On April 13 1995, Bedtime Story was released by Maverick/Sire as the third single from the album Bedtime Stories in North America. The song was written by Björk, Nellee Hooper & Marius DeVries and produced by Madonna & Nellee Hooper. In both the U.S. and Canada the single and CD maxi-single were backed by the album opener, Survival.
The commercial maxi-single featured remixes by Junior Vasquez and Orbital. Additional promo-only remixes by Mark Picchiotti & Teri Bristol were also later serviced promotionally to clubs.
Bedtime Story was released in the UK in February following a poor reception to the album’s second single, Take A Bow.
It was the opposite situation in North America, where the third single was delayed for several months due to the prolonged chart-topping reign of Bow. Bedtime Story‘s more experimental, minimalist sound failed to gain traction on U.S. radio but did earn Madonna another #1 hit on the Hot Dance/Club chart.
On May 7 1995, Madonna’s Bedtime Story debuted at #40 in New Zealand. The single peaked at #38 the following week and then left the charts after three weeks.
On April 29, 1995, Bedtime Story peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.
Released as the follow-up to the longest-running U.S. #1 single of her career (Take A Bow), Madonna & Warner Bros. likely hoped that the momentum would carry over to the cutting-edge Björk penned title track. Despite a respectable reception in Europe (in the U.K. it performed better than Take A Bow) and significant buzz generated by its music video, Bedtime Story proved to be too unconventional for radio in North America, where it became her first fully promoted single to miss the Top 40 since Burning Up in 1983. It fared no better in Canada, peaking at #46 on May 1st, 1995.
The remixes for Bedtime Story, however, were a hit with North American D.J.’s and earned Madonna another #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart.
On March 10 1995, Madonna’s luscious Bedtime Story music video was given a cinematic release at three different Odeon Cineplex film theatres:
- Santa Monica, California (Broadway Cinemas)
- Manhattan, New York (Chelsea Theater)
- Chicago, Illinois (Biograph Threater)
The one week engagement allowed attendees to enjoy the Mark Romanek directed masterpiece on the big screen for a week before the video was released on MTV.
Madonna later celebrated the premiere of Bedtime Story video by throwing a Pajama Party at Webster Hall in New York, on March 18, 1995.
On February 20 1995, Madonna performed Bedtime Story live for the first and only time at the Brit Awards. The performance was set to a remix of the song by Junior Vasquez. Madonna wore a white Versace dress and long hair extensions, an image similar to her 1995 Versace advertisement campaign spread.
Madonna invited Björk to feature in the performance but Björk declined the offer, later stating: “I was supposed to get [Madonna’s] personal number and call her up, but it just didn’t feel right. I’d love to meet her accidentally, really drunk in a bar. It’s just all that formality that confuses me.”
On February 13 1995, Bedtime Story was released in Europe by Maverick Records as the third single from the album Bedtime Stories. In North America, the single was delayed until April due to the sleeper success of Take A Bow, which continued its slow-but-steady climb to the top of the Hot 100.
Bedtime Story was written by Björk, Marius De Vries & Nellee Hooper and was produced by Hooper & Madonna. Björk’s original demo, titled Let’s Get Unconscious, was reworked by Hooper & DeVries and renamed Bedtime Story for its submission to Madonna. Björk later revisited elements of the song’s lyrics in Sweet Intuition–a b-side from her 1995 single, Army Of Me.
In a 2001 interview for NYLON magazine, writer James Servin asked Björk whether it was true that she had written the lyrics to Bedtime Story for Madonna because she liked the idea of her expressing a viewpoint that was paradoxical to her controlled public image:
“I think at the time, yes. But that’s like six years ago, when everything about [Madonna] seemed very controlled. I think she’s a very intuitive person, and definitely her survival instincts are incredible. They’re like, outrageous. At the time, the words I thought she should say were, ‘I’m not using words anymore, let’s get unconscious honey. Fuck logic. Just be intuitive. Be more free. Go with the flow.’ Right now, she seems pretty much to be going with the flow.”
This prompts me to ask Björk if she thinks she might have put those mellowing-out thoughts into Madonna’s head. “Well, I wouldn’t credit myself for that,” she says. “Not at all. That’s a question for you to ask her.”
I sent a fax to Madonna via her publicist Liz Rosenberg, with the question: “Did singing the lyrics Björk wrote for Bedtime Story lead you in the direction of going more with the flow?” A day or two later, I receive this e-mail from Liz Rosenberg: “I wish I could get an answer from Madonna for you. She’s deep into rehearsals for her tour, and I can’t get any info from her for a while. I can tell you that Madonna certainly thinks Björk is inspiring and a brilliant artist. Madonna is a huge fan of her music. I’ve never thought Madonna was a ‘go with the flow’ person before or after recording Bedtime Story. She goes with a flow – but it’s a flow of her own creation, if you know what I mean.”