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Song IconMadonna "Take A Bow"

About "Take A Bow"

"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 December 6, 1994, by Maverick Records. It is a midtempo pop ballad written and produced by Madonna and Babyface. Following the sexually explicit persona portrayed by Madonna on her previous album, Erotica, she wanted to tone down her image for Bedtime Stories. Experimenting with a new musical direction and a more radio-friendly sound, Madonna decided to collaborate with Babyface, whose work with other musicians had impressed her. "Take a Bow" was developed after she listened to the basic beat and chords of a piece of music composed by him.

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. "Take a Bow" lyrically talks about unrequited love and Madonna saying goodbye. It received favorable reviews from music critics, who praised its soulful, poetic lyrics. The single topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven weeks, becoming Madonna's 11th chart-topper. She broke Carole King's three-decade-long record as the female songwriter with the most number-one songs, a record which was later broken by Mariah Carey. "Take a Bow" also reached number one in Canada and the top ten in Finland, Switzerland, and New Zealand. However, it became her first single to miss the UK top ten since 1984, peaking at number 16.

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 Melbourne concert Madonna: Tears of a Clown.

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