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Take a Bow (Madonna song)

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"Take a Bow"
Single by Madonna
from the album Bedtime Stories
Released October 28, 1994
Format
Recorded 1994; The Hit Factory, New York
Genre
Length 5:21
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Madonna
  • Babyface
Madonna singles chronology
"Secret"
(1994)
"Take a Bow"
(1994)
"Bedtime Story"
(1995)
Music video
"Take a Bow" on YouTube

"Take a Bow" is a song by American singer Madonna from her sixth studio album Bedtime Stories (1994). It 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 Babyface. The song also appears on her compilation albums Something to Remember (1995), GHV2 (2001) and Celebration (2009). Following the sexually explicit persona portrayed by Madonna on her previous album, Erotica, the singer wanted to tone down her image for Bedtime Stories. She started collaborating with Babyface, whose work with other music artists had impressed her. "Take a Bow" was developed from this collaboration, after Madonna listened to the beat and the chords of the demo structure of the song.

Recorded at The Hit Factory Studios in New York, "Take a Bow" was backed by a full orchestra. It was also the first time that Babyface had worked with live strings, per Madonna's suggestion. Containing oriental pentatonic strings, giving the impression of Chinese or Japanese opera, "Take a Bow" lyrically talks about unrequited love, and Madonna saying goodbye. It received favorable reviews from music critics, who praised the song's soulful, poetic lyrics. It was a commercial success in the United States, becoming Madonna's eleventh number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, topping the chart for seven weeks. It also reached number one in Canada, and the top ten in Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand. The single had moderate success in the United Kingdom, reaching number 16 on the UK Singles Chart, ending Madonna's record-holding string of 35 consecutive top-ten hits there.

The music video for "Take a Bow" was directed by Michael Haussman, and was filmed in Ronda, Spain. The video depicts Madonna as a bullfighter's (played by real-life Spanish bullfighter Emilio Muñoz) neglected lover, yearning for his love. It won the Best Female Video award at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. Journalistic and academic analysis of the video included its plotline, usage of religious iconography, themes and motifs of feminism and submission, as well as its impact on contemporary music videos. In order to promote Bedtime Stories, Madonna performed "Take a Bow" on a few occasions, including live with Babyface at the 1995 American Music Awards. In 2016, she added the song to the setlist of the Asian and Oceanian legs of her Rebel Heart Tour and her one-off Sydney concert Tears of a Clown.

Background and release[edit]

Babyface smiling, wearing black sunglasses
Babyface co-wrote and co-produced "Take a Bow" with Madonna

Following the release of Madonna's first book publication, Sex, the erotic thriller, Body of Evidence, her fifth studio album, Erotica, as well as a disastrous interview on David Letterman's show in the early 1990s, the media and public's backlash against Madonna's overtly sexual image was at a peak.[1][2] Madonna wanted to tone down her explicit image. Her first attempt was to release the tender ballad "I'll Remember" from the soundtrack of the film With Honors.[1] Musically, she wanted to move in a new musical direction and started exploring new-jack R&B styles with a generally mainstream, radio-friendly sound. It was included on her sixth studio album, Bedtime Stories, released in October 1994.[3] In author Fred Bronson's The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, Madonna explained:

The idea going in was to juxtapose my singing style with a hardcore hip-hop sensibility and have the finished product still sound like a Madonna record. I began the process by meeting with the hip-hop producers whose work I most admired. It was important, if I were to use a variety of collaborators, that the end product sound cohesive and thematically whole. I wasn't interested in the variety pack approach.[4]

After searching for prospective collaborators, Madonna chose to work with Babyface, whose previous work with artists like Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, and Toni Braxton had resulted in successful smooth R&B songs.[5] She was also fond of Babyface's song, "When Can I See You" from his third studio album For the Cool in You (1994).[6] The singer's management called Babyface to set up a meeting and see if they wanted to work together. Once met, both were surprised by their camaraderie and wanted to write songs. Madonna came over to Babyface's house and after a couple of days they came up with two songs. One of them was based on a piece of music composed by Babyface, but he was not sure about its musical direction. He made Madonna listen to the composition, and she found a way to take the song forward.[4] Babyface clarified that "[i]t was just a beat and the chords. From there we collaborated and built it up... I was living in Beverly Hills and I created a little studio in my house, so she came over there to write."[6] Together they agreed that the first line of the song should be its title, and "Take a Bow" was written. The words were never repeated in the track again.[4]

