Blood on the Dance Floor (song)

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"Blood on the Dance Floor"
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix
Released March 21, 1997
Format Compact Disc, 7", 12"
Recorded 19911997
Genre New jack swing, R&B, pop
Length 4:11
Label Epic
Writer(s) Michael Jackson
Teddy Riley
Producer(s) Michael Jackson
Teddy Riley
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Stranger in Moscow"
(1996)
"Blood on the Dance Floor"
(1997)
"HIStory/Ghosts"
(1997)
Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix track listing
"Blood on the Dance Floor "
(1)
"Morphine"
(2)
Number Ones (International) track listing
"Earth Song"
(14)
"Blood on the Dance Floor "
(15)
"You Rock My World"
(16)
King of Pop track listing
"Blame it on the Boogie"
(11)
"Blood on the Dance Floor "
(12)
"Break Of Dawn"
(13)

"Blood on the Dance Floor" is a song by Michael Jackson. The song was released as the first single from the remix album, Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. Jackson and Teddy Riley created the track in time for the 1991 release of Dangerous. However, it did not appear on that record and was minimally altered before commercial release in 1997. The song is about a predatory woman by the name of Susie, who seduces Jackson before plotting to stab him with a knife. The composition explores a variety of genres ranging from rock to funk and Hi-NRG.

Commentators compared "Blood on the Dance Floor" to music from Dangerous. Others commented on the song's perceived aggressive tone and the vocal style, the broad genres heard and possible lyrical interpretations of the song. Reviews at the time of release were largely mixed, but contemporary reviews have been favorable. The song was promoted with a music video that premiered on Top of the Pops. It centered around Susie seducing Jackson in a courtship dance, before opening a switchblade. "Blood on the Dance Floor" was the only track from the remix album performed on the HIStory World Tour. The lead single peaked at number one in several countries, including the UK.

Production and music[edit]

Teddy Riley came up with the song's title while Michael recorded the piece for his Dangerous album in 1991—it failed to make the final track listing. Teddy was reportedly upset that Jackson did not call him to "vacuum clean this old master" upon realizing it would be included on Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. Riley wanted to update the musical composition before it appeared on the remix album.[1]

Instruments played in the song include a guitar and piano, the latter of which has an F2-Eb5 range in scientific pitch notation. Jackson's vocal range on the track is C3-Bb5 and aspects of the song are performed in the key A-flat major. Genres that have been attributed to the song are rock, pop, house, dance, R&B, funk and new jack swing. Jackson incorporates many of the vocal traits associated with his work, such as hiccups and gasps.[2][3][4][5][6] Neil Strauss of The New York Times suggests that the predatory woman in the title track, "Susie", is a metaphor for AIDS.[7] However, in an interview with Adrian Grant, Jackson denied that the song was about AIDS.

Commentary[edit]

Excerpt of the single "Blood on the Dance Floor". Jackson sings of a woman by the name of Susie, who has been described as a metaphor for AIDS by reviewers.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The Dallas Morning News described "Blood on the Dance Floor" as an angry tale of a back-stabbing woman and Michael Saunders of The Boston Globe described it as "a middling dance-funk cut".[3][8] Anthony Violenti of The Buffalo News said of the single, "[it is] laced with Teddy Riley's new jack swing sound and a pounding techno beat", whereas The Cincinnati Post characterized the song as a "lackluster first release ... dated, played-out dance track", but gave the album an overall favorable review.[4][9] Jim Farber of New York Daily News, noted of the vocals and musical style, "[Jackson] coughs up a series of strangulated mutters and munchkin hiccups in lieu of a vocal, while its chilly, faux-industrial music proves as appealing as a migraine".[6]

William Ruhlman of Allmusic observed, "'Blood on the Dance Floor' is an uptempo Jackson song in the increasingly hysterical tradition of 'Billie Jean' and 'Smooth Criminal' with Jackson huffing, puffing, and yelping through some nonsense about a stabbing ... over a fairly generic electronic dance track". He was not complimentary of the B-sides that accompanied it.[5] Stephen Thomas Erlewine, also of Allmusic, had a negative reaction to the record. He described "Blood on the Dance Floor" as a "bleak reworking of 'Jam' and 'Scream'".[10]

Music commentator Nelson George, compared the song to material from Dangerous, notably the critically acclaimed tracks "Jam" and "Dangerous". He described it as a "pile driving" song that "explodes from radio speakers".[11] A longtime commentator on Jackson's public life, J. Randy Taraborrelli, gave a retrospective analysis of the album in the biography, The Magic & the Madness. Taraborrelli thought that "Blood on the Dance Floor" was one of Jackson's best songs, a song that US fans "don't even know exists".[12] In 2005, J T Griffith, of Allmusic, believed that in hindsight, "Blood on the Dance Floor" was actually a good song. He explained, "[it is] a second-rate mixture of 'Beat It' and 'Thriller' but Jackson's missteps are better than most pop music out there. This track showcases all the artist's trademarks: the ooohing, the grunts, and funky basslines. It is hard to hear 'Blood on the Dance Floor' and not want to moonwalk or dance like a ghoul".[13]

Promotion[edit]

Jackson and Azur in the music video for "Blood on the Dance Floor".

"Blood on the Dance Floor" was the only track from Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix to appear on the set list of the HIStory World Tour.[14] The music video for "Blood on the Dance Floor" was directed by Jackson and Vincent Paterson. It premiered on Top of the Pops in the UK on March 28, 1997, several weeks ahead of its release as a single.[1] The video opens with a thrown switchblade impaling a spray painted image. The impaled image is that of a blood dripping love heart with "SUSIE + ME" scrawled across it. Jackson and a group of dancers then enter a salsa dance hall and he begins to dance with a woman, "Susie", while shaking a piece of percussion. The singer then appears seated while the woman dances seductively above him on a table top.

Throughout the video, Jackson shows a sexual attraction towards the dancing woman—played by Sybil Azur. Jackson caresses her ankle, calf, knee and thigh, and at one stage looks up her dress. The woman is then seen opening a flick knife as the pair engage in a final courtship dance. The video closes in the same manner it began, with the switchblade impaling the spray painted image. The music video won the Brazilian TVZ Video Award: Best International Music Video of the Year.[11][15] Interviewed on her experience during the video one of the dancers, Carmit Bachar (of [The Pussycat Dolls]) noted, "I was called in by Vincent Paterson for 'Blood on the Dance Floor'. It was to have a Latin feel, some sort of mambo. I arrived wearing a little salsa dress, fish nets, heels, and my hair was up in a kind of bun with a flower. I was 'camera ready'. I showed up with the whole outfit. It's not that producers can't see what they like, or the potential in somebody, but what I do helps them to see their vision more".[16]

A "Refugee Camp Mix" of "Blood on the Dance Floor" appeared on Jackson's video collection, HIStory on Film, Volume II and Michael Jackson's Vision. The original song would later appear on the Number Ones DVD, which contained previously unreleased scenes.[1] Furthermore, Paterson recorded an unreleased, alternate version of the music video, shot with an 8 mm camera. Writer David Noh, described it as, "grainy, overexposed, and sexy as shit". According to Paterson, "Michael loved it, but Sony hated it and refused to release it".[17] The New York Times described the United States promotional effort for the Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix campaign as "subdued", creating "hardly a sound" and "perplexing to many people in the industry". Jackson's label Epic Records, refuted allegations they were not promoting the album sufficiently, saying, "We are completely behind the album ... Michael is certainly one of our superstars and is treated as such ... We just went into this one with our global hats on". The New York Times acknowledged that promotion was stronger internationally, where Jackson had more commercial force and popularity.[18]

Chart performance[edit]

The song became a top ten hit in almost every European Union state. "Blood on the Dance Floor" peaked at number one in the UK, Spain and New Zealand, charting for 11 weeks in the latter two nations. In the UK it sold 85,000 copies in its first week, enough to take the number one spot from "I Believe I Can Fly" by friend and collaborator R. Kelly. The song was Jackson's seventh UK chart topper as a solo artist, although it fell to number eight in its second week of release. The European country where "Blood on the Dance Floor" had the most longevity was Switzerland, where it spent 18 weeks in the chart. By contrast, the song appeared in the Italian chart for only one week.[1][11][19]

The single peaked at number 42 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[11] This relatively lower peak position has been attributed to the lack of US promotion and—according J. Randy Taraborrelli and Allmusic writer William Ruhlman—the ongoing US public interest in the singer's private life over his music.[5][12] "Blood on the Dance Floor" was the 20th and last of Jackson's reissued singles from the Visionary campaign. Issued in June 2006, it charted at number 19 in the UK.[1]

Track listing[edit]

UK single 1
No. Title Length
1. "Blood on the Dance Floor"   4:11
2. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (TM's Switchblade Mix) 8:39
3. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Refugee Camp Mix) 5:27
4. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Fire Island Vocal Mix) 8:57
5. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Fire Island Dub) 8:57
Total length:
34:92
UK single 2
No. Title Length
1. "Blood on the Dance Floor"   4:11
2. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (TM's Switchblade Mix) 8:39
3. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Fire Island Vocal Mix) 8:57
4. "Dangerous" (Roger's Dangerous Club Mix) 6:55
Total length:
27:63
US single
No. Title Length
1. "Blood on the Dance Floor"   4:11
2. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (TM's Switchblade Edit) 3:22
3. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Refugee Camp Edit) 3:19
4. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Fire Island Radio Edit) 3:50
5. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (TM's Switchblade Mix) 8:39
6. "Dangerous" (Roger's Dangerous Club Mix) 6:55
Total length:
31:47
The Dubs 12" vinyl
No. Title Length
1. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (T&G Pool of Blood Dub) 7:34
2. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Refugee Camp Dub) 3:38
3. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Fire Island Dub) 8:55
4. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Acapella) 3:01
Total length:
23:28
UK 12" promo vinyl
No. Title Length
1. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (TM's O-Positive Dub) 7:00
2. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Fire Island Dub) 8:55
3. "Dangerous" (Roger's Dangerous Club Mix) 6:55
4. "Dangerous" (Roger's Rough Dub) 6:57
Total length:
27:47
iTunes EP
No. Title Length
1. "Blood on the Dance Floor"   4:11
2. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (TM's Switchblade Edit) 3:22
3. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Refugee Camp Edit) 3:19
4. "Dangerous" (Roger's Dangerous Edit) 4:41
Total length:
15:35
EU single
No. Title Length
1. "Blood on the Dance Floor"   4:11
2. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Fire Island Vocal Mix) 8:57
3. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (TM's Switchblade Mix) 8:39
4. "Dangerous" (Roger's Dangerous Club Mix) 6:55
Total length:
28:02
Visionary single
  • CD side
  1. "Blood on the Dance Floor" – 4:14
  2. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (Fire Island Vocal Mix) – 8:55
  • DVD side
  1. "Blood on the Dance Floor" (video) – 4:15

Personnel[edit]

  • Written, composed and produced by Michael Jackson and Teddy Riley
  • Solo and background vocals, vocal arrangement by Michael Jackson
  • Teddy Riley and Brad Buxer: Keyboards and synthesizers, drum programming
  • Matt Carpenter: Digital Systems programming
  • Engineered by Teddy Riley, Dave Way and Mick Guzauski
  • Mixed by Mick Guzauski

Charts[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly
UK Singles Chart number-one single
27 April 1997 – 4 May 1997
Succeeded by
"Love Won't Wait" by Gary Barlow

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Halstead, Craig (2007). Michael Jackson: For the Record. Authors OnLine. pp. 46–48. ISBN 978-0-7552-0267-6. 
  2. ^ "Blood on the Dance Floor". www.musicnotes.com. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Michael Saunders. (June 05, 1997). "Blood on the Dance Floor Epic". The Boston Globe.
  4. ^ a b Anthony Violanti. (May 23, 1997). "Lost Soul....". The Buffalo News.
  5. ^ a b c Ruhlmann, William (July 13, 2005). "Blood On The Dance Floor Review". Allmusic. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Farber, Jim (May 19, 1997). "The 'Thriller' is gone...". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 22, 2008. [dead link]
  7. ^ Strauss, Neil (May 20, 1997). "Stars Adrift: Further Out, Further In". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  8. ^ Thor Christensen. (May 20, 1997). "Jackson's new `Blood' generally thin Singer's work best when fresh on remix release". The Dallas Morning News.
  9. ^ "Michael Jackson Still Relevant". (June 26, 1997). The Cincinnati Post.
  10. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix". Allmusic. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f George, p. 48–50
  12. ^ a b Taraborrelli, p. 610–611
  13. ^ Griffith, JT (July 13, 2005). "Blood On The Dance Floor Review". Allmusic. Retrieved December 22, 2008. [dead link]
  14. ^ Paul Martin. (July 13, 1997). "Rock On; Ulster pop fans go wacko over Jacko". Sunday Mirror.
  15. ^ "Sybil Azur". IMDB. Retrieved January 11, 2009. 
  16. ^ "If You Want to Be Like Britney". January/February issue of Dance & Fitness Magazin. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  17. ^ Noh, David (January 26, 2006). "Choreographer Supreme". Gay City News. Retrieved January 13, 2009. [dead link]
  18. ^ Sorkin, Andrew (1997-06-23). "King of Pop Faces U.S. Market With Subdued Promotion Effort". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "M. Jackson - Blood on the Dance Floor (nummer)". Ultratop.be. Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  20. ^ Billboard, April 30, 1997: Hits of the World Section
  21. ^ "Blood on the Dance Floor". Charts-surfer.de. Retrieved March 31, 210. 
  22. ^ "Single Top 50". Retrieved 9 September 2012. 

References[edit]