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Madonna put spotlight on AIDS with 'Live to Tell' performance

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Madonna arrives at the 56th annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Jordan Strauss | Invision | AP

Today's Morning Edition music is from 30 years ago today, when "Live to Tell" by Madonna was No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart. 

It was her third No. 1 hit. The song was written for use in the film "At Close Range," which starred her then-husband Sean Penn. 

In 2006, during her Confessions tour, she sang it while hanging on a giant mirrored cross and wearing a crown of thorns. The number 12 million flashed behind her, an estimate of the number of children orphaned by AIDS in Africa. 

Religious leaders decried the performance as blasphemous.