Live to Tell
|"Live to Tell"|
|Single by Madonna|
|from the album True Blue|
|Released||March 26, 1986|
|Madonna singles chronology|
"Live to Tell" is a song by American singer Madonna from her third studio album True Blue (1986). Originally composed by Patrick Leonard for the score of the film Fire with Fire, the instrumental was shown to Madonna, who decided to use it for then-husband Sean Penn's film At Close Range. Madonna wrote all the lyrics and some melodies, and co-produced it with Leonard. The song was released as the lead single from True Blue on March 26, 1986 by Sire Records. It later appeared on compilation albums The Immaculate Collection (1990), Something to Remember (1995), and Celebration (2009).
A pop ballad, the song includes instrumentation from guitars, keyboards, drums and a synthesizer, and its lyrics deal with deceit, mistrust and childhood scars. It is also about being strong, which Madonna recalled in an interview that she thought about her relationship with her parents, while writing the lyrics. The music video, directed by James Foley, shows Madonna's first image makeover, featuring her with a cleaner look, shoulder-length wavy golden blond hair, conservative wardrobe and subtle make-up. This toned down blond appearance was again inspired by Marilyn Monroe.
"Live to Tell" was generally well received by music critics, who frequently referred to it as the best ballad of her career. It was also a commercial success, becoming Madonna's third number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and her first number-one on the Adult Contemporary chart. The song faced controversy when Madonna performed it on her 2006 Confessions Tour wearing a crown of thorns while hanging on a giant mirrored cross. The performance at Rome's Olympic Stadium was condemned as an act of hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church by religious leaders.
- 1 Background and writing
- 2 Composition
- 3 Critical response
- 4 Chart performance
- 5 Music video
- 6 Live performances
- 7 Cover versions and usage in media
- 8 Formats and track listing
- 9 Credits and personnel
- 10 Charts and certifications
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 External links
Background and writing
After Madonna finished The Virgin Tour, she asked producers Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray to write some songs with her and produce her third studio album, True Blue (1986). "Live to Tell" was originally an instrumental composed by Leonard for the score of Paramount's romantic drama film Fire with Fire. "My managers represented the guy who was directing the film; it was his first film. I saw a little piece of the film, and I had the script. I wrote a theme and I said, 'What if I could get Madonna to write the lyrics for it?'", said Leonard.
However, Paramount rejected the track, believing that Leonard was incapable of creating the score for the film. Leonard later presented the instrumental to Madonna, who decided to use it for At Close Range, the new film starring her then-husband, actor Sean Penn. Madonna wrote all the lyrics, added some melodies to the composition, and recorded a demo on a cassette. She presented the track to the film's director James Foley, who liked it and enlisted Leonard to compose the film's score, as suggested by Madonna.
Leonard was working with Michael Jackson, on some transcriptions for his Bad album, when Penn called him to come to Foley's home. There he asked Leonard who would sing the track, since it was written from a man's perspective. Leonard, although he had initially envisioned a male voice interpreting the song, decided to use Madonna as the main vocalist and used the demo version as the main vocal with backup drums only. He later recalled that "it was so innocent and so shy. It's as naive, as raw, as raw can be and that's part of what gave it all its charm." In a 1986 interview, Madonna said that the mood on the song was inspired by a different facet of her image makeover and her desire to focus on something different.
A 30 second sample from "Live to Tell", featuring Madonna singing the first chorus, with background instrumentation from a synthesizer that alternates between the tonal keys of D and F.
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
"Live to Tell" is a pop ballad, with background instrumentation from a keyboard, a synthesizer, a funk guitar and a mix of synthesized and real drumming. According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Alfred Publishing, the song is written in the key of F major, is set in common time and moves at a moderate tempo of 112 beats per minute. The song starts with an instrumental introduction, performed by a synthesizer with the bass pedals set on D minor. Then the key suddenly changes to its relative major, F.
Madonna's vocal range spans almost one octave from F3 to D4. As she begins to sing the first verse, the bass pedal changes to C major, changes back to F during the chorus, and back to D minor during the chorus closure. This process is repeated during the second verse and chorus, which abruptly ends in a silence, with only the low and lifeless sound of the synthesizer, set in D minor. Madonna then starts to sing the bridge (or middle part) — "If I ran away, I'd never have the strength" — between the tonal keys of D and F, closing with the repetition of the chorus until the song gradually fades out. The original composition of the song did not have the background synths, instead Leonard created a basic structure on piano, and Madonna added the words on top of it. According to Leonard, Madonna came up with the bridge by herself, extending it from the music that he was playing.
