The Story of... 'Murder On The Dancefloor' by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

10 January 2024, 17:27

'Murder On The Dancefloor' has been a huge hit twice for Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
'Murder On The Dancefloor' has been a huge hit twice for Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Picture: Polydor

By Thomas Edward

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"DJ, gonna burn this goddamn house right down".

That's exactly what Sophie Ellis-Bextor's swirling disco-pop hit 'Murder On The Dancefloor' did when it was given a spin on the decks.

Its irresistible bubblegum hook could muster some hip-shaking from even the most stoic of disco deniers.

Understandably so, it was a major hit for Sophie Ellis-Bextor upon its release, making her a global sensation for a short period of time.

But who wrote 'Murder On The Dancefloor'? What's the song about? Why has it been charting again all of a sudden? Here's all you need to know:

What is 'Murder on the Dancefloor' about?

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Murder On The Dancefloor (as featured in Saltburn)

'Murder On The Dancefloor' is certainly more wicked than its pastel disco-pop exterior would initially suggest.

A song about underhanded tactics to win a dance competition is perfectly illustrated in its accompanying music video.

Throughout, Sophie Ellis-Bextor sabotages the competition for her own gain, decked out in vibrant green eye shadow and pristine, femme fatale red lipstick.

Poisoning fellow contestants and flirting with the judges whilst singing the lyrics with a wink, it's hilarious in its horror undertones.

Who wrote 'Murder On The Dancefloor'?

Sophie Ellis Bextor in 2001. (Photo by Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty Images)
Sophie Ellis Bextor in 2001. (Photo by Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty Images). Picture: Getty

2000s pop master Gregg Alexander in fact wrote the lyrics for Sophie Ellis-Bextor's disco-pop floor-filler.

Alexander was initially the singer-songwriter of the band New Radicals, who had a 1998 worldwide with their debut single 'You Get What You Give'.

After leaving the band, he pursued songwriting for other artists, and was the man behind songs from the likes of Sir Rod Stewart, Texas, Enrique Inglesias, Geri Halliwell, and Ronan Keating as well as Ellis-Bextor.

His fingerprints were all over the pop hits of the era, and Alexander was eventually rewarded for his work when he won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration in 2003 for 'The Game Of Love' which was recorded by Santana and Michelle Branch.

When was 'Murder On The Dancefloor' released and how did it perform?

The single artwork for 'Murder On The Dancefloor'.
The single artwork for 'Murder On The Dancefloor'. Picture: Polydor

'Murder On The Dancefloor' was released on Sophie Ellis-Bextor's debut album, Read My Lips, in 2001.

It was the second single from the album, after the release of Cher cover 'Take Me Home' having burst into the charts the year prior with guest vocals on Spiller's number one single 'Groovejet (If This Ain't Love).

Without doubt, 'Murder On The Dancefloor' was Sophie Ellis-Bextor's greatest international success, reaching the top ten of music charts around the world, namely the UK, Australia, Ireland and France.

It even helped Sophie break the US, peaking at No.15 on the US Billboard Dance Charts.

In Europe, the disco-pop track took the title for most-played song throughout 2002, and stayed in the Australian charts for twenty weeks where it eventually went platinum.

Why is 'Murder On The Dancefloor' back in the charts?

Viral On The Dancefloor: Sophie Ellis-Bextor On Her Hit Song Going Viral After 'Saltburn' | Lorraine

Sophie Ellis-Bextor's perfect slice of disco-infused dance-pop was on the end of an unlikely resurgence in 2024.

After featuring in the climax of Emerald Fennell's 2023 satirical drama Saltburn, 'Murder On The Dancefloor' has been given the Kate Bush 'Running Up The Hill' treatment.

Going viral on TikTok and being discovered by an entire new generation of music fans, Sophie's 2001 hit re-entered charts around the world and had its best ever day of streams on New Year's Day according to Spotify.

There's even a TikTok trend of people filming themselves dancing around their houses - replicating the finale of Saltburn - which Sophie herself has mucked in with too.

Even the film's star Richard E. Grant posted a video of him lip-synching along to the infectious song for his 603k Instagram followers.