Released on June 30th, 1986, today marks the 30th anniversary of Madonna’s third studio album, True Blue. At the time, the Material Girl was in love: She’d married Sean Penn the year before, and she said she named the song and the album it appeared on after a favorite expression of Penn’s.
The album cover featured a blonde bombshell photo by Herb Ritts, and it spelled the next era for her image. No longer wearing the lace, rosaries and rubber jewelry that made her a fashion trendsetter, she was now going for old Hollywood glamour. The biggest hit from True Blue may have been the second single released, “Papa Don’t Preach,” but “True Blue,” the third single, received quite a bit of promotion.
MTV called on fans to create videos for the song, and then chose five finalists, playing nothing but “True Blue” video entries repeatedly for the entire day. The winners were Angel Garcia and Cliff Guest, who said they spent under $1,000 to make the video (they received $25,000 prize), and it follows the story of teenagers in love, shot in sepia tone, a style that fits with the 1950s doo-wop vibe of the track.
By the end of the Eighties, Madge would divorce Penn and stop performing it in concert, but she still looked back on it fondly. In 1998, when an interviewer asked her what the words “true blue” reminded her of, she answered, “Romance.”
Watch the original, professional version of “True Blue,” featuring gal pal Debbi Mazar, below: