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Papa Don't Preach. Song Info

"Papa Don't Preach" is a dance-pop song by American singer-songwriter Madonna. The song was written by Brian Elliot with additional lyrics by Madonna, and produced by Stephen Bray and Madonna for her third studio album True Blue, released in June 1986. The song also appears remixed on the 1990 compilation album The Immaculate Collection and in its original form on the 2009 compilation album Celebration. The song's musical style combines pop and classical rhythms, and its lyrics deal with teenage pregnancy and abortion. The music video, directed by James Foley, shows Madonna's second image makeover, featuring her with a more toned and muscular body, and cropped platinum blonde hair.

Released as the album's second single in mid-1986, the song was a commercial success. It became Madonna's fourth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and performed well internationally, reaching the top position in Australia and the United Kingdom. It was generally well-received by music critics and was frequently cited as a highlight in the album.

Shortly after its release, the song caused heated discussions about its lyrical content. Women's organizations and others in the family planning field criticized Madonna for encouraging teenage pregnancy, while groups opposed to abortion saw it as a positive pro-life message. The song also caused her first conflict with the Vatican, as she dedicated the song to Pope John Paul II, who urged Italian fans to boycott her concerts during the Who's That Girl World Tour in 1987.

During the autumn of 1985, Madonna started writing and recording songs for her third studio album, True Blue. She brought back Steve Bray and hired a new songwriter collaborator, Patrick Leonard, to help her co-write eight of the album's nine tracks. The album's first track "Papa Don't Preach", was written by Brian Elliot, who described it as "a love song, maybe framed a little bit differently". The song is based on teen gossip he heard outside his studio, which has a large front window that doubles as a mirror where schoolgirls from the North Hollywood High School in Los Angeles regularly stopped to fix their hair and chat. The song was sent to Madonna by Michael Ostin, the same Warner Bros. executive that discovered "Like a Virgin". Madonna only contributed with some minor lyrical revisions, making "Papa Don't Preach" the only song in the album that she did not have a strong hand in writing.

"Papa Don't Preach" is a dance-pop song with instrumentation from acoustic, electric, and rhythm guitars, keyboards, and string arrangements. It is set in common time, and moves at a moderate tempo of 116 beats per minute. The song is written in the key of F minor, an unusual choice for a pop song, but commonly used in classical music, like Beethoven's Appassionata sonata. The combination of key and tempo produces a disjuncture between pop and classical rhythms, underlined by the instrumentation during the introduction.

The song begins with a distinctly Vivaldian style, as the fast tempo and classical-style chord progression anticipates the lyrics to follow. The opening chords and the melody emphasize the tonic of the leading notes: Fm---E♭---D♭---Cm---D♭-E♭-Fm---D♭-E♭-Fm, resembling a Baroque work. This is followed by the sound of dance music, produced by a powerful beat from the instruments. Madonna's vocal range spans from F3 to C5, and has a different sound from her previous work, more mature, centered, and with a lower range.

The lyrics shows Madonna's interest in her Roman Catholic upbringing, as the song theme is about a teenage girl who admits to her father that she is pregnant and refuses to have an abortion or give up the baby for adoption despite what her friends are telling her to do.

It is constructed in a verse-chorus form, with a bridge before the third and final chorus. At the beginning, she addresses her father directly, asking him to talk to her as an adult, "You should know by now that I'm not a baby". The transition to the chorus employs a more dramatic voice with a higher range, ending nearly in cries as she sings the word "Please". Leading to the chorus, Madonna switches to a pleading voice, singing the song's main hook in a high tone. During the bridge, the song features a Spanish-inspired rhythm, one of the earliest examples of the influence that Hispanic music had on Madonna's musical style. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.