"Take a Bow" was released as the second single from Bedtime Stories on October 28, 1994, following "Secret".[4] The maxi single release of the song included two remixes. 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.[7]

Recording and composition[edit]

"Take a Bow" was recorded at The Hit Factory studios, New York, and was mastered and mixed at Sterling Sound Studios, New York.[8] Babyface recalled that he was nervous about recording with Madonna, since he feared that Madonna was a "perfectionist" in the studio, and that would ultimately be time consuming for the whole process. However, it was one of the fastest recording and mixing. The song was backed by a full orchestra and was also the first time that Babyface had worked with live strings. He recalled that using strings in the song was "[Madonna's] suggestion, and it was Nellee Hooper who actually [arranged the strings]. She had worked with them before but for me it was a new experience".[4] Along with Hooper, Jessie Leavey, Craig Armstrong and Susie Katiyama also worked on the strings and conducting.[8]

A 27 second sample of the song, featuring Madonna singing the opening verses. The sample presents the orchestra used in the background, as well as Babyface's vocals during the second verse.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Take a Bow" was written and produced by Madonna and Babyface, and is a midtempo pop ballad with Japanese musical influences, like that of Kyu Sakamoto's 1961 song, "Sukiyaki".[9] It begins with sounds of oriental pentatonic strings, giving the impression of Chinese or Japanese opera. The verses consist of a descending chord sequence, containing twists at the end. Madonna's vocals are in a "sleepy languid mood" that is the characteristic of the songs from Bedtime Stories. The lyrics during the chorus talk about Madonna 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 a 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".[10]

In his book Madonna: An Intimate Biography, author 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."[11] Alongside the betrayal of her lover, the lyrics also talk about Madonna trying to understand the reasons behind adultery. As the song progresses, the listener realizes that through the lyrics the singer was talking about herself—"One lonely star and you don't know who you are".[9] According to Musicnotes.com, the song has a moderate calypso feel and is set in the time signature of common time and progresses in 80 beats per minute. The composition is set in the key of A major with Madonna's vocal ranging from E3 to C5. "Take a Bow" contains a basic sequence of A–Bm7/E–A–Fmaj7 during the opening strings, and A–A/G–Fm7 during the verses as its chord progression.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Taraborrelli called it a "melancholy and beautifully executed ballad".[11] Author Chris Wade wrote in his book The Music of Madonna that "Take a Bow" was a standout from the album. He complimented Madonna and Babyface's vocals, while calling the music "stunning". He declared it as one of the singer's "purest songs, totally free of any gimmicks, self consciousness or knowing sexual references; a graceful end to the album."[13] Encyclopedia Madonnica writer Matthew Rettenmund called it a "sentimental ballad with showbiz theme" while finding similarities in the song to that of "Superstar" by The Carpenters.[14] In his review of Bedtime Stories, Billboard's Paul Verna called it a "holiday feast for Top 40, rhythm crossover, and AC".[15] Also from Billboard, Larry Flick gave the single a particularly positive review; "The follow-up to the top five smash 'Secret' [...] is as perfect as top 40 fare gets. This single has a delightful, immediately memorable melody and chorus, engaging romance-novel lyrics and a lead vocal that is both sweet and quietly soulful. A lovely way for [Madonna] to kick out '95".[16] J. D. Considine of The Baltimore Sun stated that the song, about "innocent romance" has a "gently cascading melody".[17] Peter Calvin from The Advocate praised the lyrical flow of the song, saying that the "effect is truly heartbreaking. The song... shows that ultimately Madonna... is just like you and me".[9]

A gorgeous melancholy ballad of unrequitted love, with the object of the singer's affection being someone who hides behind a role playing mask which only she can see... [Babyface] makes [the song] virtually a duet with Madonna, echoing her words with his high tenor wafting dreamily behind her, and the song's minimalist arrangement is impeccably elegant.

