The Madonna Timeline: Song #91 – ‘True Blue’ – Summer 1986/1992

{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.}


I’ve had other guys,
I’ve looked into their eyes,
But I never knew love before
Til you walked through my door…

The title track to Madonna‘s third album, ‘True Blue’, this was a sugary-sweet pop confection recalling the girl groups of the 50’s, transformed 80’s-style. It was the perfect soundtrack to the summer – and that summer was certainly dominated by this album (such as the hot garage moment of ‘Live to Tell’). My memories of the original release of ‘True Blue’ were mostly of the ‘Make My Video’ contest that MTV had sponsored. The black and white nostalgic clip was vastly superior to Madonna’s own soundstage produced blue-soaked effort, Debi Mazar be damned. The song had greater relevance later in my life, in the early nineties.

I’ve had other lips
I’ve sailed a thousand ships
But no matter where I go
You’re the one for me, baby, this I know
Cause it’s true love,
You’re the one I’m dreaming of
Your heart fits me like a glove
 And I’m gonna be true blue, baby, I love you.

I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car of the young lady who would become my first serious girlfriend, riding to a music rehearsal. She played the flute, I played the oboe, and we both needed someone who played the piano. At the very end of spring we drove across the winding roads of upstate New York, en route to this piano accompanist who would be my only guide as I played some three-movement Handel piece for NYSSMA (don’t even ask what it stands for as I can’t be bothered to remember).

I’ve heard all the lines
I’ve cried oh so many times
Those teardrops they won’t fall again
I’m so excited cause you’re my best friend.

The sun was stationed in the clear blue sky. The trees were lush with that chartreuse shading signaling the start of the season. The grass was already high. I looked over at her hair blowing in the wind, catching the faint hint of her perfume as the wind whipped it around. I don’t know why – as we had always been only friends – but this song came on and I had a premonition that we would one day be more. That day would come that fall, but for now it was just a song playing in the car, and we were driving along with the windows open and the spring air filling the space, and the end of another school year was in sight, and I saw the world open up and become just a little bit brighter.

So if you should ever doubt,
Wonder what love is all about
Just think back and remember dear,
Those words whispered in your ear…

You never forget your first love. We were both so innocent then, so unscathed and unrocked by life. You can never get that back, and if you’re lucky enough to share that time in your life with someone kind, someone trustworthy, someone decent and honorable and good – it makes a binding pact with the world that things might be all right. That would prove invaluable – lifesaving, in fact – later in our journey. She would go on to be one of my best friends, and we survived our break-up and somehow became better, and closer, for it. Whenever I felt scared or lonely or lost faith in people, I looked to her. Sometimes I would call her, in the middle of the night, in sleepless college darkness, just to feel reassured. Sometimes I would visit her and her family to confirm that there was still kindness and goodness in the world. Sometimes it was enough just to remember our time together.

No more sadness,
I kiss it good-bye,
The sun is bursting right out of the sky,
 I’ve searched the whole world for someone like you… 
Song #91 – ‘True Blue’ – Summer 1986/1992
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