All Time". Forbes. Archived from the original on October 10, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  160. ^ Semonche 2007, p. 162
  161. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. November 18, 2003. Archived from the original on January 6, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  162. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  163. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. September 22, 2020. Archived from the original on July 2, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  164. ^ "Radiohead Beat Beatles And Stones In Best Album Poll". Contactmusic.com. April 17, 2005. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015 – via WENN.
  165. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". Quintessence Editions Ltd. 2005. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  166. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  167. ^ "The All-TIME 100 Albums: Like a Prayer by Madonna - All-Time 100 Albums". Time. November 2, 2006. Archived from the original on January 21, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  168. ^ Weisbard & Marks 1995, pp. xii, 235
  169. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998). "Like a Prayer (300)". All Time Top 1000 Albums. p. 90. ISBN 0753502585 – via Archive.org.
  170. ^ "Best Albums of the '80s". Slant Magazine. March 5, 2012. Archived from the original on March 22, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  171. ^ "Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time: Madonna, 'Like a Prayer' &#124". Rolling Stone. June 25, 2012. Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  172. ^ O'Conor, Roisin (January 13, 2019). "The 40 best albums to listen to before you die, from Dark Side of the Moon to Illmatic". The Independent. Archived from the original on January 25, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  173. ^ "The 35 Best Albums of the Last 35 Years". Spin. December 6, 2020. Archived from the original on August 6, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  174. ^ "Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. New York. February 27, 1990. Archived from the original on July 10, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  175. ^ "Here's list of nominees from all 77 categories". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Publishing Company. January 12, 1990. p. 32. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  176. ^ "Madonna's Albums Ranked From Worst to Best". Billboard. March 9, 2015. Archived from the original on April 24, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  177. ^ "Like a Prayer (30th Anniversary) by Madonna". Amazon. Archived from the original on March 21, 2019. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  178. ^ "Top 20 — Albumes Argentina" (PDF). Pelo (in Spanish). Vol. 40, no. 340. 1989. p. 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 15, 2022. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  179. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Madonna – Like a Prayer" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  180. ^ a b c d e f g "Top 3 Albums in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. May 6, 1989. p. 24. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  181. ^ "Hits of the World: Canada" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 101, no. 18. May 6, 1989. p. 78. ISSN 0006-2510. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 28, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  182. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Madonna – Like a Prayer" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  183. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Madonna – Like a Prayer" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  184. ^ "Ísland (LP-plötur)" (in Icelandic). Timarit.is. April 21, 1989. p. 43. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  185. ^ "Jacko . . .at number 9". New Ross Standard. April 6, 1989. p. 51. Retrieved December 31, 2021. 1—Like A Prayer Madonna. 2—Now 14 (various). s—Southsiae Texas. 4—Anything For You Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
  186. ^ "Top 3 Albums in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. April 8, 1989. p. 24. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  187. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Madonna – Like a Prayer". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  188. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Madonna – Like a Prayer". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  189. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Madonna – Like a Prayer". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  190. ^ "Madonna | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  191. ^ "Madonna Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  192. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2021. 11. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  193. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Albums 1989". ARIA. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  194. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1989" (in German). austriancharts.at. Archived from the original on October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  195. ^ "Belgium - Top 5 Albums, 1989" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 7, no. 6. p. February 10, 1990. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  196. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1989". RPM. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  197. ^ "Jarroverzichten - Album 1989" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on November 3, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  198. ^ "European Top 100 Albums 1989" (PDF). Music & Media. December 23, 1989. p. 9. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  199. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1989 par InfoDisc" (in French). InfoDisc.fr. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  200. ^ "Top 100 Album - Jahrescharts" (in German). Offiziellecharts.de. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  201. ^ Stansfield, David (January 27, 1990). "Italian Magazine Issues Year -End Chart - National Foreign Artists Share Top 50 Spotlight" (PDF). Billboard. p. 76. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  202. ^ "年間ヒット音楽アルバム 1989年(平成元年) ベスト50" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  203. ^ "End of Year Charts 1989 (Albums)". RIANZ. Archived from the original on October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  204. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1989 (ALBEN)" (in German). hitparade.ch. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  205. ^ "Year End Albums" (PDF). Record Mirror. January 20, 1990. p. 42. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  206. ^ "Billboard 200 Top Albums 1989". Billboard. January 2, 2013. Archived from the original on March 14, 2021. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  207. ^ "Billboard 200 Top Albums 1990". Billboard. January 2, 2013. Archived from the original on May 17, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  208. ^ "Discos de Oro y Platino" (in Spanish). Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  209. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Madonna – Like a Prayer" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  210. ^ Garcia, Sérgio (October 31, 1993). "No banco com Madonna". Jornal do Brasil (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on September 23, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  211. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Madonna – Like a Prayer" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  212. ^ a b "Madonna" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  213. ^ Berthelot, Théau (December 1, 2019). ""Like a Prayer", "Alors regarde"... Ces albums fêtent leur 30 ans" (in French). Charts in France. Archived from the original on December 23, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  214. ^ Sales for Like a Prayer in India:
    According to Billboard (25,000 units sold in ten days) According to Bombay: The City Magazine (a publication owned by Living Media India)
    • "India report". Bombay: The City Magazine. Vol. 11, no. 1–6. Living Media India. 1989. p. 6. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved February 7, 2021 – via Google Books. [...] Madonna's Like A subtitled ( of all things ) in Prayer which sold 41,000
  215. ^ "CDs Take Over" (PDF). Billboard. June 2, 1990. p. J-18. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  216. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Madonna – Like a Prayer" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved September 27, 2018. Select 1989年4月 on the drop-down menu
  217. ^ Y.S. Ming (June 24, 1989). "INTERNATIONAL MUSIC SALES UP IN MALAYSIA" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 101, no. 25. p. 83. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  218. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Madonna – Like a Prayer" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved November 23, 2017. Enter Like a Prayer in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  219. ^ Tenente, Fernando (April 14, 1990). "International: Floyd, Kaoma Top Sellers In Portugal Certs" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 102, no. 15. p. 69. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2020 – via World Radio History.
  220. ^ Claimed sales for Like a Prayer in Singapore:
  221. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Madonna; 'Like a Prayer')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 23, 2017.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]