Featuring a simple, elegantly arranged melody, the single sold roughly 1.5 million copies worldwide, and entered the top twenty in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. The music video shows her while being eight months pregnant with her first child, and scenes from the film Evita, for which she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
The track is the only song recorded for the movie that did not originate in one form or another from the original stage version of the musical. The song reunited lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber after eleven years of not working together on any new songs. It was written specifically for the film (the director Alan Parker requested a rewrite of parts of the final scenes of the score) and was included in the stage production for the first time when the musical was staged in Iceland in 1997 and subsequently in many other productions, including the English language revival, starring Elena Roger, in June 2006 at London's Adelphi Theatre.
The song speaks on two levels: First, the literal level of Eva Perón's discovery that her husband Juan Perón has actually loved her all along and not merely seen her as a political prop. Second, in a more political level, as Eva Perón talking to her people, notably represented in the musical by the character of Che. The B-side to the single was "Rainbow High".
The song won the 1996 Academy Award for Best Original Song. Madonna also performed the song at the awards. The song also won a Golden Globe Award as Best Original Song. Kathleen Guerdo from Billboard said that "[Madonna] delivers what is by far one of the strongest vocal performances of her career, comfortably scaling to the song's demanding soprano heights while infusing it with delicate, heart-rending emotion. This bodes well for the creative potency of the rest of the soundtrack, which is due Nov. 14. Prepare for wall-to-wall airplay of this flawless ballad on pop and AC radio."
The song returned Madonna to the UK top 10, at number 10 (selling 90,428 copies), and it was the beginning of an eight-year run of consecutive UK top 10 hits until the end of 2003 when "Love Profusion" stalled at number 11. It also became a hit in US, reaching number 18, and was certified gold by the RIAA on on 22 October 1998. It was released and was immediately embraced by US radio.
In Germany, it was her worst peaking song, only reaching #78.
Madonna sits before a piano in the music video for "You Must Love Me". In the background a cello player can be seen.
Madonna filmed the music video for "You Must Love Me" on 31 August 1996 at Culver Studios in Culver City, California while she was eight months pregnant with her daughter Lourdes. The video was directed by Alan Parker, also the director of Evita. The video includes footage from the film Evita, and shows Madonna singing the song in a small room. She stands behind an acoustic piano to hide her pregnancy, and her pianist and cellist are also in the video. The video was included as a bonus feature on Evita: 15th Anniversary EditionBlu-ray released on 19 June 2012.
Madonna performed the song on a world tour for the first time in 2008 on the Sticky and Sweet Tour, marking one of the only acoustic, down-tempo moment in the entire show, which was dance intensive (the other down-tempo song of the tour being "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You").