On November 30 1994, Madonna’s second music video release from Bedtime Stories, Take A Bow, was released. The award winning music video (Best Female Video at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards) was directed by Michael Haussman in Ronda and Antequera, Spain.
The bullfighter in the video was played by real-life Spanish bullfighter Emilio Muñoz. Muñoz reprised his role with Madonna in the You’ll See music video, also directed by Haussman in 1995.
On April 30 2020, Madonna’s 1994 Bedtime Stories album topped the U.S. iTunes Albums Chart after her fans kicked of th #JusticeForBedtimeStories campaign.
This is how the Daily Mail reported it:
More than 25 years after its initial release, one of Madonna’s most under-appreciated albums is getting some love.
Bedtime Stories, the Material Girl’s sixth studio album released in 1994, shot to the top position of the U.S. iTunes chart on Thursday, thanks to a fan-led hashtag campaign ‘#JusticeForBedtimeStories’.
The campaign follows in the footsteps of #JusticeForEMC2, a similar move made by the Mariah Carey fandom in support of her 2008 album, as well as an effort on behalf of Janet Jackson’s 1986 record Control.
Madonna’s Bedtime Stories marked a transitional time in the career of the now 61-year-old performer, after she pushed the envelope with 1992’s salacious Erotica album and the publication of her Sex book, and before her Golden Globe-winning role as buttoned-up Evita Peron in 1996’s musical film Evita.
And while Bedtime Stories‘ final track, Take A Bow, spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 – to date her longest-running number-one single – only one of the album’s other singles, Secret, managed to break the top 10.
Still, Bedtime Stories remains to this day one of Madge’s most cohesive and melodic albums, containing one of her best songs of all time – the brazen and unapologetic anthem Human Nature.
On June 30 1997, Madonna began recording sessions for what would become her Ray Of Light album at Larrabee North Recording Studios, Universal City, Los Angeles.
Madonna had already spent several months writing songs and producing demos with Patrick Leonard, Rick Nowels and Babyface (although none of the Babyface material would make the final cut) by the time she entered the studio with co-producers William Orbit and Marius De Vries. Leonard would return to the project to assist with arrangements, earning him a co-producer’s credit on four of the album’s tracks. Madonna would add lyrics and melody to at least a half-dozen previously composed Orbit demos during these sessions as well, with six of their songs making the final cut.
One song that came very close to being included on the album, Has To Be, was dropped due to Madonna’s desire to limit the number of songs on the album to lucky number thirteen. In a final toss-up between Has To Be and To Have And Not To Hold, the former was nixed in favor of the latter. Has To Be would fortunately make it to the ears of fans, however, due to its inclusion as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of the Ray Of Light album, and as the international b-side to the Ray Of Light single.
Has To Be was born as a collaboration between Madonna and Patrick Leonard. Recently surfaced demos from their writing session include two early versions of the song – the first is a piano-based arrangement in a similar style to the previous Madonna/Leonard collaboration, Something To Remember, while the second demo is an experimental synth-based reworking.
After entering the studio with William Orbit, Madonna adapted Has To Be to one of Orbit’s previously composed electronic soundscapes. Although the original Orbit instrumental piece with celestial voices has never been commercially released, it had previously aired on Orbit’s weekly radio series, Stereo Odyssey, on California’s KCRW prior to his involvement with Madonna. A sound file of the original instrumental that has circulated among fans is a recording from one of these broadcasts.
Although the released version of Has To Be is substantially different from the early Leonard demos, enough elements from its original melody lines (which were based on Leonard’s piano phrases) were carried over to warrant a three-way publishing split between Madonna/Orbit/Leonard for its official release.
Despite its relative obscurity, in fan circles Has To Be often ranks among her most beloved ballads.
On December 6 1994, Madonna’s Take a Bow was released (as a physical single). Take A Bow was selected to be the second single from Madonna’s sixth studio album Bedtime Stories.
The ballad was written and produced by Madonna and Babyface.
Billboard Single Reviews gave the song a very positive review:
The follow-up to the top five smash Secret is a plush pop ballad that pairs La M with the red-hot Babyface, who has become best friend to many a diva in recent times. As close to perfect as top 40 fare gets, this single has a delightful, immediately memorable melody and chorus, engaging romance-novel lyrics, caressing live strings, and a lead vocal that is both sweet and quietly soulful. A lovely way for the singer to close ’95 — and one more good reason to investigate her essential Bedtime Stories collection.
On February 25 1995, Madonna’s Take A Bow hit #1 in the USA on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The hit single remained #1 for 7 weeks, and became Madonna’s 11th single to top the charts in the USA.
Billboard called the song a “plush pop ballad” that was “as close to perfect as top 40 fare gets.” Adding that the lead vocal was “both sweet and quietly soulful.”