Take a Bow (Madonna song)
|"Take a Bow"|
|Single by Madonna|
|from the album Bedtime Stories|
|B-side||"Take a Bow" (InDaSoul Mix)|
|Released||October 28, 1994|
|Madonna singles chronology|
"Take a Bow" is a song by American singer Madonna from her sixth studio album Bedtime Stories (1994). The song was released as the album's second single on October 28, 1994 by Maverick Records. It is a midtempo pop ballad written and produced by Madonna and R&B singer-songwriter Babyface. The song also appears on her compilation albums Something to Remember (1995), GHV2 (2001) and Celebration (2009).
"Take a Bow" received favorable reviews from music critics, who praised the song's soulful, poetic lyrics. The song was a big success in the United States, becoming her eleventh number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, topping the chart for seven weeks. It was her first single to reach number-one since "This Used to Be My Playground" in 1992, and would be her last number-one song in the United States in the 1990s. Elsewhere in the world, the single also had success, reaching number-one in Canada, and the top-ten in Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand. In the United Kingdom, it had moderate success, reaching number sixteen on the UK Singles Chart - her first single to miss the top ten there since "Lucky Star" peaked at number fourteen nine years earlier.
The music video for "Take a Bow", directed by Michael Haussman, was filmed in Ronda and the bullring of Antequera, Spain. The plot depicts Madonna as a bullfighter's (played by real-life Spanish bullfighter Emilio Muñoz) neglected lover, yearning for his unrequited love. The video won Best Female Video at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. In order to promote Bedtime Stories, Madonna performed "Take a Bow" live with Babyface at the 1995 American Music Awards and at the 1995 San Remo Festival in Italy.
- 1 Background
- 2 Composition
- 3 Critical reception
- 4 Chart performance
- 5 Music video
- 6 Live performances
- 7 Cover versions and usage in media
- 8 Track listings
- 9 Charts
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Following the release Madonna's first book publication, Sex, the erotic thriller, Body of Evidence, and the album, Erotica, in the early 1990s, the media and public's backlash against Madonna’s overtly sexual image was at a peak. Released in early March, 1994, her first musical release after Erotica was the tender ballad "I'll Remember" from the soundtrack of the film With Honors. When Madonna appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman on March 31, 1994 to promote the single, her coarse language and behavior—which was provocative, seemingly random at times, full of double entendres (at one point asking Letterman to sniff her panties), profanities, and ended with a refusal to leave the set—caused yet another large public controversy. Following this, Madonna decided to tone down her image and move her career into a new direction. Musically, she explored new-jack R&B styles with a generally mainstream, radio-friendly sound. This new R&B sound was reflected in Bedtime Stories, released in October, 1994. For "Take a Bow", the second single released off of the album, Madonna wanted a more "romantic vein" so she worked with Babyface on the track because he had proved himself to be very successful in his previous works with smooth R&B, working with other artists such as Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, and Toni Braxton. Although not listed in the credits as a performer, Babyface sings background vocals on the track.
The maxi-single release of "Take a Bow" includes two remixes of the song. According to Jose F. Promis of Allmusic, the first remix, known as the "In Da Soul" mix, gives the ballad a funkier, more urban feel while the second remix, known as the "Silky Soul Mix", is a little more "quiet storm" and "melancholy" than the first.
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.
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
"Take a Bow" is a midtempo pop ballad with a "Sukiyaki"-like Japanese touch. It was written and produced by Madonna and Babyface. According to Musicnotes.com, the song has a moderate calypso feel and 80 beats per minute. Madonna vocal range on the track is Eb3 to C5. 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". In his book Madonna: An Intimate Biography, J. Randy Taraborrelli describes the song as a "somber, sarcastic, all-the-world's-a-stage song about unrequited love... [about a subject] whose phoniness might have fooled everyone else, but not her." He goes on to say that in the song Madonna tells the subject of her unrequited love to take a bow for "rendering a great, transparent performance in life and love."
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". James Hunter from Vibe called the song "a New Soul masterpiece". Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic stated that "Take a Bow" is "tremendous", listing it as one of the best songs off of Bedtime Stories and stating that it (along with album tracks "Secret", "Inside of Me", "Sanctuary", and "Bedtime Story") slowly "works its melodies into the subconscious as the bass pulses." He goes on to say that it "offer[s] an antidote to Erotica, which was filled with deep but cold grooves." Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine referred to the ballad as "syrupy" and "bittersweet".