—Author Steve Sullivan's review of "Take a Bow" in Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2[5]

James Hunter from Vibe called the song "a New Soul masterpiece".[18] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic referred to "Take a Bow" as "tremendous", listing it as one of the best songs from Bedtime Stories and stating that it "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".[19][20] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani, called it "syrupy and bittersweet".[21] NME's Alex Needham, opined it was a "gorgeously constructed song by any standards".[22] Matthew Jacobs, from The Huffington Post, placed it at number 19 of his list "The Definitive Ranking Of Madonna Singles". Jacobs wrote:

"Take a Bow" is Madonna's most poetic ballad. Much in the way that such hits as "Borderline" and "Into the Groove" act as the fuselage of '80s pop [...] a lost-love elegy that squares nicely with the burgeoning female singer-songwriter movement of the '90s. Don't mistake its sleepy quality for stuffiness. This song is Madonna at her loveliest.[23]

Enio Chiola of PopMatters, included the song on his list of "Top 15 Madonna Singles of All Time". He opined that "['Take a Bow'] features a more demure Madonna, confident in her termination of a doomed relationship, and the music is accented by characteristically Asian orchestration and lovely poetic lyrics", concluding that "[Madonna] quickly learned that the way back into the public's collective hearts was to focus more attention on the music than on the frankness of her sexual image".[24] In his 2011 review of Bedtime Stories, Brett Callwood of the Detroit Metro Times called the song "spectacular".[25] 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".[26] Louis Virtel, from TheBacklot.com, placed "Take a Bow" at number 27 of his list "The 100 Greatest Madonna Songs". He wrote; "Madonna's most successful single to date is a melancholic evisceration of a lover's artifice, and its hopeless plain-spokenness makes it one of the finest examples of 90s balladry".[27] Rikky Rooksby, author of The Complete Guide to the Music of Madonna, was less impressed with the track. Although he felt that it sounded "shockingly normal" after the "ambient 'Bedtime Story'", he found the song's length as over-long and deduced it to be "communica[ting] no sense whatsoever of the pain of a real goodbye."[10]

Chart performance[edit]

With "Take a Bow" topping the Billboard Hot 100, Madonna replaced Carole King as the female artist who had written the most number-one songs

"Take a Bow" was a commercial success in the United States, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was Madonna's second number-one single since Billboard started using Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen BDS data for tabulating its charts, the first being "This Used to Be My Playground".[28] The song topped the chart for seven weeks and is her longest-running number-one single on this chart.[29] 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.[30] It was present on the chart for a total of 30 weeks, tying up with "Borderline" as Madonna's longest running song on the Hot 100.[31] With the song reaching number one on the Hot 100, Madonna was at fourth place on the list of artists with most number-one singles on the chart: She was behind The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson and The Supremes.[28] 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".[29]

"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". It was number-one for nine weeks.[32] The song is also notable as Madonna's last single to make the top 40 of the US R&B chart. It also topped the Mainstream Top 40 chart, and reached number four on the Rhythmic chart.[33][34] On February 27, 1995, the single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and according to Billboard, it was one of the best selling singles of 1995, selling 500,000 copies that year.[35][36] With "Take a Bow"'s certification, Madonna ranked with Janet Jackson as the female artists with most gold certified singles.[37] In Canada the song debuted at number 85 on the RPM Singles Chart, and reached the top after 11 weeks, becoming Madonna's 12th number-one single in that country.[38][39] "Take a Bow" was present for a total of 25 weeks and placed at number three on the RPM Year-end ranking.[40][41] It also reached number one on the RPM Adult Contemporary chart.[42]

"Take a Bow" had moderate chart success in the United Kingdom, where it reached a peak of number 16 on the UK Singles Chart. This ended Madonna's record-holding string of 35 consecutive top-ten singles on the chart from "Like a Virgin" (1984) to "Secret" (1994).[43] According to the Official Charts Company, the single has sold 102,739 copies in the United Kingdom, as of August 2008.[44] In Australia, "Take a Bow" debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number 21 on December 25, 1994, eventually peaking at number 15, and was present on the chart for a total of 17 weeks.[45] The song peaked at number two on the Italian Singles Chart and number eight on the Swiss Singles Chart.[45][46] In New Zealand, the single peaked at number nine on the New Zealand Singles Chart, spending a total of 13 weeks on the chart.[45]

Music video[edit]

Background and release[edit]

Emilio Muñoz played a Spanish bullfighter and Madonna's lover in the video

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.[47] In the video Madonna wore a fitted, classic suit by British fashion designer John Galliano.[48] The costumes worn by Madonna in the video were created by stylist Lori Goldstein who received the VH1 Fashion and Media award for best styling. Other designers who provided clothing included Donatella Versace and a then-unknown Christian Louboutin. Madonna had a 1940s style on her, with tight corset, silk dresses and a black-veiled hat. The plot of the video was set in the 1940s, depicting Madonna as a neglected lover of a bullfighter, played by real-life Spanish actor and bullfighter Emilio Muñoz.[49] Madonna's character yearns for the bullfighter's presence, with erotic heartbreak.[49][50] 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 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.[51]

