1986: Open Your Heart by Madonna

Composed by Madonna, Gardner Cole, Peter Rafelson. Recorded by Madonna for her third studio album, True Blue. Open Your Heart was originally a Rock and Roll song with the title Follow Your Heart. The composers had in mind American singer Cyndi Lauper to perform the song but they never presented it to her. Co-composer Gardner Cole said he got the idea for the original title of the song from a local health food restaurant called Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park, California, USA. He was in love with a waitress named Lisa and she became the original inspiration for the lyrics. At the time, co-composer Gardner Cole’s manager (Bennett Freed) was working with Madonna’s management team looking for songs for her to record for her True Blue album. Three of Gardner Cole’s songs were chosen for reviewing, including Follow Your Heart. After listening to the song, Madonna’s manager (Freddy DeMann) asked Gardner Cole to present a female demo version. Madonna’s female backup singer, Donna De Lory, was at the time dating Gardner Cole and so he asked her to sing the demo. Although the song did not fit exactly with the genre of songs that Madonna was singing at that time, she decided to accept it. She then re-wrote and produced the song and retitled it Open Your Heart. According to Billboard music magazine “Open Your Heart is brimming with sexual innuendo. In the song, Madonna yearns for a man to open her lock with his key. And yes, that means exactly what you think it does.”

The music video was filmed at Echo Park in Los Angeles, California, USA. Madonna portrays an exotic dancer who befriends a young boy, played by then child actor Felix Howard. Although the video is presented in the style of a cinematic peep show with Madonna portrayed as a stripper, there is no representation of anything besides friendship with the boy. The video was originally to be directed by Madonna’s then-husband Sean Penn. However, it was decided to give the job to French fashion designer and music video director Jean-Baptiste Mondino. The video was nominated for three MTV Music Video Awards. Ironically in one category, Best Female Video, it lost out to Papa Don’t Preach, also by Madonna.

As well as being a talented music artist, Madonna is also a philanthropist through her Ray of Light charity. Find out more here: http://www.rayoflight.org.

Weekly Chart History (1986 – 1987)Peak Position
Australia16
Austria18
Belgium6
Canada8
France24
Germany (West)17
Iceland4
Ireland2
Netherlands Dutch Top 40 Chart7
Netherlands Top 100 Singles Chart6
New Zealand12
Poland9
Switzerland11
United Kingdom4
USA Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart12
USA Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart1
USA Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart1