The Madonna Timeline: Song #25 – ‘Love Makes the World Go Round’ – 1986/1987


{Note: The Madonna Timeline is an ongoing feature, where I put the iPod on shuffle, and write a little anecdote on whatever was going on in my life when that Madonna song was released and/or came to prominence in my mind.}


Make love not war we say, it’s easy to recite,
But it don’t mean a damn unless you’re gonna fight;
But not with guns and knives, we’ve got to save the lives,
Of every boy and girl that grows up in this world.


Here’s a little secret that I may or not have shared in the 25 Madonna songs that have been chronicled thus far on this Timeline: my brother is the person who actually brought the ‘True Blue’ album into our home. It was 1986, and I found it in his room. It was a cassette tape – remember them? – and I have no idea why he purchased it, except it was the 80’s, and back then our tastes occasionally overlapped. Obviously I listened to it much more than he ever did, and ‘True Blue’ was the first album I loved, listened to, and learned from start to finish. (Prior to this I was a singles guy, selectively limited to the pop hits of the radio and never taking the time to investigate or buy (or afford) an entire album. My musical library consisted of 45’s if I liked a song enough and could figure out the artist.) This was way before the Internet, way before I had any reliable form of transportation, way before my awakening to the pop world, if you will. My main source of music was taping it off the radio, commercials and tattered intros and exits all intact. And somehow ‘True Blue’ forged its way into my world – crisp, clean, and complete, without the panicked tune-in-tune-out static of a recorded radio broadcast.

There’s hunger everywhere, we’ve got to take a stand,
Reach out for someone’s hand, Love makes the world go round.
It’s easy to forget if you don’t hear the sound
Of pain and prejudice, Love makes the world go round.

It was the 80’s – the big, bad, flashy, trashy, oh-so-modern, angular 80’s. I did my best to fashion my room into the bright neon glow of the new store on ‘The Facts of Life’ (after Mrs. Garrett moved out and Cloris Leachman moved in, with a few guest appearances by George Clooney). Swatch and Benetton ads were taped over the wallpaper, a blinking stop light stood in the corner, and a few gimmicky plastic items (including a neat “rolling wave” piece of moving pop art – no, it literally moved) were rather garishly assembled. I was attracted to anything “modern” and in the 80’s that meant a lot of cheap trash. Novelty stores were where I found much of my inspiration, and the Top Ten at Ten of Fly 92.3 kept me attuned to the warblings of Samantha Fox, the Bangles, and Madonna.

They think that love’s a lie, but we can teach them how to try,
Love means to understand, reach out for someone’s hand.
Cause everything you do comes back in time to you,
We have to change our fate before it gets too late.

The song is, let’s admit it, a trifling of a silly thing, with somewhat banal lyrics, a totally programmed 80’s track, and just a bit of processed Latin flavor left over from ‘La Isla Bonita’. (I think I recall one writer dismissing it as a “feed-the-world fiesta.”) I didn’t care, nor could I tell at the time that it wasn’t a lasting bit of pop music. I was just happy to dance around the bedroom, choreographing elaborate routines and envisioning how my classmates might one day marvel at my dancing ability. I pictured either a talent show, or a benefit, that had me center stage, and a few of my favorite friends would be in supporting dance roles. The boy(s) on whom I had a crush would somehow be a part of it, teased but ultimately embraced with a knowing wink, as if we had a shared secret that the audience would never know, but somehow still thrill to.

Don’t judge a man ‘til you’ve been standing in his shoes,
You know that we’re all so quick to look away,
Cause it’s the easy thing to do,
You know that what I say is true.

In reality, I would be too scared to ever dance on stage. The boy I crushed on would find me mean and intolerable, completely missing the “girl-teases-boy-she-likes-most” game, probably because I wasn’t a girl. And all the while Madonna kept on singing, imploring us to, “Make love, not war,” and reiterating that “Love makes the world go round.” The twenty-something soul I felt I had as an eleven-year-old boy wanted to believe this – did, in fact, believe it – and held onto the hope as the march into adolescence commenced.

Song #25: ‘Love Makes the World Go Round’– 1986/1987
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