Get Up Stand Tall
One of the most peculiar song of Madonna‘s entire career is White Heat. Released in 1986 on True Blue as
the third track on the album, White Heat is a tribute
to the 1949 Warner Bros film of the same name starring James Cagney and to gangsters movies in general. White Heat – the movie tells the story of a ruthless
leader of a criminal gang
sentenced to three years in prison and an undercover cop who passes as a cell mate to discover more about a train robbery.
The intro of Madonna’s song uses lines of the original movie dialogue coming from a relevant scene in which the criminal discovers
mate is a cop in disguise. (Another Madonna song that uses a movie dialogue as intro in a similar way – Cement Garden – is What It Feels Like For A Girl)
The spoken dialogue by James Cagney from the film that is used in the song intro goes something like this:
How do ya like that boys, a copper.
And we went for it, I went for it
Treated him like a kid brother
And I was gonna split fifty-fifty
with a copper.
They were there waitin’ to pin a medal on him
“Come on get up, get your hands up!”
Yeah, that’s it, a nice gold medal for the copper
Only maybe he’s gonna get it sooner than he thinks!
White Heat. rumoured to be originally called “Get Up Stand Tall“, has been used in the as B-side for True Blue’s fourth single Open Your Heart and for the Who’s That Girl single. Madonna sings the song live during her successful 1987 Who’s That Girl World Tour dressed up as a gangster with images of
smoky guns projected on screen and reprising in the end the Perry Mason theme.