Plaza de Toros de Ronda, where the bullfighting scenes were shot

Madonna arrived in Ronda in November 1994 with a team of 60 people and wanted to shoot at the bullrings in the city. However, her request was rejected by the Real Maestranza de Caballería of Ronda (Royal Cavalry Brotherhood of Ronda), who considered it as a desecration of the arenas if Madonna would have filmed there, since her name at that time was associated with provocative imagery. Also, Madonna had to give up shooting around the city's square due to high economic demands of its owner, former bullfighter Antonio Ordóñez who demanded 17 million (US$122,302 in 1994). Later it was clarified that Madonna was refused due to unknown moral reasons from the Brotherhood, who accused the media of making free publicity on the singer's behalf. The refusal generated controversy in Ronda, whose political groups believed that allowing the video to be shot within its precipices would be great promotion for the city. Madonna later obtained permit to shoot inside the palace of the Marquis of Salvatierra. Bullfighting scenes were shot at the Plaza de Toros de Ronda (The Toros Plaza of Ronda), where Muñoz acted alongside three fighting bulls. The actor was paid ₧7 million (US$50,360 in 1994) for participating in the video.[47]

The music video was released on November 22, 1994 on MTV. It was also part of VH1's relaunching promotional campaigns, where the channel used the video in its trio of 30 second commercials titled "The New VH1". The commercial showed a couple in a vintage porsche pulling in front of an ATM cash machine. The man makes a transaction while the woman looks at VH1 playing at a store, showing "Take a Bow". When the man turns back to the car, the woman is gone and can be seen inside the video alongside Madonna, while the singer appears in the car, and utters the tagline: "The new VH1... It'll suck you in". According to Abbey Konowitch, who worked on Madonna's Maverick Records, the singer had a long history with MTV and VH1, and hence was eager to participate in the campaign when asked by VH1 president John Sykes. For filming the commercial, the cloths worn in the video had to be flown in from the different designers. Madonna was also impressed by the technology used in the commercial for transposing the woman and herself together.[52]

Synopsis and reception[edit]

Madonna after she has been left physically abused by the torero in the video. The scenes were described by author Georges-Claude Guilbert as "demoralizing".

The music video begins with showing Madonna, the torero (Muñoz), 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 watches Muñoz on the television.[49] In the bullring, the torero kills the bull and then comes home and physically and emotionally abuses Madonna. The video can be viewed as a statement on classicism, supposing the bullfighter feels threatened and angered by the aristocrat's station, resulting in his physically abusing and then coldly abandoning her.[53]

The style of the music video has been compared to Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's 1986 film Matador, starring Antonio Banderas.[54] 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.[55] 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.[56]

The video generated controversy with animal rights activists who accused the singer of glorifying bullfighting.[57] 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.[58] In 2012, the television program Extra included "Take a Bow" on their list of "The 10 Sexiest Madonna Music Videos."[59]

Analysis and impact[edit]

The music video for "Take a Bow" inspired Justin Timberlake's video for "SexyBack" (2006) and was later tributed by Britney Spears' video for "Radar" (2009)

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. Author Santiago Fouz-Hernández points out that unlike Madonna's previous music videos, much of the religious imagery is associated with the torero, 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."[60] Roger Beebe, one of the authors of Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones, noted that the video was an example of "how music, image, and lyrics of a song possesses their own temporality". He explained that the "graceful" nature of the song was contrast to the repetitive scenes in the video, which he felt indicated that the protagonist has long been engaging in the activities, including the "demoralizing sex scenes".[61] In Madonna as Postmodern Myth, author Georges-Claude Guilbert felt the video "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."[57] Guilbert also noted the usage of religious iconography in the video, especially dubious representation of the Virgin. He explained that most of the times Madonna and the torero make love through the television screen, implying that "one of their purity had to be maintained always".[62]

