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Released: March 21, 1989

Rating: 4.350 (average of 10 ratings)

Genre: dance pop

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Like a Prayer
  2. Express Yourself
  3. Love Song (with Prince)
  4. Till Death Do Us Part
  5. Promise to Try
  6. Cherish
  7. Dear Jessie
  8. Oh Father
  9. Keep It Together
  10. Spanish Eyes
  11. Act of Contrition


sales in U.S. only 4 million
sales in U.K. only - estimated 1.2 million
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 15 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 1 6
peak on U.K. album chart 1 2

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Like a Prayer (3/18/89) #1 US, #1 UK, #20 RB, #3 AC. Platinum single.
  • Express Yourself (6/3/89) #2 US, #5 UK, #12 AC. Gold single.
  • Cherish (8/19/89) #2 US, #3 UK, #1 AC
  • Oh Father (11/11/89) #20 US, #16 UK
  • Dear Jessie (12/16/89) #5 UK
  • Keep It Together (2/3/90) #7a US, #66 RB, #32 AC. Gold single.


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. One of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time One of Time Magazine’s All-TIME 100 Albums. One of VH1’s 100 Greatest Rock & Roll Albums of All Time.

Like a Prayer
“This is the moment Madonna peaked as a pop star and mass media manipulator. First, the manipulation. In the title’s track’s video, Madonna kisses a saint, shows off some self-induced stigmata and dances in a field of burning crosses. Caving in to protests from religious groups, Pepsi pulled out of a Madonna sponsorship deal (she held on to a $5 million payday) and the whole episode generated enough publicity to ensure the album’s debut at No. 1. Brilliant” (Tyrangiel/ Light).

“As it happens, so was the record” (Tyrangiel/ Light). “Out of all of Madonna’s albums, Like a Prayer is her most explicit attempt at a major artistic statement. Even though it is apparent that she is trying to make a ‘serious’ album, the kaleidoscopic variety of pop styles on Like a Prayer is quite dazzling” (Erlewine).

“Madonna displays a commanding sense of songcraft, making this her best and most consistent album” (Erlewine). “Like a Prayer was a genuinely soulful first single” (Tyrangiel/ Light) and “Express Yourself merged Madonna’s dance sensibility with her strongest feminist message” (Tyrangiel/ Light).

Alongside the “deep funk of ‘Express Yourself’ and Keep It Together” (Erlewine) and “the haunting Oh Father” were a “few middling tracks” (Tyrangiel/ Light) “rescued…with production” (Tyrangiel/ Light) from “Stephen Bray, Patrick Leonard and Prince (yes, that Prince)…that elevated Madonna’s voice out of its early bubble gum phase and into something resembling a real instrument” (Tyrangiel/ Light).

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Links:

Previous Album: True Blue (1986) Madonna’s DMDB page Next Album: I’m Breathless (ST: 1990)

Last updated March 26, 2008.