In his 2011 review of Bedtime Stories, Brett Callwood of the Detroit Metro Times called the song "spectacular", while Alex Needham of NME feels that it is a "gorgeously constructed song by any standards". Enio Chiola of PopMatters listed the song in his list of "Top 15 Madonna Singles of All Time", noting that the track was "accented perfectly by the fantastic video". In 2013 Billboard allocated "Take a Bow" the number four spot on its list of "Madonna's Biggest Billboard Hits", declaring it Madonna's second-most successful single of the 1990s decade after Vogue. NPR Multimedia senior producer Keith Jenkins gave a positive review of the song, stating that it "washes over you and gets your blood boiling. You may not walk on water after hearing it, but you may want to get your focus back by walking on broken glass." Peter Galvin of The Advocate wrote that through the lyrics 'One lonely star and you don't know who you are' you begin to "realize that she is talking about herself-and the effect is truly heartbreaking." He goes on to say that "the song...movingly shows that ultimately Madonna is neither Madonna nor whore-rather she's just like you and me." J.D. Considine of The Baltimore Sun stated that the song, about "innocent romance" has a "gently cascading melody".
"Take a Bow" was a huge success on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It topped the chart for seven weeks and is her longest-running number-one single on this chart. It was her 11th single to top the Billboard Hot 100 and her 23rd top five entry-both records for a female artist. She also replaced Carole King as the female who had written the most number one songs. "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. According to Billboard Magazine, it was one of the best selling singles of 1995, selling 500,000 copies that year.
Although the single was a huge hit in the United States, it performed moderately in the United Kingdom and peaked at number 16. "Take a Bow" ended Madonna's record string of 35 consecutive top-ten single on the UK Singles Chart from "Like a Virgin" (1984) to "Secret" (1994). According to The Official Charts Company, the single 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. In Australia, "Take a Bow" debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number 21 on December 25, 1994, eventually peaking at number 15. It was present on the chart for a total of 17 weeks. The song peaked at number two on the Italian Singles Chart and at number eight on the Swiss Singles Chart. In New Zealand, the single peaked at number nine on the New Zealand Singles Chart, spending a total of 13 weeks on the chart.
Background and synopsis
The music video for "Take a Bow" was directed by Michael Haussman, and is a lavish period-style piece filmed from November 3–8, 1994 in Ronda and in the bullring of Antequera, Spain. It was outfitted by famed stylist Lori Goldstein who received the VH1 Fashion and Media award for best styling. The plot, set in the 1940s, depicts 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 heartbreak. A total of three different bulls were used during the production of the music video. In the video Madonna wears fitted, classic suits by British fashion designer John Galliano. In an interview with MTV's Kurt Loder on the set of the music video, Madonna said that when she was initially writing "Take a Bow" the inspiration for the song was an actor, but she wanted the male character in the video to be to be a matador instead because she wanted the video to be about an "obsessive, tragic love story that doesn't work out in the end" and a matador would be more visually effective in expressing the emotion of the song. The style of the music video has been compared to Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's 1986 film Matador, starring Antonio Banderas. The music video for Madonna's 1995 single "You'll See" is considered a follow up to the "Take a Bow" music video, as Madonna and Emilio Muñoz reprise their roles. In that video Madonna's character walks out on Munoz's (bullfighter) character, leaving him behind in despair. Madonna's character is then seen on the train and later on a plane, while Munoz's character tries to catch up with her in vain.
The video can be viewed 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. The images of the music video show Madonna, the matador [Munoz], and the townspeople preparing for, then attending, a bullfight. A secondary staging in the video presents Madonna standing or sitting near a television set in a room (lit by a single light source from above), while a third staging depicts Madonna writhing around on a bed in her underwear as she watching Munoz on the television. 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.
Reception and accolades
The video generated 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. 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 also came in at number 27 on VH1's 50 Sexiest Video Moments. In 2012, the television program Extra included "Take a Bow" on their list of "The 10 Sexiest Madonna Music Videos."