Lyrically, "Live to Tell" portrays the complexity of deceit and mistrust. The song is also about childhood scars and had an extreme emotional pitch. According to the book The Heart of Rock & Soul by Dave Marsh, the archetype of songs like "Live to Tell" is The Platters' song "The Great Pretender". In an interview about the song, Madonna said, "I thought about my relationship with my parents and the lying that went on. The song is about being strong, and questioning whether you can be that strong but ultimately surviving."
"Live to Tell" was generally well received by music critics. In a review of the album True Blue, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic called it a "tremendous ballad that rewrites the rules of adult contemporary crossover". Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly called the song "her best ballad to date". In a review of her compilation album The Immaculate Collection, David Browne from the same magazine called it "one of her few successful shots at being a balladeer". Alfred Soto from Stylus Magazine felt that "the song's set of lyrics remain her best" and that the vocals "seethes with a lifetime's worth of hurts which she nevertheless refuses to share". Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine called the song "striking" adding that it "rewrote the rules of what a pop song was supposed to sound like". Edna Gundersen from USA Today called the song "a moody heart-tugger, may be her best song ever."
Adam Sexton, author of Desperately Seeking Madonna: In Search Of The Meaning Of The World's Most Famous Woman, felt that "Live to Tell" made a provocative companion to "Papa Don't Preach", the second single from the album. He added that "Madonna appropriately measured the safety of silence against the urge to unburden herself." Sexton also complimented the production, saying that the "music itself suggests a threatened annihilation, a fact that makes it more haunting." Allen Metz and Carol Benson, authors of The Madonna Companion: Two Decades of Commentary, felt that the track expanded Madonna's musical horizons. According to them "Live to Tell" was a compelling track which Madonna sang with moving conviction. J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of Madonna: An Intimate Biography, was pleased with the track, denoting it as a vehicle of growth for Madonna. Erica Wexler from Spin, while reviewing True Blue, called "Live to Tell" as "dark and moody, dense with dramatic mystery. In this mushy tale of lost innocence, Madonna very theatrically conveys a lost fatalism. Her fragile voice aches for reassurance and healing when she sings 'Will it grow cold? The secret that I hide, Will I grow old?" Rolling Stone called the song "as cutting as it is melancholic" and said that it was "arguably [Madonna's] finest and most distinctive ballad."
"Live to Tell" was released in the United States in March 1986. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 49, reaching the top position eight weeks later, becoming Madonna's third number-one single in the US, and her second number-one that is featured in a film after "Crazy for You". The song was a crossover success, topping the Adult Contemporary chart for three weeks, and peaking at number three on the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart. In Canada the song debuted at number 79 of the RPM singles chart in April 1986, and reached the top of the chart for two weeks in May 1986, staying on the chart for a total of 23 weeks, It was ranked at the second position of the 1986 RPM Singles year-end chart.
In the United Kingdom, "Live to Tell" was released on April 21, 1986. The next week, the song debuted at number ten on the UK Singles Chart, peaked at number two, and stayed 13 weeks on the chart. It was held from the top spot by Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus". "Live to Tell" was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in May 1986, for shipment of 250,000 copies of the single across the United Kingdom. According to the Official Charts Company, the song has sold 280,000 copies in the UK.
Across Europe, "Live to Tell" topped the Eurochart Hot 100 for two weeks, and the singles chart in Italy, as well as peaking inside the top ten in Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland. It was also certified silver by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) for shipment of 250,000 copies in France.
In December 1985, Madonna starred in the film Shanghai Surprise, where she toned down her appearance, inspired again by Marilyn Monroe. Madonna held the look for the "Live to Tell" video. In it her make-up was pale and subtle, her shoulder-length hair was wavy and golden blond, and her clothes consisted of a simple 1930s-style floral dress. In an interview with music critic Stephen Holden from The New York Times, she commented about her new look:
"After a while I got sick of wearing tons of jewelry—I wanted to clean myself off. I see my new look as very innocent and feminine and unadorned. It makes me feel good. Growing up, I admired the kind of beautiful glamorous woman—from Brigitte Bardot to Grace Kelly—who doesn't seem to be around much anymore. I think it's time for that kind of glamor to come back. In pop music generally, people have one image. You get pigeonholed. I'm lucky enough to be able to change and still be accepted. If you think about it, that's what they do in the movies; play a part, change characters, looks and attitudes. I guess I do it to entertain myself."
