"Live to Tell" is a pop ballad by American singer-songwriter Madonna. Originally written by Patrick Leonard for the soundtrack of the film Fire with Fire, the song was shown to Madonna, who decided to use it for then-husband Sean Penn's film At Close Range. It was produced by Leonard and Madonna for her third studio album True Blue, released in mid-1986.
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.
Released as the album's first single in March 1986, the song was a commercial success. It became Madonna's third number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and her first number-one on the Adult Contemporary chart. It was generally well received by music critics, who frequently referred to it as the best ballad of her career. 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.
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