Like some of Madonna's previous music videos, such as "La Isla Bonita" and "Like a Prayer", religious imagery plays a big role in the music video. In the book Madonna's Drowned Worlds the use of Catholic imagery in the video is discussed, but the author points out that unlike Madonna's previous music videos, much of the religious imagery is associated with the matador, not Madonna, due to the fact that religious images are a strong part of the bullfighting ritual. It has also been argued that in the video Madonna "subverts the gender structure and masculine subjectivity implicit in traditional bullfighting." This is achieved through the "feminization of the matador and the emphasis on Madonna's character" and also through Madonna's "dominant gaze" as she watches the matador perform."
In Madonna as Postmodern Myth, author Georges-Claude Guilbert described the video as "a sexy video which defied feminists of the Marilyn Frye and Adrienne Rich variety, who see in the video a disgusting example of passé female submissiveness." Madonna responded to this criticism by stating "I don't believe that any organization should dictate to me what I can and cannot do artistically." When discussing "Take a Bow", NPR Multimedia senior producer Keith Jenkins said the music video, with its "rich, sensually framed sepia tones", doesn't leave much to the imagination but rather, it becomes your imagination, with Madonna's vision "drill[ed] into your brain, unlocking your waking eye."
The "Take a Bow" video was a source of inspiration for Justin Timberlake's 2006 "SexyBack" video. According to Timberlake, he decided to work with director Michael Haussman on his "SexyBack" video because Take a Bow is one of his favorite Madonna videos. He went on to say "Even today, I still remember the visuals, the images, how he captured her. A lot of times, Madonna seems like she's the person in control, and in that video, she seemed vulnerable. It was a cool thing to see." According to director Dave Meyers, the music video for Britney Spears' 2009 single "Radar" is a "tribute" to Madonna's "Take a Bow" video. When speaking of Spears and the "Radar" video, Meyers explained, "[we were] looking for a way to take her into a contemporary, classy environment. I felt empowered by referencing Madonna's [Take a Bow] video. Britney hasn't done anything like that."
On February 18, 1995, Madonna arrived in Europe to promote Bedtime Stories. During the same day, she performed "Secret" and "Take a Bow" on German TV show Wetten, dass..?, while she was also interviewed on the program. Madonna went back to United States and performed "Take a Bow" on the American Music Awards of 1995, accompanied by Babyface and a full orchestra. Babyface said the performance was terrifying for him: "I was nervous as hell. But you couldn't actually see my legs shaking under the suit. When we finished, she told me she had never been that nervous before. That was crazy to me -- I was thinking, 'You're Madonna, you're on stage all the time!'" She returned to Europe and sang the song Sanremo Music Festival. At the end of the performance, she thanked the audience in Italian language, and received standing ovation. Madonna did rehearse the song for 2004's Re-Invention World Tour, but it was ultimately cut from the setlist and not included in the show. Madonna had never performed "Take a Bow" on any of her concert tours until February 4, 2016, when she performed the song in a concert in Taipei, Taiwan, during the Rebel Heart Tour.
Cover versions and usage in media
Hong Kong pop singer Sandy Lam recorded a version of the song for her 1997 English language covers album "Wonderful World (美妙世界)". 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 used in promos for the final season of Beverly Hills, 90210.
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
- "Madonna, Bedtime Stories". emusic.com. 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- "Top 10 Disastrous Letterman Interviews: Don’t F___ with Madonna". Time Entertainment. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- "Album Review: 'Bedtime Stories' (1994)". Entertainment Weekly. 1994-10-28. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2. Scarecrow Press. 2013-10-04. ISBN 9780810882966. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- Madonna: An Intimate Biography. Simon & Schuster. 2001-09-27. ISBN 9780743228800. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- "Madonna: Take a Bow". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- Music Virginesque: Madonna Bedtime Stories Review. The Advocate. 1994-11-15. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- "Madonna Ciccone 'Take a Bow' Sheet Music". Retrieved 2014-01-31.
- Rooksby, Rikky (2004). The Complete Guide to the Music of Madonna. pp. 49–50.
- "The Top 15 Madonna Singles of All Time". PopMatters. 2012-02-08.