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."[26] Carol Vernallis, author of Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics and Cultural Context, noted that the video exemplified the lyrics of the song. She clarified that the scenes featuring Madonna and Muñoz dressing up and putting on their gloves pointed to storyline and lyrics that appeared later, the lyrics being "all the world loves a clown". During that line Muñoz as the torero is seen with a fatuous expression, which Vernallis deduced as "the beginning of the story of possession and fame" in the video. When Madonna sings "I've always been in love with you", she appeared in the video as sometimes adolescent and sometimes middle-aged. For Vernallis it was not clear if the imagery was literal or figurative of the lyrics, "embodying a lasting affection, as separate parts of Madonna's psyche, or as the exaggerated claims of a groupie." The author also noted that the scene where Madonna pricks her hand with a needle makes her relationship with the torero as more ambiguous.[63] The costumes and melody in the video reminded Vernallis of the 1904 opera Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini although with an inverted plotline. The scenes showing Madonna in an enclosed room with a single light bulb also drew comparisons to Glenn Close's character in the 1987 psychological thriller film, Fatal Attraction.[53] Another observation by Vernallis was about the power struggle it showed in the video, with Madonna gradually losing and relegated to one corner of the room.[64]

The "Take a Bow" video was a source of inspiration for Justin Timberlake's music video for his 2006 single, "SexyBack". 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."[65] 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."[66]

Live performances, covers and usage in media[edit]

Madonna performing "Take a Bow" as part of her one-off concert in Sydney, Tears of a Clown

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.[67] 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!'".[68] 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.[69] 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.[70]

Madonna had never performed "Take a Bow" on any of her concert tours until February 4, 2016, when she performed the song during the Taipei stop of her Rebel Heart Tour.[71] After the performance, she exclaimed "That was fun! First time ever. Hit a few bad notes, but it felt good to sing it."[72] The singer subsequently performed the song in the other cities during the Asian and Oceanian legs of the Rebel Heart Tour.[73][74][75] An acoustic version of "Take a Bow" was performed on Madonna's one-off concert in Sydney, Madonna: Tears of a Clown. The show started with Madonna appearing onstage, in a clown's costume consisting of a billowing dress, pink and yellow stalkings, riding a tricycle and circled round it.[76]

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.[77] 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.[78] 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.[79] "Take a Bow" was used in promos for the final season of Beverly Hills, 90210.[80]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from Bedtime Stories album liner notes.[8]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[35] Gold 500,000[36]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Feldman 2000, p. 255
  2. ^ "Top 10 Disastrous Letterman Interviews: Don't F___ with Madonna". Time. February 12, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  3. ^ Farber, Jim (October 28, 1994). "Album Review: 'Bedtime Stories' (1994)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Bronson 2003, p. 834
  5. ^ a b Sullivan 2013, p. 648
  6. ^ a b Lynch, Joe (October 6, 2014). "Madonna's 'Bedtime Stories' Turns 20: Babyface & Donna De Lory Look Back". Billboard. Retrieved April 15, 2016. 
  7. ^ Promis, Jose F. "Madonna: Take a Bow". AllMusic. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c Bedtime Stories (LP, Vinyl, CD). Madonna. Maverick Records. WEA Records Pvt. Ltd. 1994. 9362-45767-2. 
  9. ^ a b c Calvin, Peter (November 15, 1994). Music Virginesque: Madonna Bedtime Stories Review. The Advocate. p. 84. ISSN 0001-8996. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Rooksby 2004, pp. 49–50
  11. ^ a b Taraborrelli 2008, p. 246
  12. ^ Ciccone, Madonna; Edmunds, Kenneth "Babyface". "Madonna Ciccone 'Take a Bow' Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com. Alfred Music. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  13. ^ Wade 2016, p. 80
  14. ^ Rettenmund 2016, p. 504
  15. ^ Verna, Paul (October 29, 1994). "Album Revies: Madonna - Bedtime Stories". Billboard. 106 (44): 74. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 1, 2016. 
  16. ^ Larry, Flick (December 10, 1994). "Single Reviews". Billboard. 106 (50): 79. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 1, 2016. 
  17. ^ Considine, J. D. (October 25, 1994). "Madonna's latest lets her talent do most of the talking The 'Secret' of Success". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  18. ^ Hunter, James (September 1998). "New Soul-For Real". Vibe. p. 155. ISSN 1070-4701. 
  19. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (October 25, 1994). "Madonna > Bedtime Stories". AllMusic. Retrieved March 1, 2016. 
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