Mention the name Patrick Leonard to a Madonna fan, and their ears should immediately perk up. After all, it was Leonard who co-wrote and/or co-produced many of Madonna’s classic hit singles like “Live to Tell,” “Open Your Heart,” “Frozen” and “Like a Prayer.”
The latter cut was the lead single and title track from Madonna’s 1989 album, which now celebrates its 25th anniversary. It was released by Sire/Warner Bros. Records on March 21, 1989, and shot to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 shortly thereafter. It spent six weeks atop the chart — her longest run at No. 1 for any album.
To celebrate a quarter century of “Like a Prayer,” Billboard spoke to Leonard — the primary co-writer and co-producer of the set — to discuss the making of the album and his recollections of working with Madonna. (Would you believe “Like a Prayer” was written in one day? And the entire album was written in less than two weeks?)
In our lengthy chat, we discuss everything from where Prince pops up on the album (it might surprise you), to Leonard’s all-time favorite song they did together. Not to mention those rumors that he’s working with Madonna on her next album.
In addition to his partnership with Madonna, Leonard has worked with many other artists, including Jewel, Elton John and Roger Waters. He’s currently working with Leonard Cohen on his upcoming album.
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