Friday, April 8, 2016

Madonna: Papa Don’t Preach (1986)



In this 1986 music video, Madonna [Madonna Louise Ciccone, b. 1958] gives one of her best performances in what is now a vast musical collection spanning more than three decades. The song, “Papa Don’t Preach,” the first track of her third studio album, True Blue, has elicited both dismay and praise. I am on the side of the latter, naturally, and I remember the effect that the song had upon me after its public release. This has nothing at all to do with my personal views of abortion or of women’s rights or of rights of the unborn. (The song is not political, but personal.) This has everything to do with viewing the song as a symbol or testament of the power of love and forgiveness, as part of the realm of human relationships, including in this case the emotiional bond between parent and child. We are often harsh when it is unnecessary to be and act so; we fail to forgive when given the opportunity; and we often over-analyse and worry about “appearances,” notably for people who have no interest or stake in our lives. (Tongues will wag and people will gossip, anyway, just because they feel they can and know not about mercy or the merits of a contrite heart.) For a take on the making of the music video, directed by James Foley, go here. Note that the father is played by Danny Aiello and that this video was shot in both Manhattan and Staten Island.

Papa Don’t Preach
By Brian Elliot & Madonna

Papa I know you're going to be upset
’Cause I was always your little girl
But you should know by now
I'm not a baby

You always taught me right from wrong
I need your help, daddy please be strong
I may be young at heart
But I know what I’m saying

The one you warned me all about
The one you said I could do without
We’re in an awful mess, and I don't mean maybe—please

Papa don’t preach, I’m in trouble deep
Papa don’t preach, I’ve been losing sleep
But I made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby, oh
I’m gonna keep my baby, mmm...

He says that he’s going to marry me
We can raise a little family
Maybe we’ll be all right
It’s a sacrifice

But my friends keep telling me to give it up
Saying I’m too young, I ought to live it up
What I need right now is some good advice, please

Papa don’t preach, I’m in trouble deep
Papa don’t preach, I’ve been losing sleep
But I made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby, oh
I’m gonna keep my baby, mmm...

Daddy, daddy if you could only see
Just how good he’s been treating me
You’d give us your blessing right now
’Cause we are in love, we are in love, so please

Papa don’t preach, I’m in trouble deep
Papa don’t preach, I’ve been losing sleep
But I made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby, oh
I’m gonna keep my baby, mmm...

Papa don’t preach, I’m in trouble deep
Papa don’t preach, I’ve been losing sleep
(repeat)

Oh, I’m gonna keep my baby, ooh
Don’t you stop loving me daddy
I know, I’m keeping my baby