Take a Bow (Madonna song)
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|"Take a Bow"|
|Single by Madonna|
|from the album Bedtime Stories|
|B-side||"Take a Bow" (InDaSoul Mix)|
|Released||December 6, 1994|
|Format||CD, CD maxi single|
|Label||Maverick, Sire, Warner Bros.|
|Madonna singles chronology|
"Take a Bow" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna from her sixth studio album Bedtime Stories. Released as the second single from Bedtime Stories in December 6, 1994, the song appears on her compilation albums Something to Remember (1995), GHV2 (2001) and Celebration (2009). It was written and produced by Madonna and R&B singer-songwriter Babyface and became her longest-running number-one hit in the United States. It was her first single to reach number-one in the United States after "This Used to Be My Playground" (1992), and it was her last number-one song in the United States in the 1990s.
The music video for "Take a Bow" was directed by Michael Haussman in Ronda and the bullring of Antequera, Spain. The plot sees Madonna as a bullfighter's neglected lover, played by real-life Spanish bullfighter Emilio Muñoz, yearning for his presence. The video won Best Female Video honors at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. Madonna performed "Take a Bow" live with Babyface at the 1995 American Music Awards and at the 1995 San Remo Festival in Italy.
After Rihanna hit number 1 on the Hot 100 in 2008 with her own unrelated song titled Take a Bow, the two songs became one of the rare pairs of songs with the same title to both hit number 1.
Co-written by Babyface (who also provides backing vocals), the Canto-pop styled ballad became Madonna's first US number one in almost three years.
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The song contains oriental pentatonics and strings, giving the impression of Chinese or Japanese nights and their opera. Madonna sings the song in the sleepy languid mood that characterises the songs from Bedtime Stories. The chorus expresses the theme of saying goodbye to a lover who had taken her for granted. The title plays upon the verse in the song "all the world is a stage and everyone has their part," a reference to the line by William Shakespeare in his play As You Like It, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women mere players".
Critical response 
Billboard gave the single a very positive review, calling the song a "plush pop ballad" that's "as close to perfect as top 40 fare gets." Adding that it has a lead vocal that is "both sweet and quietly soulful".
Chart performance 
"Take a Bow" was a huge success for Madonna on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It topped the chart for seven weeks and is her longest-running number-one single on this chart. "Take a Bow" became Madonna's fifth number-one single on the Adult Contemporary chart in the United States, following "Live to Tell", "La Isla Bonita", "Cherish", and "I'll Remember". The song is also notable as Madonna's last single (to date) to make the top 40 of the U.S. R&B chart. The single received the remix treatment from prominent DJ and record producer Steve Hurley. On February 27, 1995, the single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping 500,000 copies.
Although the single was a major hit in the United States, garnering gold accreditation, it became one of only a handful of her releases not to reach the UK top ten and ended a ten-year run of 35 consecutive top ten hits. According to The Official Charts Company, "Take a Bow" has sold 102,739 copies in the United Kingdom, as of August 2008. In Canada the song topped the charts, becoming her 12th number-one single in that country.
Music video 
The music video (directed by Michael Haussman) was a lavish period-style piece filmed from November 3–8, 1994 in Ronda and in the bullring of Antequera, Spain. The plot depticts Madonna as a neglected lover of a bullfighter, played by real-life Spanish bullfighter Emilio Muñoz. Madonna's character yearns for the bullfighter's presence, with erotic anguish. However, others understand the video as a statement on classism, supposing the bullfighter feels threatened and angered by the aristocrat's station, resulting in his physically abusing and then coldly abandoning her. Madonna requested that Haussman give the video a Spanish theme because, at the time, she was lobbying for the role of Eva Perón in the film version of Evita. She subsequently sent a copy of the video to director Alan Parker as a way of "auditioning" for the role. Madonna eventually won the role of Perón.
Madonna's 1995 single "You'll See" is considered a follow up to "Take a Bow", as Madonna and Emilio Muñoz reprise their roles in the music video.
Madonna won Best Female Video honors at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards for the "Take a Bow" music video. It was also nominated for best art direction in a video but lost to Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson's "Scream". The video came in at number 27 on VH1's 50 Sexiest Video Moments.
The video generated some controversy with animal rights activists who accused the singer of glorifying bullfighting. In Australia, music video program Video Hits ran a ticker along the bottom of the screen when the video was playing, stating that the producers of the program did not endorse the glorification of the sport portrayed in the video, while ABC TV video program rage simply refused to play the video at all during their G-rated Top 50 program.
Cover versions and usage in media 
- Serbian pop singer Bebi Dol released Serbian language-cover literally titled "Pokloni se", on her 1995 album Ritam srca.
- Philippine bossa nova singer Sitti recorded a cover of this song for her second album My Bossa Nova.
- Korean rock band Jaurim covered the song on their album The Youth Admiration.
- Trisha Yearwood and Babyface covered the song on CMT's Crossroads, which aired on September 21, 2007.
- Melissa Totten did a Hi-NRG cover for her 2008 dance album Forever Madonna.
- American pop folk singer Matt Alber plays an acoustic cover on his 2011 album Constant Crows.
- "Take a Bow" was featured in the final episode of the first season of Friends, "The One Where Rachel Finds Out", when Rachel goes to the airport to tell Ross that she knows he is in love with her. "Take a Bow" was also used in promos for the final season of Beverly Hills, 90210.
Track listings 
Year-end charts 
Decade-end charts 
Chart procession and succession 
"Creep" by TLC
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
February 25, 1995 – April 8, 1995
"This Is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan
"Love Will Keep Us Alive" by The Eagles
|U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single
February 18, 1995 – April 15, 1995
"In the House of Stone and Light" by Martin Page
"Bang and Blame" by R.E.M.
|Canadian RPM Singles Chart number-one single
March 6, 1995 – March 13, 1995
"Strong Enough" by Sheryl Crow
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- "Madonna's 40 Biggest Billboard Hits". Billboard. Promethus Global Media. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
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- "‘50 Sexiest Video Moments (50-1) (2 Hours)’". VH1. Viacom. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "Madonna — Take a Bow (European Charts)". hitparade.ch. 1994. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- Radio 2 top 30
- "Top Singles – Volume 61, No. 5, March 6, 1995". RPM. 1995-03-06. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
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- "Madonna – Take a Bow" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
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- Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade – The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
- "Madonna-Take A Bow-Single Certification". Recording Industry Association of America.