Here’s another entry for our One Song articles by fellow Madonna fans. This one comes from Brian McCurdy. Send yours at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank You!
“I have loved the song ‘Live to Tell‘ for 20 years now.
It’s agonizing to pick a favorite Madonna song but
this one just edges out the others (and that’s saying
something because ‘Like a Prayer‘ is a very close
second). I have never been as moved by a song as ‘Live
to Tell‘. I think this was the first song in which
Madonna was trying to transcend pop and move toward
something timeless. This song does not have a
traditional pop structure and that it could hit number
one is an example of how Madonna is underrated as a
lyricist. It’s stunning how she and Pat Leonard wrote
this song on the spur of the moment.
The best aspect of the song for me is Madonna’s voice.
She recorded this song in one take, long before she
was an accomplished vocalist, and her voice is simply
gorgeous and haunting. When she performed it on the
Confessions Tour, it drove chills down my spine.
Forget the cross controversy; I was too focused on her
beautiful voice to notice anything else.
‘Live to Tell‘ was the first time Madonna really let
down her guard and let us see inside her heart. She
reveals her heart but still keeps part of it for
herself. To my knowledge, Madonna has never publicly
discussed the meaning of this song, only once calling
it the best of the songs she’s written, since it
expresses so much of her pain. After seeing every
aspect of this woman’s life dissected for over 20
years, ‘Live to Tell‘ is a reminder that as public as
Madonna is, she has yet to give up all her secrets.”