In addition to At Close Range, Foley also directed the song's video. David Naylor and Sharon Oreck were in charge of the production. The video serves as a publicity campaign for the movie, as it includes brief scenes of the film that indicate the conflict the young man in the movie—played by Sean Penn—feels.
The locations in the film are separated visually from the shots of Madonna, who is singing in a darkened studio. Unlike her previous videos, Madonna portrays a narrator, whose song comments on the story, appearing in shots completely different from the narrative action. She appears to speak for the character, addressing his problems directly, like the chorus of a classical tragedy.
Madonna premiered the song at a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden to raise money for medical research for AIDS. She dedicated the song to the memory of her friend, artist Martin Burgoyne. Madonna has since performed the song on three of her world tours. In 1987, during the Who's That Girl World Tour, she performed the song standing motionless in a single spotlight, wearing a black ensemble with tassels, golden tips and ribbing, designed by Marlene Stewart. Two different performances of the song on this tour can be found on the videos: Who's That Girl: Live in Japan, filmed in Tokyo, Japan, on June 22, 1987, and Ciao Italia: Live from Italy, filmed in Turin, Italy, on September 4, 1987.
Three years later on her Blond Ambition World Tour, Madonna evoked Catholic images during the performance. She wore a black kaftan and a neon crucifix, while singing on a confession bench, with Roman columns and a platform full of votive candles in the background. Two different performances were taped and released on video, the Blond Ambition Japan Tour 90, taped in Yokohama, Japan, on April 27, 1990, and the Blond Ambition World Tour Live, taped in Nice, France, on August 5, 1990.
Madonna's performance of the song during the 2006 Confessions Tour was controversial. She was raised from the floor hanging on a mirrored cross wearing a red blouse and velvet pants, with a crown of thorns on her head. During the performance, the number 12 million flashed above her on the stage's backdrop screens, along with images of African children. This was intended to detail the estimated number of children who have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Africa.
German prosecutors in Düsseldorf threatened to sue her for blasphemy, and Protestant bishop Margot Käßmann said that "maybe the only way an aging superstar can attract attention is to offend people's religious sentiments." The Russian Orthodox Church and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) described Madonna's performance as amoral, and urged all members to boycott her upcoming concert in Moscow. The performance at Rome's Olympic Stadium—located near the Vatican—was condemned as an act of hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church by religious leaders. Italian cardinal Ersilio Tonini called the concert "a blasphemous challenge to the faith" and a "profanation of the cross", also calling for Madonna to be excommunicated. Reverend Manfredo Leone described it as "disrespectful, in bad taste and provocative".
Muslim and Jewish leaders also criticized the performance. Mario Scialoja, the head of Italy's Muslim League commented "I think her idea is in the worst taste and she'd do better to go home." Riccardo Pacifici, the spokesman for Rome's Jewish community said "It's a disrespectful act, and to do it in Rome is even worse." Madonna released a statement about the controversy:
I am very grateful that my show was so well received all over the world. But there seems to be many misinterpretations about my appearance on the cross and I wanted to explain it myself once and for all.
There is a segment in my show where three of my dancers 'confess' or share harrowing experiences from their childhood that they ultimately overcame. My 'confession' follows and takes place on a Crucifix that I ultimately come down from. This is not a mocking of the church. It is no different than a person wearing a Cross or 'Taking Up the Cross' as it says in the Bible. My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole. I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing.
My specific intent is to bring attention to the millions of children in Africa who are dying every day, and are living without care, without medicine and without hope. I am asking people to open their hearts and minds to get involved in whatever way they can. The song ends with a quote from the Bible's Book of Matthew: 'For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me and God replied, "Whatever you did for the least of my brothers... you did it to me.'
Please do not pass judgement without seeing my show.
Cover versions and usage in media
"Live to Tell" has been covered by numerous artists. In 1992, American guitarist Bill Frisell covered the song in his fourth album, Have a Little Faith. In 1998, Blonde Ambition released a dance single of the song featuring 6 different hi-NRG remix versions. Italian singer Lucrezia made an uptempo dance version of the song that was remixed by David Morales. It peaked at number two for two weeks on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play, and was included in the 2001 album Logic Pride, Vol. 4. Canadian jazz singer Carol Welsman, covered it on her eponymous 2007 album.
