Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach
But my friends keep telling me to give it up
Saying I'm too young, I ought to live it up
What I need right now is some good advice, please
Papa don't preach, I'm in trouble deep
She was definitely the queen of the 80s, absolutely. And surely Madonna was and still is the queen of provocations in music. On June 11, 1986, the release of her new single drew a very important line in Madonna’s career, and if we want in all the music of the 80s.
In fact, after her youth albums, after the dance periods of “Holiday”, “Burning up“, and after the glamour period of “Like a virgin” and “Material girl”, Madonna presented her new album, “True Blue”, with a very romantic but deeply introspective ballad, “Live to tell“. Three months later she returned to the stage with a fantastic hit, created to make the world debate. “Papa don’t preach” addresses the issue of abortion, through the story of a young girl grown up with her father, who needs to tell him that she is having a baby with her boyfriend.
And despite the advice of her friends and the reproaches of her father, she manages to have the lucidity and maturity to make a decision and take responsibility for it: she’s going to keep her baby. And she manages to process her own situation: I need good advice, not preaching.
The song aroused the enthusiasm of anti-abortionists and of course the protests of abortionists and also of many other groups. Actually, Madonna, although still very young, was very good at holding an almost neutral position, stating that she was absolutely aware that the song would in one way or another displease everyone, and that anyway the song did not reflect her political or social conviction, and she just wanted to tell the drama and anxieties of a girl in love who finds herself pregnant too soon. In fact, Madonna slapped an America that was still too divided and probably immature and too conservative on such sensitive issues.
However, as we said, the controversy mounted, and even Pope John Paul II encouraged fans to boycott the Italian dates of the “Who’s that girl” tour. Madonna, in response, dedicated the song to him.
The video is an absolute masterpiece. First, it shows us a new Madonna, indeed two, with the opposite looks of the sophisticated singer and of the girl living the story. But the latter image is something disruptive: blond short hair, tonic body, looking like a Audrey Hepburn or perhaps the first Shirley MacLaine. “italians do it better” on her t-shirt, and the twin towers on the background. In short: irresistible. The father is played by a Danny Aiello still not famous, and we can see his anxiety to lose the little girl who also gives him a support in the house, the moment she chooses to start this new life and a new family.
The last frames are very deep: the father eventually accepts the girl’s decision and hugs her, which is not clear by the lyrics of the song, but is only seen in the video.
“Papa don’t preach” has certainly remained in the memories of the dinosaurs of the 80s as one of Madonna’s most famous and beloved songs. A beautiful song which definitely marked a new step in Madonna’s career.
Madonna on Wikipedia