What does Live to Tell mean?

Madonna: Live to Tell Meaning

Album cover for Live to Tell album cover

Song Released: 1986

Live to Tell Lyrics

I have a tale to tell
Sometimes it gets so hard to hide it well
I was not ready for the fall
Too blind to see the writing on the wall


A man can tell a thousand lies
I've learned my lesson well
Hope I live to tell
The secret I...

  1. anonymous
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    Jan 10th 2022 !⃝

    Oh its, not just a "song" its more than that, and many of her other songs, lets say she sings about her self, and the trouble she got in, and believe me, she is in trouble, i won't tell what trouble it is, and many won't believe me, i will keep this a secret like she does, becouse i know now, what its all about, and its more seriuos, than just songs, lets say she can get killed for this. This will sound strange to you, who is reading this, but please pray for her. She need Gods help.

  2. anonymous
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    Aug 6th 2021 !⃝

    This song is about surviving narcissistic abuse whether from a parent or former lover.Similar to another Madonna single "Take a Bow", this song is about finding out the harsh truth about someone who deceived and manipulated you.

  3. anonymous
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    Aug 31st 2019 !⃝

    It's about child abuse.

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 11th 2019 !⃝

    I think its about a deal she made with the devil for fame,beauty,and long life.she already had fame and beauty, she just wasnt sure if she was gonna live long. She looks amazing for her age. Probably wont be giving up her secret too soon!

  5. anonymous
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    May 11th 2018 !⃝

    From seeing the movie,I thought it was about a family of killers. Sean
    Penn was trying to break free. Christopher Walken was the father.

  6. anonymous
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    Jan 1st 2018 !⃝

    Someone is being held against their will,they know a secret and they hope they live long enough to tell it.They can't run away although they want to.This secret they want to tell it worries them,they worry that the secret may never be told.
    How will they hear
    When will they learn
    How will they know

  7. anonymous
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    Sep 17th 2017 !⃝

    It may have the interpretation you want because the meaning is not onde. No doubt is about telling the truth to set you free!

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 22nd 2017 !⃝

    I think it's about the beauty she saw in her mother as a child.

  9. anonymous
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    Nov 3rd 2016 !⃝

    I thought this song was maybe about childhood sexual abuse.

  10. anonymous
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    Aug 24th 2014 !⃝

    It's about HIV/AIDS. "If I live to tell the secret I have learned" It sounds like someone who found out they have the virus and has decided to keep it a secret until their eventual death. At the time it was released, there was such prejudice towards the HIV afflicted and would shame them into silence. Also, it was pretty much a death sentence at the time when diagnosed, there weren't the treatments that exist now.
    Madonna noticeably became an activist and raised awareness about the disease at a time when she lost good friends to it. I believe this song is her tribute to them.

  11. anonymous
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    Jun 11th 2014 !⃝

    It's about the long-term effects of domestic violence on a survivor and a woman living to tell her story.

  12. anonymous
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    Jan 19th 2013 !⃝

    I thought it was about a teenage pregnecy and sold the baby.

  13. anonymous
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    Apr 16th 2011 !⃝

    The song is about the struggle of dealing with a child-abuse memory. It has a powerful message with a strong vocal hook.
    It was a U.S. number one single in May 1986, one of Madonna's finest songs ever.

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