New wave band Berlin covered the song for the 1999 album Virgin Voices: A Tribute to Madonna, Vol. 1. In an interview with CNN, Berlin's lead vocalist Terri Nunn said that the tribute was necessary, commenting that "she [Madonna] has influenced a lot of people", adding that "Live to Tell" is the only song from Madonna that she would touch. Other covers of the song on tribute albums include Semi Moore on The Material Girl: A Tribute to Madonna, released in 2000, an instrumental version on the 2002 album The String Quartet Tribute to Madonna, a folk version by Winter Flowers on the 2007 album Through the Wilderness, and a hi-NRG version by Melissa Totten on her 2008 album, Forever Madonna. In the American police procedural television series Cold Case, the song features in the finale of the first season episode "Churchgoing People".
Formats and track listing
- US / Canada / Germany / UK 7" single
- "Live to Tell" (Edit) – 4:37
- "Live to Tell" (Instrumental) – 5:49
- US / Canada / Germany / UK 12" maxi-single
- "Live to Tell" (LP Version) – 5:49
- "Live to Tell" (Edit) – 4:37
- "Live to Tell" (Instrumental) – 5:49
- Germany / UK CD Maxi Single (1995)
- "Live to Tell" (LP Version) – 5:49
- "Live to Tell" (Edit) – 4:37
- "Live to Tell" (Instrumental) – 5:49
Credits and personnel
- Madonna – lyrics, producer, vocals
- Bruce Gaitsch – guitars
- Patrick Leonard – drum programming, keyboards, lyrics, producer
- Jonathan Moffett – drums
- Michael Verdick – audio mixing, engineer
Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.
Charts and certifications
- List of RPM number-one singles of 1986
- List of European number-one hits of 1986
- List of number-one hits of 1986 (Italy)
- List of Hot 100 number-one singles of 1986 (U.S.)
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 1986 (U.S.)
- Bronson 2003, p. 637
- Patrick Leonard Interview: Madonna Collaborations (TV transcript) (in Swedish). Los Angeles: Sveriges Television. 2001.
- Perdomo, Marco Antonio (June 6, 2003). "Vivir para contarlo Madonna". Diario Co Latino (in Spanish). Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
- Rooksby 2004, p. 23
- Metz & Benson 1999, p. 69
- Marsh 1999, p. 38
- "Digital Sheet Music: Madonna, Live to Tell". Musicnotes.com. Alfred Publishing Co. Inc. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- Dirks, Eley & Ortner 1994, pp. 468–469
- Metz & Benson 1999, pp. 16, 21
- Rooksby 2004, p. 24
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "True Blue > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
- Farber, Jim (July 27, 2001). "Music News: The Girl Material". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
- Browne, David (December 14, 1990). "Music Review: The Immaculate Collection (1990)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
- Soto, Alfred (October 23, 2007). "Madonna – Like a Virgin / The Immaculate Collection". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
- Cinquemani, Sal (2003). "American Idol: 20 Years of Madonna". Slant Magazine. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
- Gundersen, Edna (October 17, 1996). "Pop/Rock Album Review: Something to Remember". USA Today. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Sexton 1993, p. 57
- Metz & Benson 1999, p. 17
- Taraborrelli 2002, p. 122
- Wexler, Erica (October 1986). "Review: Madonna, True Blue". Spin. Spin Media LLC. 2 (7). ISSN 0886-3032.
- "Readers Poll: The Best Madonna Songs Of All Time". Rolling Stone. April 4, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
- "The Billboard Hot 100: Week Ending April 12, 1986". Billboard. April 12, 1986. Retrieved March 12, 2009.
- "Madonna – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Madonna. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- DeKnock, Jan (June 6, 1986). "Madonna's Soundtrack Single 'Live To Tell' Lives To Become No. 1". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- "Adult Contemporary: Week Ending May 31, 1986". Billboard. May 31, 1986. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- "True Blue > Charts and Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0658". RPM. RPM Music Publications Ltd. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0676." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0658". RPM. RPM Music Publications Ltd. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- "The Top Singles of '86". RPM. RPM Music Publications Ltd. December 27, 1986. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- "Madonna: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Official Charts Singles: May 10, 1986". Official Charts Company. May 10, 1986. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
- "British single certifications – Madonna – Live to Tell". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 11, 2014. Enter Live to Tell in the search field and then press Enter.
- "Madonna: The Official Top 40". MTV News. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
- "Madonna: Live to Tell" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
- "Ultratop.be – Madonna – Live to Tell" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Lescharts.com – Madonna – Live to Tell" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Live to Tell". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Madonna search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "French single certifications – Madonna – Live to Tell" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved December 11, 2014. Select MADONNA and click OK
- Clerk 2002, p. 59
- Voller 1999, p. 24
- Metz & Benson 1999, p. 48
- Madonna (1987). It's That Girl (VHS). Warner Music Group.
