On this day, twenty seven years ago, the world of pop music embraced Madonna‘s fourth studio album. Like a Prayer was released on March 21, 1989, marking the legendary diva’s longest run at No. 1 for any album. Co-written and co-produced by Patrick Leonard, Like a Prayer was Madonna’s biggest commercial success back in the day. Not only did it top Billboard’s album chart for six long weeks, Madonna received critical acclaim for her music. Featuring some of her best songs, the album was the turning point in Madonna’s career, with many publications naming her ‘Artist of the Decade‘. Here’s why Like a Prayer remains one of her biggest achievements till date:
1. The album was inspired from Madonna’s Catholic upbringing.
The album was close to the singer’s heart, as it was inspired by her own life, drawing from her childhood and adolescence. The singer’s Catholic upbringing is reflected in the title track ‘Like A Prayer‘, while the album itself was dedicated to Madonna’s late mother, who passed away when she was very young. The track ‘Oh Father‘ described the singer’s relationship with her father, and ‘Keep It Together‘ was about the importance of family.
2. Known for its singles, the album launched five top 20 hit songs.
The album launched many hit singles. ‘Like A Prayer‘ went on to become Madonna’s seventh No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100, followed by ‘Express Yourself‘ and ‘Cherish‘, both at No. 2. ‘Keep It Together‘ was a top 10 hit and ‘Oh Father‘ made it to the top 20 list.
3. ‘Cherish’ and ‘Like A Prayer’ were written in a day.
The album biggest hits came together in a single day! Co-producer Patrick Leonard had revealed that Madonna had written the lyrics in just one hour! What’s more? The album itself was put together in simply two weeks.
4. Prince is in the album.
The album featured not just one, but two legendary icons. Popular singer and songwriter, Prince, collaborated with Madonna for ‘Love Song‘. His guitar work can even be heard in ‘Like A Prayer‘, right before the door slams at the start.
5. The video of ‘Like A Prayer’ raised much controversy.
The video of the title track raised much commotion among religious and fundamentalist groups. There were protests against the video for its blatant use of Christian imagery, which was considered blasphemous. Even Pepsi-Cola, who featured the song in a television commercial, was put under pressure to take the song off the air.
6. ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ was about Madonna and Sean Penn’s failed marriage.
The album was recorded at a time of emotional turmoil for Madonna as her marriage to actor Sean Penn was coming to an end. The song ‘Till Death Do Us Part‘, which was originally titled ‘State Of Matrimony‘, talks about the singer’s ill-fated marriage.
Listen to the album here: