On March 10 2016, Madonna performed the first Tears Of A Clown show at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. Since Madonna had not performed in Australia since 1993, she decided to put on a unique show for her Australian fans. The show included some of her lesser performed songs, covers, hits and some fan favourites that were not being performed during the Rebel Heart Tour (which was going on a the same time as the Tears Of A Clown show).
Madonna wanted the show to combine music, comedy and storytelling, with a circus or clown theme in mind.
Only members of Madonna’s official fan club, Icon, were able to acquire tickets. 1500 fans attended the show.
Madonna performed the following songs:
- Send In The Clowns
- Drowned World/Substitute For Love
- X-Static Process
- Between The Bars (Elliot Smith cover)
- Nobody’s Perfect
- Easy Ride
- I’m So Stupid
- Paradise (Not For Me)
- Joan Of Arc
- Don’t Tell Me
- Mer Girl
- Take A Bow
Cameron Adams (News.com.au) had this to say about the show:
“Madonna poured much of her sadness into her intimate two-hour Tears Of A Clown show, peppering emotional renditions of her hits with cheeky jokes and banter. It’s the sort of thing you never thought you’d see a superstar do. The show was fascinating — and difficult — to watch. We’re not used to Madonna on stage doing anything less than a fully rehearsed, slick stage show.”
On February 17 2001, Don’t Tell Me hit #1 on the SoundScan Canadian Singles chart, spending a single week at the top.
After the long-running Canadian music industry publication RPM folded in late 2000, Nielsen SoundScan (which had tracked music sales across Canada since 1996) became the country’s recognized national singles chart publisher until the introduction of Billboard’s Canadian Hot 100 in 2007. Don’t Tell Me was Madonna’s first single to reach its peak during the SoundScan Canadian chart era.
On January 28 2014, Madonna joined Miley Cyrus for her MTV Unplugged concert, which was recorded at Sunset Gower Studios in Los Angeles. For the country-western section of Miley’s show, Madonna and Miley wore bejewelled cowgirl outfits to perform a mash-up of Don’t Tell Me (one of Miley’s favourite Madonna songs) and her own hit, We Can’t Stop.
Miley’s Unplugged concert aired on MTV the next day (January 29 2014).
On January 16 2001, Don’t Tell Me was released commercially in North America as the second single from Music.
Written by Madonna, Mirwais & Joe Henry, the song was Madonna’s first collaboration with her brother-in-law, whom she had known since high school. Henry sent a demo (then titled Stop) to Madonna after his wife, Melanie, insisted that her sister would love the song. Madonna & Mirwais drastically altered the music and melody and renamed the song Don’t Tell Me. Henry released his version on his eighth studio album, Scar, in May 2001.
The maxi-single featured remixes by Thunderpuss, Timo Mass, Victor Calderone, Richard “Humpty” Vission and Tracy Young. Don’t Tell Me was the last Madonna release to be issued on cassette single in the U.S. and was also available on 2-track CD single, CD Maxi-Single (enhanced with the music video) and as a double 12″ vinyl set. In Canada, it was released only on CD maxi-single.
On November 28 2000, Madonna performed a mini-set at London’s Brixton Academy. The show was part of the Don’t Tell Me Promo Tour, which began only two months after the birth of her second child, Rocco, and consisted of a few small club dates as well as television performances and interviews to promote the second single from her Music album. Aside from the promotional aspect, Madonna also used the club shows as an opportunity to test the waters for performing live shows again following a seven-year hiatus from touring. The Brixton gig closely mirrored her set at New York’s Roseland Ballroom several weeks earlier, with one notable exception being the addition of Holiday to the UK set-list.
The full London set-list consisted of:
- Impressive Instant
- Runaway Lover
- Don’t Tell Me
- What It Feels Like For A Girl
The Brixton Academy performance was streamed live across the internet to an estimated 9 million viewers.
On November 24 2000, Madonna performed Don’t Tell Me and Music live on French television program Nulle Part Ailleurs.
On November 21 2000, the second single from Madonna’s Music album, Don’t Tell Me, was released by Maverick Records. The b-side for Don’t Tell Me was Cyber-Raga.
During an interview for Interview Magazine, in March 2001, Madonna discussed the lyrics for Don’t Tell Me:
“To me it is a romantic song. Just, you know, rip my skin off, do not tell me who I should love, or how I should love. Don’t tell me to give up. To me, in a way it’s like that Frank Sinatra song, ‘If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere’.”
The North American CD maxi-single included the following versions of Don’t Tell Me:
Don’t Tell Me – (Timo Maas Mix) – 6:55
Don’t Tell Me – (Tracy Young Club Mix) – 11:01
Don’t Tell Me – (Vission Remix) – 7:52
Don’t Tell Me – (Thunderpuss’ 2001 Hands in the Air Anthem) – 10:20
Don’t Tell Me – (Victor Calderone Sensory Mix) – 6:48
Don’t Tell Me – (Vission Radio Mix) – 3:38
Don’t Tell Me – (Thunderpuss’ 2001 Hands in the Air Radio) – 4:26
Don’t Tell Me – (Music Video)