Madonna 80’s Music Video in New York
In 1986, Madonna released her second single “Papa Don’t Preach” from the album “True Blue”. It became Madonna's fourth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and performed well internationally, reaching the top position in the United Kingdom and Australia. It was well received by music critics and was frequently cited as a highlight in the album.
For the music video, Madonna sported a complete image makeover. She changed the heavy jewellery and make-up, and adopted the gamine look, which is notably applied to describe the style and appearance that Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn used during the 1950s. In the video Madonna played a tomboy, dressed in jeans, a black leather jacket, and a slogan T-shirt with the caption "Italians do it better". The video alternated between tomboy shots and those of a sexier Madonna with a more toned and muscular body, cropped platinum blonde hair, and figure-revealing clothing, consisting of a 1960s-style black bustier top and capri pants.
The video was directed by James Foley, who worked with Madonna in her music video for "Live to Tell", produced by David Naylor and Sharon Oreck, and Michael Ballhaus was in charge of the photography. The video was shot on location over three days in Staten Island, New York and Manhattan. Actor Alex McArthur was signed to play Madonna's boyfriend and the father of her child in the video. Madonna had spotted McArthur in a small role as a naive youth in the 1985 film Desert Hearts, and she thought he was a natural to play her mechanic boyfriend.
The music video starts with shots of the New York skyline, the Staten Island Ferry, and character close-ups. Madonna plays a teenager, who is seen walking along a lane. Then it shows her thinking about her father, played by Danny Aiello, and how much he loves her. She then sees her boyfriend, played by actor Alex McArthur, coming along. The images are juxtaposed with shots of Madonna dancing and singing in a small, darkened studio. Madonna then moves away from her friends, who warn her from her boyfriend. She and her boyfriend spend a romantic evening together on a barge where they reflect upon their lives after watching an elderly couple. Then Madonna finds out that she is pregnant and after much hesitation tells her father. They have a few hours of tension between them. Her father eventually accepts the pregnancy, and the final scene is a reconciliatory embrace between father and daughter.
"Papa Don't Preach" is a dance-pop song with instrumentation from acoustic, electric, and rhythm guitars, keyboards, and string arrangements. It is set in common time, and moves at a moderate tempo of 116 beats per minute. The song is written in the key of F minor. The combination of key and tempo produces a disjuncture between pop and classical rhythms, underlined by the instrumentation during the introduction. The song begins with a distinctly Vivaldian style, as the fast tempo and classical-style chord progression anticipates the lyrics to follow. The opening chords and the melody emphasize the tonic of the leading notes: Fm–E♭–D♭–Cm–D♭–E♭–Fm–D♭–E♭–Fm, resembling a Baroque work. This is followed by the sound of dance music, produced by a powerful beat from the instruments. Madonna's vocal range spans from F3 to C5, and has a different sound from her previous work, more mature, centred, and with a lower range.
The lyrics show Madonna's interest in her Roman Catholic upbringing, as the song theme is about a girl who admits to her father that she is pregnant and refuses to have an abortion or give up the baby for adoption despite what her friends are telling her to do. It is constructed in a verse-chorus form, with a bridge before the third and final chorus. At the beginning, she addresses her father directly, asking him to talk to her as an adult, "You should know by now that I'm not a baby". The transition to the chorus employs a more dramatic voice with a higher range, ending nearly in cries as she sings the word "Please". Leading to the chorus, Madonna switches to a pleading voice, singing the song's main hook in a high tone. During the bridge, the song features a Spanish-inspired rhythm, one of the earliest examples of the influence that Hispanic music had on Madonna's musical style.
otsoNY would like to thank Brian Koppel from “Reel to Real Movie and TV Locations” for allowing the use of his location images.
Blogger Brian Koppel is the talent behind “Reel to Real Movie and TV Locations”, a website dedicated to showcasing locations from film and television shows from the 80's and early 90's, with a special appreciation for horror films.
“The Bodyguard”, “Die Hard”, “Boogie Nights”, “The Breakfast Club”, “The Net”, “A League of Their Own”, “Twins”, “Speed”, and “Scream” are just a few of the titles within the long list of films available to view. Television shows such as “The Brady Bunch”, “Saved By The Bell”, “Perfect Strangers” and “Family Matters” are also available as well as a host of music videos and their film locations.
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