Saltburn sends Murder on the Dancefloor back into top 10

A woman with a stylish beehive haircut wearing a dark green, sparkly party dress sits on the floor of a room with dark brown, retro wood panelling on the walls. Her legs stretch out along a light brown, thick carpet and she leans against a wooden cabinet in the same shade of brown as the walls. A pastel pink and white, old-style rotary phone sits on top of the furniture, completing the retro look of the shot.
Image caption,Sophie Ellis-Bextor first hit the charts with Murder on the Dancefloor in 2001

It’s murder on the dancefloor.

You’ve either been singing those lyrics for years or you might recently have heard them for the first time at the end of Saltburn.

Either way, the twisted thriller from director Emerald Fennell has brought the Sophie Ellis-Bextor classic to a new audience and back into the top 10.

The song features in the eye-popping nude finale starring actor Barry Keoghan, which has inspired a string of viral tributes.

One of those was recorded by Sophie herself, who recreated Barry’s dance moves in a sequined outfit on TikTok.

Paris Hilton also used the track on a video about her secret pregnancy and #MurderOnTheDancefloor currently has over 40 million views on the app.

And in the first official UK chart of 2024, it’s soared all the way to number 8.

The top spot was nabbed by American singer Noah Kahan – whose first chart-topper Stick Season has gained traction since Olivia Rodrigo covered it in Radio 1’s Live Lounge.

Murder on the Dancefloor last saw chart success when it peaked at number 2 in December 2001, and Sophie tells BBC Newsbeat it’s “beautiful” that new audiences are finding it.

“It actually feels really magical. And if I’m honest, I don’t think I’ve completely processed it really,” she says.

“It’s extraordinary. It’s a song I’ve been singing for over 20 years, I still love singing it.

“I love the way people react when I do it live.

“But for new people to be discovering it, for it to be making new memories with people is kind of beautiful.”

Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi smiling, with arms around each other on a black background. Barry is wearing black with jacob wearing a yellow shirt and black striped blazer.
Image caption,Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi play friends Felix and Oliver in the film

Of course, it isn’t the first time a film or TV show has introduced tracks from the past to a whole new audience.

Stranger Things famously sent Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill to number 1 in the UK, 37 years after it was released.

And the Barbie movie put 90s alt-rockers Matchbox Twenty back on the radar thanks to a scene where the Kens, gathered with their guitars, belt out the band’s 1997 ballad Push.

Singer Rob Thomas has said he thought the band would end up being the “butt of the joke” when they agreed to let the song be used.

But while Sophie knew exactly how Murder would be used when director Emerald Fennell asked for her permission to include it in Saltburn, she didn’t expect it to re-enter the charts.

“One of the things I never prepared for is the fact that when you release anything into the world, any new music, it goes off and has its own journey,” she says.

“And you’re along for the ride a bit, it also goes places you’re not expecting to go.

“So what’s happened with the song and how it’s got new people who weren’t even alive the first time it came out listening to it, it’s just spectacular.”

Saltburn’s streaming release just before Christmas was undoubtedly a factor in Murder’s second chart stint.

It seems the song featured on more than a few New Year’s Eve playlists, as Spotify says 31 December was the track’s best-ever day on the service with 1.5 million streams.

And it also hit a similar record on find-that-song app Shazam, where it was searched for more than ever on 1 January.

You’ve probably seen horror stories of people who regretted sitting down to watch Saltburn with their families during the holidays.

And Sophie says she wasn’t immune from awkward sofa moments thanks to some of the film’s provocative scenes.

She watched it at a screening, sat in between her mum – a former Blue Peter presenter – and her 19-year-old son Sonny.

“I wasn’t worried about my mum, I was worried about how my son was feeling about being between his mum and his grandma while he’s watching all these scenes,” she says.

“But he was fine. He was like ‘that was in my top 10 favourite films I’ve ever seen’.

“I was sort of projecting my worry on him but I did have my head in my hands at least twice during the film – you can probably guess the two bits when.”

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