Groove Is in the Heart

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"Groove Is in the Heart"
Single by Deee-Lite
from the album World Clique
Released August 1990
Format 7" single, 12" maxi, CD maxi, cassette
Genre Dance-pop, house, disco, funk, hip hop
Length 3:54 (album version)
3:32 (single version [peanutbutter mix])
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Dmitry Brill, Chung Dong-Hwa, Kierin Kirby, Herbie Hancock, Jonathan Davis
Producer(s) Deee-Lite
Deee-Lite singles chronology
"Groove Is in the Heart"
"Power of Love"
Music video
"Groove is in the Heart" on YouTube

"Groove Is in the Heart" is a song by American dance band Deee-Lite. It was released in August 1990 as the lead single from their debut album, World Clique. The song was a hit in many countries, including in Australia where it was a number-one hit.


Though the album version was not recorded until 1990, the song was originally written in the late 1980s; it was performed live as early as 1989.[1] It compares the new feelings of infatuation with hearing a good ("groovy") song. However the word 'Groove' could also represent the grooves of a vinyl record.

The backing track was built around many samples, primarily the main riff from Herbie Hancock's track "Bring Down the Birds" from the Blowup soundtrack and Vernon Burch's "Get Up", which provided the drum track and also formed the basis for the famous breakdown featuring a slide whistle. Parliament-Funkadelic legend Bootsy Collins played bass guitar and provided guest vocals, and the rap is provided by Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest.[2]

Critical reception and chart performances[edit]

Slant Magazine ranked the song second in its 100 Greatest Dance Songs list, adding: "No song delivered the group's world-conscious Word as colorfully and open-heartedly as "Groove Is in the Heart," which flew up the Billboard charts while goosing stuffed shirts".[3] NME and The Village Voice '​s Pazz & Jop annual critics' poll named "Groove Is in the Heart" the best single released in the year 1990.

An immediate smash in nightclubs, the song went to number one on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart and also hit number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It managed to peak at number 1 for one week in Australia in November 1990.

In the UK, the record was equally popular and was released as a double A-side with "What Is Love", and, with the UK single released with the subtitle "peanut butter mix" (because the single was heavily edited and completely omitted the contributions by Bootsy Collins and Q-Tip) it eventually reached number two during September 1990. Its placing second was due to a rule instituted in the UK Singles Chart in the 1980s, which settled any "ties" over chart positions due to equal sales: the single with sales that had increased most from the previous week would reside above the other. In September 1990, "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band and "Groove Is in the Heart" sold enough copies to be the joint number-one, but because of the ruling, Deee-Lite was relegated to the number two spot and "The Joker" topped the chart; this was the first and only time that this ruling had ever been implemented to break a tie for the number one position and the overriding factors which led to the ruling being implemented in this case was that "The Joker" had been one position lower in the chart the previous week than "Groove Is in The Heart", and "The Joker" was therefore deemed to be the bigger-selling of the two. Following the controversy and complaints from Deee-Lite's record company, WEA, the rule was scrapped and joint positions were once again allowed. "The Joker" spent a second week at the Number One spot & thereafter convincingly outsold "Groove Is in the Heart".

Music video[edit]

The song was accompanied by a psychedelic music video, with Deee-Lite, Q-Tip, Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins superimposed over a cartoonish 1960s-style background of various shifting shapes and colors. The video opens and closes with quotes by the band: Lady Miss Kier has an opening dialog consisting of "faux-French" originally spoken in the song's AA-side, "What Is Love?",[4] and the ending features Collins saying, "Don't forget, groove is in the heart, and Deee-Lite have definitely been known to smoke... on stage, that is!" and Lady Miss Kier exclaiming "Deee-groovy!"

Cover versions[edit]

Rick Braun released a smooth jazz cover of "Groove Is in the Heart" on his album Yours Truly (2005, ARTizen Music Group).

American lo-fi group Crocodiles also recorded a cover version of the song, as a medley with the Beach Boys classic "California Girls".

Natasha Bedingfield performed the song at VH1 Divas 2012 concert live with Iggy Azalea performing Q-Tip's rap verse and Bootsy Collins on bass.

Keke Palmer's song "Footworkin'", featured on her debut album So Uncool, features samples from the song.

American retail chain Target Corporation used the song, as performed by Charli XCX with Questlove and Black Thought from The Roots, in a series of 2015 television advertisements.[5]

Samples used[edit]

This is an incomplete list of samples used in the song.[6][7]

  • Bel-Sha-Zaar with Tommy Genapopoluis and the Grecian Knights - "Introduction" from the album The Art of Belly Dancing, 1969 (intro music, vocal sample: "We're going to dance, and have some fun")
  • Herbie Hancock – "Bring Down the Birds" from the soundtrack album Blowup, 1966 (bassline)[8]
  • Vernon Burch – "Get Up" from the album Get Up (drums, crowd noise, slide whistle)
  • Ray Barretto – "Right On" from the album Barretto Power, 1972 (cowbell)
  • Theme from the TV series Green Acres (vocal sample: looped "I" sample ("I-i-i-i-i-i"), sung by Eva Gabor)
  • Ralph MacDonald – "Jam on the Groove" from the album Sound of a Drum, 1976 (percussion)
  • Billy Preston – "Uptight" from the album Wildest Organ in Town!, 1966 (breakbeat under rap by Q-Tip)
  • The Headhunters – "God Make Me Funky" from the album Survival of the Fittest, 1975 (drum fill)

Track listings[edit]


  • Produced and arranged by Dee-Lite for Sampla-Delic Productions
  • Recording and mixing engineer : Mike 'Tweekin' Rogers at D&D Recording
  • Additional engineer : Bob Power at Calliope
  • Dubbed by Tom Steele and Rick Essig at Frankford/Wayne Mastering Labs, 1697 Broadway, NYC 10019
  • Original version from the album World Clique
  • Executive producer and hooker upper : Bill Coleman

Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"Jukebox in Siberia" by Skyhooks
Australian number-one single
November 18, 1990 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers
Preceded by
"Dirty Cash (Money Talks)" by The Adventures of Stevie V
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
August 25, 1990 – September 8, 1990 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Let's Get Busy" by Clubland featuring Quartz
Canadian RPM Dance number-one single (first run)
September 22, 1990 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Oops Up" by Snap!
Preceded by
"Oops Up" by Snap!
Canadian RPM Dance number-one single (second run)
November 3, 1990 – November 10, 1990 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice


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  4. ^ liner notes.
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  33. ^ "American single certifications – Deee-Lite – Groove Is in the Heart". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]