- Butler 2002, p. 232
- Hilburn, Robert (June 29, 1987). "Tour Opens it's True: Madonna is Really Good". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Clerk 2002, p. 66
- Madonna (1987). Who's That Girl: Live in Japan (VHS). Warner-Pioneer Japan.
- Phares, Heather. "Ciao Italia: Live in Italy (Video) > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Kot, Greg (May 13, 1990). "Tressed to Kill Madonna pumps up the image machine". Chicago Tribune.
- Madonna (1990). Blond Ambition Japan Tour 90 (VHS). Warner-Pioneer Japan.
- Madonna (1990). Blond Ambition World Tour Live (Laserdisc). Pioneer Artists.
- "Madonna takes cross show to Rome". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). August 7, 2006. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Bellafante, Ginia (November 23, 2006). "Tribute to Madonna’s Current and Former Selves". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Cohen, Sandy (May 22, 2006). "Madonna Kicks Off 'Confessions' Tour". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Madonna defies prosecution threat". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). August 20, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
- "Boycott of Madonna Moscow concert urged". Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. August 18, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
- "Madonna's Rome show crosses religious leaders". CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). August 7, 2006. Archived from the original on March 12, 2007. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Religious leaders protest Madonna's glittery concert crucifixion". CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). August 3, 2006. Archived from the original on November 11, 2006. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Faber, Judy (August 3, 2006). "Madonna Helps Orphans, Upsets Vatican". CBS News (CBS). Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Madonna defends crucifixion". The Sydney Morning Herald. September 26, 2006. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Yanow, Scott. "Have a Little Faith > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Live to Tell 1998 (Dance Mixes) > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Hot Dance Club Play: Week Ending August 04, 2001". Billboard. August 4, 2001. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Logic Pride, Vol. 4 > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Henderson, Alex. "Carol Welsman > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Huey, Steve. "Virgin Voices: A Tribute to Madonna, Vol. 1 > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Allen, Jamie (April 7, 1999). "Justify my tribute: Madonna honored with 'Virgin Voices'". CNN (Turner Broadcasting System). Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Campbell, Al. "The Material Girl: A Tribute to Madonna > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- Loftus, Johnny. "The String Quartet Tribute to Madonna > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Through the Wilderness: A Tribute to Madonna > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Forever Madonna > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Churchgoing People - Trivia". TV.com. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Live to Tell (US 7-inch Single liner notes). Madonna. Sire Records. 1986. 9 28717-7.
- True Blue (Liner notes). Madonna. Sire Records. 1986. 925442-2.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Europarade". Hitkrant (in Dutch). Amsterdam: Nationale Hitkrant Productions. 10 (27). June 7, 1986. ISSN 0165-4942.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Madonna – Live to Tell". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Madonna Chart History". RÚV. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Madonna – Live to Tell" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Charts.org.nz – Madonna – Live to Tell". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Madonna – Live to Tell". VG-lista. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Madonna – Live to Tell". Singles Top 100. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Swisscharts.com – Madonna – Live to Tell". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Madonna – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Madonna. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Annuale Rapports 1986". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "Top Annuali Singles: 1986" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
- "Dutch Year End Single Top 100 1986" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "NZ Top 40 Year end 1986". RMNZ. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- "Swiss Year-End Charts 1986" (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Top Pop Singles 1986". Billboard. December 31, 1986. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2011.
- "Top Adult Contemporary Singles of 1986". Billboard. December 31, 1986. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2011.
- Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Charts. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
- Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits. Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6.
- Butler, Jeremy G. (2002). Television: critical methods and applications. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0-8058-4209-8.
- Clerk, Carol (2002). Madonnastyle. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-8874-9.
- Dirks, Nicholas B.; Eley, Geoff; Ortner, Sherry B. (1994). Culture/power/history: a reader in contemporary social theory. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02102-3.
- Marsh, Dave (1999). The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80901-X.
- Metz, Allan; Benson, Carol (1999). The Madonna Companion: Two Decades of Commentary. Music Sales Group. ISBN 0-8256-7194-9.
- Rooksby, Rikky (2004). The Complete Guide to the Music of Madonna. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9883-3.
- Sexton, Adam (1993). Desperately Seeking Madonna: In Search Of The Meaning Of The World's Most Famous Woman. Delta Publications. ISBN 0-385-30688-1.
- Taraborrelli, Randy J. (2002). Madonna: An Intimate Biography. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-8346-2.
- Voller, Debbi (1999). Madonna: The Style Book. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-7511-6.