The song is the signature song of nightclub singer Breathless Mahoney (portrayed by Madonna), and primarily performed during a montage just after Dick Tracy has placed a microphone in Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice's boardroom and operator, "Bug" Bailey, in the attic immediately above it while using a police raid of the building as a diversion. With this information source, Tracy begins a wave of arrests much to Big Boy's consternation. However, for all Tracy's success, his girlfriend, Tess Trueheart, has had enough of his apparent valuing his career over their relationship and packs to leave.
In addition to performing the song live at the 1991 Academy Awards, Madonna also performed this song in a lounge setting on her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour. Her performance at the Academy Awards was named by Billboard as the seventh "most awesome Oscar performance."