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03 June 2007

Blood On The Dance Floor (1997)

Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix is a remix album by Michael Jackson released in 1997. The tracks on the album included eight remixes of songs from Jackson's previous album HIStory - Past, Present and Future, Book I, and five original songs ("Blood on the Dance Floor", "Morphine", "Superfly Sister", "Ghosts" and "Is It Scary"). Jackson dedicated the album to Sir Elton John to thank him for the support Elton had given him during Jackson's struggle with addiction to prescription painkillers.


On April 2, 1997, the debut single from the album, "Blood on the Dance Floor", was released in Europe. The single peaked at #1 on the UK Singles Chart. The U.S. release of the single was less popular peaking at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #19 on the R&B chart.

The second single from the album was "Ghosts", and included the official remix of "HIStory" as a double A-side track. On May 8, 1997, Jackson, in collaboration with director Stephen King, made a 40-minute short film titled Ghosts. The film premiered at the 50th Annual Cannes Film Festival. The short film was positively received by critics who attended the premiere screening. The short film helped propel the single to #5 in the UK.

"Is It Scary" was planned as a third single but was never officially released (as of 2006 only a few promo singles remain). The song was intended to be the theme song for Addams Family Values, but this didn't happen in the end. It was also featured in the Ghosts short film.

It has been rumoured that the track "Superfly Sister" is written about the abusive relationship between his sister LaToya Jackson and Jack Gordon.

On May 14, 1997, the album was released worldwide, and was given a platinum award from the RIAA in October 2000. Worldwide, the album has sold an estimated 6 million copies. It is listed as the biggest-selling remix album ever.

Track listing

1. "Blood on the Dance Floor" – 4:14
2. "Morphine" – 6:28
3. "Superfly Sister" – 6:27
4. "Ghosts" – 5:13
5. "Is It Scary" – 5:35
6. "Scream Louder (Flyte Tyme Remix)" – 5:26
7. "Money (Fire Island Radio Edit)" – 4:22
8. "2 Bad (Refugee Camp Mix)" – 3:33
9. "Stranger in Moscow (Tee's In-House Club Mix)" – 6:53
10. "This Time Around (D.M. Radio Mix)" – 4:04
11. "Earth Song (Hani's Club Experience)" – 7:55
12. "You Are Not Alone (Classic Club Mix)" – 7:37
13. "HIStory (Tony Moran's HIStory Lesson)" – 8:00

Chart Information & Sales

Highest Chart Position: UK #1 USA #24
Current Sales Award: UK Platinum USA Platinum
Current Sales Figure: Over 300,000 sold Over 1 million sold
Latest Official World Sales Figure: 4 million (as of late 1997).
Current Best Estimate World Sales: 6 million.

Chart Run

UK (top 75) & USA (top 100) chart run:
UK: #1,1,4,12,22,31,35,39,21,10,15,21,27,40,58,64,out
USA: #24,43,65,92,out

Other Countries sales figures:

Australia: 70,000+
Brazil: 100,000+
France: 325,000+
Japan: 180,000+

The Story behind the Success

Blood On The Dance Floor was released in May 1997, during the second leg of the HIStory tour. It's release was a bonus, as it was originally intended to be a promotion-only disc for radio stations. However it blossomed into a full album, and combined some of the best remix's from HIStory disk 2, with 5 new tracks.

The 'new' tracks were not all fully new however; Blood On the Dance Floor was recorded during the Dangerous sessions, and Is It Scary was recorded as (and was intended to be) the theme tune for the second Adams Family film. However due mainly to the allegations of 1993, this was not to be... Instead, this track, along with Ghosts (which actually shares some lyrics) featured in the short film, "Ghosts". Morphine, and Superfly Sister, were possibly recorded during the HIStory tour.

Early sales were strong, especially in Europe, where the HIStory tour was currently playing, and the album made #1 in the UK, Holland, France, Spain, Denmark, Turkey, India, and New Zealand. It reached #2 in Australia, Israel, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Norway and Austria. As of late 1997, the album had sold 2 million copies in Europe (a good success for what was, primarily, a remix album). In the USA, due mainly to almost zero promotion, no tour, and poor radio performance of the single, the album stalled at #24 in the main album chart, and #16 in the R&B chart (it went on, however, to sell over a million copies in the USA, which is reasonable considering the total lack of promotion).

Long term sales were disappointing when compared to Michael's previous albums; the album did not stay in the charts around the world for long, due mainly to long-term lack of promotion. It sold around 5-6 million copies worldwide (extremely poor when compared to Michael's previous albums), but for a remix album, this made it the best seller of all time (one must realise that a remix album would generally only be bought by big Michael fans who wanted to enjoy remixes of HIStory's new material).

Could It Have Done Better ?

Blood On The Dance Floor had strong initial sales, but these declined rapidly due to only 1 or 2 singles being released around the world. Similarly, the "Ghosts" film had very little exposure, and in fact was never even seen by most of the record buying public.

It is a shame that more singles were not released, since both Blood On The Dance Floor, and HIStory/Ghosts did well in nearly all the countries where they were released (Is It Scary was a huge #1 radio hit in Africa). Is It Scary is generally accepted as the best new song off the album, and this could, surely, have been a huge success. Morphine could also have been a big hit.

One can only wonder what on earth Sony were thinking... These 2 extra singles could have kept Blood On The Dance Floor in many album charts for at least another 6 months.

Similarly, the stunning "Ghosts" film should have been made available for broadcast on TV stations around the world (it seems that Sony either did not want to put this out on general release, or were asking too much money for the broadcast rights). A real shame; Michael had clearly gone to huge efforts in making the film, for it then to be seen in it's entirety by only a handful of fans (who did buy it in the countries where it was available).

With proper promotion, this album could have, and would have sent Blood On The Dance Floor's and HIStory's sales rocketing. Blood On The Dance Floor could probably have hit at least 10 million copies worldwide.

However, it wasn't to be, and one can only hope that Sony (and, perhaps, Michael himself) learn from their mistakes.

The future of Blood on The Dance Floor

Unless Ghosts is put on general release at some point in the future, it is difficult to envisage Blood On The Dance Floor selling many more copies than the usual back-catalogue sales. It was not part of the back-catalogue re-release in 2001 (nor would one have expected it to be). The album is thus unlikely to enjoy a future large sales surge, although it will undoubtedly keep selling as Michael continues to make new fans around the world.


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