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Stranger in Moscow (Released on this day in 1996!)

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

On November 4th, 1996, the sixth and final single from Michael Jackson's HIStory album was released worldwide but not in the United States until July 7th, 1997.

"Stranger in Moscow" was written in a hotel room while Michael was on his Dangerous tour—and has been deemed as 'one of his most personal songs.'

"Stranger in Moscow was written when I was in Moscow on the Dangerous tour, and it was just a strange, eerie, lonely time for me. Outside my hotel was just a sea of faces of fans, chanting and screaming, but I was inside my room and I felt like a Stranger in Moscow, so all alone, like I was the last person on the planet." ~ Michael Jackson."

The chord progression and bassline as Michael sings "How does it feel?"—gives me butterflies in my tummy every time I listen to it. It's a beautiful, sad, yet optimistic song that tugs at my heartstrings—I can feel Michael's loneliness.

''In the song I say ‘how does it feel when you’re all alone, you’re cold inside?’ I say ‘it’s like a stranger in Moscow.’ That’s pretty much how I felt... and, the people were lovely and they were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and the concert was very successful, but that day I just felt this different feeling and the song ''Stranger in Moscow'' just came to me and that’s how that was written." ~ Michael Jackson.

The following is one of my favorite performances of "Stranger in Moscow!" That little laugh and smile at the 3:04 mark gets me every time! So sexy!

As most of you all know, Michael, along with his musical director at the time, Brad Buxer, composed music for Sega's: Sonic the Hedgehog 3—and an instrumental track with similar chord progressions/song structure as "Stranger in Moscow" appears on the game's final credits—take a listen:

The Stranger in Moscow single was also released as a three-part series, each containing different remixes of the original song along with a mix of "Off The Wall." Asides, the original track, which I adore—my favorite remix cut is "Charles Roan's Full R&B mix"—listen here:

(And 'off-topic but not'—if the percussion on the above-listed remix sounds familiar, it's a sample of the Art of Noise's "Moments in Love" (Quiet Storm Mix)—a song I would have loved to see Michael dance to. By the way, "Moments in Love" appears in my MJ Fanfic-Romance story "Law and Lust" during a sexy Michael scene due to it being heralded by some as 'the ultimate love-making song.' Btw, The story takes place in the HIStory era. If interested, here's the song I'm referencing:

P.S. Sorry, I veer off at times, but also, many Michael and Michael-related things are connected in the stories that I write. I just wanted to share some insight on how my brain operates and the inspiration I gather, lol.

But back on track, do you have a favorite mix from the "Stranger in Moscow" single? If so, what's yours? What do you love about the original song? How does it make you feel?

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