- Album Reviews. Billboard. Promethus Global Media. 1994-10-29. p. 74. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
- Single Reviews. Billboard. Promethus Global Media. 1994-12-10. p. 79. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
- Vibe magazine http://books.google.co.id/books?id=lywEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA155#v=onepage&q&f=false. Missing or empty
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Bedtime Stories > Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- "Madonna: GHV2 Album Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- Cinquemani, Sal (2003-03-29). "Madonna: Bedtime Stories". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- "City Slang: "Bedtime Stories" revisited". Detroit Metro Times. 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- "Madonna : GHV2". NME. 2001-11-09. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- "Madonna's 40 Biggest Billboard Hits". Billboard. Promethus Global Media. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
- "Madonna: Songs We Love". npr music. 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- "Madonna's latest lets her talent do most of the talking THE 'SECRET' of SUCCESS". October 25, 1994. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- "Madonna's 40 Biggest Billboard Hits". Billboard. Promethus Global Media. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- Hit Singles: Top 20 Charts from 1954 to the Present Day. Hal Leonard Corporation. 2004. ISBN 9780879308087. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
- "Madonna – Take a Bow". Recording Industry Association of America. 1995-02-27. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
- Best-Selling Records of 1995. Billboard Magazine. 1996-01-20. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
- Roberts, David (2004). British Hit Singles & Albums (17th ed.). Guinness World Records. p. 342. ISBN 0-85112-199-3.
- Jones, Alan (2008-08-19). "The Immaculate Guide To 50 Years Of Madonna". Music Week (UBM plc). Retrieved 2011-06-11.
- "MADONNA - TAKE A BOW Chart Positions". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- Narváez, Diego (1994-11-02). "Madonna, torea en Ronda". El País. Ediciones El País, S.L. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "Madonna Gets Her Way -- As Usual -- In 1994, In The Loder Files". MTV. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- Madonna: An Intimate Biography. Simon and Schuster. 2001-09-27. ISBN 9780743228800. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- "Personalities: Madonna". Vogue. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- Madonna's Drowned Worlds. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 2004. ISBN 9780754633723. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- Madonna's Drowned Worlds. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 2004. ISBN 9780754633723. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- Madonna's Drowned Worlds. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 2004. ISBN 9780754633723. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics and Cultural Context. Columbia University Press. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- "Folha de S.Paulo - MTV mostra Madonna nos bastidores do filme "Evita" - 26/9/1996".
- Madonna as Postmodern Myth. McFarland. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- "50 Sexiest Video Moments (50-1) (2 Hours)". VH1. Viacom. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "The 10 Sexiest Madonna Music Videos". Extra. 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- Madonna's Drowned Worlds. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
- Madonna's Drowned Worlds: New Approaches to Her Cultural Transformations, 1983-2003. Ashgate Publishing. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
- Vineyard, Jennifer (2006-07-06). "'Back' In Style: Justin Timberlake Mixes Funk, Rock On New Single". MTV News. Archived from the original on 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
- Vena, Jocelyn. "Britney Spears Channeled 'Classy' Madonna In 'Radar' Video". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "To Europe, With Love". Icon (Boy Toy, Inc) 2 (5). 1995.
- Lipshutz, Jason (November 20, 2013). "Top 10 American Music Awards Moments: Past AMAs' Video Highlights". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- Madonna Live! Secret Re-inventions and Confessions on Tour. Maklu Publishers. ISBN 9789085950028. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- Brodsky, Rachel (February 4, 2016). "Madonna Performed ‘Take a Bow’ Live For the First Time". Spin. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- Ritam srca at Discogs
- "CMT Crossroads: Season 6". TV.com. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- "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.
- "Top40 week 2 van 1995 (14-01-1995)". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- Charts-Surfer (1995). "German Singles Chart (Search)". charts-surfer.de. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- "Irish Singles Chart (Search)". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- "Madonna – Take a Bow" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
- "Archive Chart: December 18, 1994". Scottish Singles Top 40. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
- Every Hit (1995). "UK Singles Chart (Search)". everyhit.com. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- "Billboard Charts". AllMusic. 1995. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- "Madonna Chart History: Adult Pop Songs". Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Madonna Chart History: Pop Songs". Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Madonna Chart History: Rhythmic Songs". Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "I singoli più venduti del 1994". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "RPM's Top 100 Singles Of 1995". RPM. RPM Music Publications Ltd. 1995-12-18. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
- "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
- "Swiss Year-End Charts 1995". Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- "Billboard Top 100 – 1995". Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- 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.
- "American single certifications – Madonna – Take a Bow". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 10, 2014. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH