Escapade (song)

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Janet Jackson Escapade.png
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814
ReleasedJanuary 8, 1990 (1990-01-08)
StudioFlyte Tyme (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Janet Jackson
  • James Harris III
  • Terry Lewis
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Rhythm Nation"
Music video
"Escapade" on YouTube

"Escapade" is a song by American singer Janet Jackson from her fourth album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). It was written and produced by Jackson and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The song was released on January 8, 1990, by A&M Records as the third single from Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). "Escapade" was released following Jackson's iconic "Rhythm Nation" single and became the third of the historic seven top-five singles released from the Rhythm Nation 1814 album, reaching the top spot.

The accompanying music video for "Escapade" takes place at an exotic carnival setting, also featuring Jackson's trademark intense choreography. The song and its video have influenced other songs and videos from several artists, who have cited influence from its upbeat tempo and joyous feel. "Escapade" won a BMI Pop Award for Most Played Song due to its frequent airplay and popularity among the general public, and was also performed by Jackson in her Japanese commercials for Japan Airlines. It has been included in each of Jackson's greatest hits albums, Design of a Decade: 1986–1996 (1995), Number Ones (2009) and Icon: Number Ones (2010).

Background and recording[edit]

"Escapade" is an upbeat song written and produced by Jackson and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for Jackson's fourth album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, and served as the follow-up to Jackson's prior single "Rhythm Nation".[2] Jackson, Jam and Lewis came up with the song's theme after hearing the word used in a conversation, deciding it would make an interesting song title due to the word being uncommon. "We usually come up with the music first, then we try to think of a title that fits the way the music sounds", Jam said. "And 'Escapade' we thought was a cool word. It is kind of old fashioned — people don't really say 'Let's go on an escapade' anymore, but it really worked with that track."[3]

The song was partially inspired by Martha & the Vandellas's 1965 song "Nowhere to Run", which Jackson originally considered covering for the album, but instead chose to record a new song after a suggestion from producer Jimmy Jam. After the proposal, Jackson and her producers developed the song's initial idea, which was based on having an anthem-like feel, and "Escapade" became one of the first songs to be recorded for the album.[4] Jam also described the song's production and recording process, saying "While she was sitting in one room coming up with the lyrics, I put it on the 24-track. We hooked the drum machine up. On my left hand I played the bass, on the right hand I played the chord. And it was just enough for her to sing to, which we do a lot. Because we like to let her sing to as minimum of a track as we can do, then fill in the track around her so that her part is the main part of the song. With 'Escapade,' she sang it and we kept saying we'll go back and redo the track...we never redid the track. There's a keyboard bass and another thing, and that was it. All we added were the overdubs, little bells ... because we'd gotten so used to the feel of the track, the mistakes and all, we ended up leaving it the way it was."[3]


"Escapade" is set in common time with a key of A major. Jackson's vocal chords ranges A3 to E5. The song is in a medium dance groove tempo of 115 beats per minute with the chord progression being set like Db–Eb–F.[5]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Escapade" peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in early March 1990, becoming Jackson's third number-one single. It also topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Dance Club Songs charts, and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. "Escapade" was notably her sixth consecutive number-one single on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, tying a record previously held by Louis Jordan over forty years prior.[6] The single also reached number one in Canada and Japan, as well as the Top 15 of Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, and New Zealand, as well as the Top 20 in the United Kingdom and Germany, also reaching the Top 25 in Australia and France. However, the song did not have a physical single released in many territories, which affected its chart positions despite strong airplay. Jackson's popularity on music channels such as MTV worldwide also secured her high album sales, with her Rhythm Nation 1814 album more than doubling its domestic sales internationally.

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was directed by Peter Smillie and was filmed in the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood. Set in a Mardi Gras-like carnival. Jackson and her dancers perform choreography in the exotic environment, with several subsequent pop videos using similar themes drawing influence from the clip. It was choreographed by Jackson and Anthony Thomas.[7]

An alternate video for the song, filmed at Los Angeles International Airport, was used as a commercial for Japan Airlines. It shows Jackson and her dancers performing to a backdrop of the then-new Japan Airlines 747-400's, taxiing, taking off, and landing on the runways of LAX.

Live performances[edit]

Jackson has performed "Escapade" on all of her tours, including the Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour, janet. Tour, The Velvet Rope Tour, All for You Tour, Rock Witchu Tour, Number Ones: Up Close and Personal, Unbreakable World Tour, and on the first leg of the State of the World Tour. Jackson included the song on her 2019 Las Vegas Residency Janet Jackson: Metamorphosis. It was also included on her special concert series Janet Jackson: A Special 30th Anniversary Celebration of Rhythm Nation in 2019.


Several artists have been influenced by the upbeat tempo and joyous feel of "Escapade". Britney Spears said she was inspired by the song and Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 album for her eighth studio album Britney Jean, explaining "I wanted to kind of recreate some of Janet's greatest moments that she's had, "Escapade" and that whole era. That's what I wanted to do, just have a lot of uptempos that were just high energy and a lot of fun."[8]

The song appears in the video game ‘’Dance Central 2’’ as downloadable content.

Track listing and formats[edit]

Official versions[edit]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[42] Gold 756,734[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits – Fred Bronson – Google Boeken. ISBN 9780823076772. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  2. ^ "High-Gloss Pop With Spectacle to Spare". New York Times. Pareles, Jon. 2008-11-02. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  3. ^ a b The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Bronson, Fred. 2003. ISBN 9780823076772. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  4. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits: Top Songs and Song Makers, 1955 to 2000. Watson-Guptill. p. 365. ISBN 0-8230-7738-1.
  5. ^ "Janet Jackson – Escapade Sheet Music (Digital Download)". MusicNotes. Alfred Publishing. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  6. ^ Jackson's Number Ones. Halstead, Craig. 2003. ISBN 9780755200986. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  7. ^ Janet Jackson (October 30, 2001). Rhythm Nation Compilation (film). A&M Records. Event occurs at 46:37. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  8. ^ Britney Jean iHeartRadio Album Preview
  9. ^ "Janet Jackson – Escapade". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  10. ^ "Janet Jackson – Escapade" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Lwin, Nanda (2000). Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide. Music Data Canada. p. 140. ISBN 1-896594-13-1.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9243." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 9090." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  14. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 9066." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  15. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 7, no. 15. April 14, 1990. p. 13. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved February 24, 2020 – via American Radio History.
  16. ^ "Janet Jackson – Escapade" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  17. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 10" (PDF). DV (in Icelandic). Vol. 80, no. 82. April 6, 1990. p. 32. ISSN 1021-8254. Retrieved October 6, 2018 – via
  18. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Escapade". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  19. ^ "DOCOMO OSAKAN HOT 100|CHART[YEARLY CHART]". Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Janet Jackson" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  21. ^ "Janet Jackson – Escapade" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  22. ^ "Janet Jackson – Escapade". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  23. ^ "Janet Jackson: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  24. ^ "Janet Jackson Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  25. ^ "Janet Jackson Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  26. ^ "Janet Jackson Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  27. ^ "Janet Jackson Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
  28. ^ "Janet Jackson Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  29. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles – Week ending March 24, 1990". Cash Box. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  30. ^ " – Janet Jackson – Escapade". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  31. ^ "Australian Top 100 Singles Chart 1990 (61–100) (from The ARIA Report No. 50)". ARIA. Retrieved October 10, 2016 – via Imgur.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1990". RPM. Vol. 53, no. 6. December 22, 1990. p. 8. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved February 24, 2020 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  33. ^ "Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks of 1990". RPM. Vol. 53, no. 6. December 22, 1990. p. 17. ISSN 0315-5994 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  34. ^ "Top 50 Dance Tracks of 1990". RPM. Vol. 53, no. 6. December 22, 1990. p. 18. ISSN 0315-5994 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  35. ^ "Hot 100 Songs – Year-End 1990". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  36. ^ "Dance Club Songs – Year-End 1990". Billboard. Archived from the original on February 24, 2020. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  37. ^ "1987 The Year in Music & Video – Top Dance Sales 12-Inch Singles" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 102, no. 52. December 22, 1990. p. YE-31. ISSN 0006-2510 – via World Radio History.
  38. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – Year-End 1990". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  39. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1990 – Top 50 Pop Singles". Cash Box. December 29, 1990. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  40. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  41. ^ "Janet Jackson's most downloaded songs in the U.S." JNTSRB. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  42. ^ "American single certifications – Janet Jackson – Escapade". Recording Industry Association of America. May 11, 1990. Retrieved January 10, 2015.

External links[edit]