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Groovy (or, less common, "Groovie" or "Groovey") is a slang colloquialism popular during the 1960s and 1970s. It is roughly synonymous with words such as "cool", "excellent", "fashionable", or "amazing", depending on context.
The word originated in the jazz culture of the 1920s, in which it referred to the groove of a piece of music and the response felt by its listeners. It is a reference to the physical groove of a record in which the pick-up needle runs. Popular culture heard it at least as early as 9/30/41 on the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, when band leader Billy Mills, used it to describe his summer vacation. 1942 movie 'Miss Annie Rooney' features a teenage Shirley Temple using the term as she impresses Dickie Moore with her jive talk & jitterbug moves. It first appeared in print in Really the Blues, the 1946 autobiography of the jazz saxophonist, Mezz Mezzrow. The word appears in advertising spots for the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street. The term in its original usage had largely vanished from everyday use by 1980.
In a 1947 78 rpm recording of "Open The Door, Richard" sung by Walter Brown with Tiny Grimes Sextet, 'Richard' says "... and everything's groovy!" when refusing to open the door.
Starting in the 1960s, variations of the word "Groovy" were used in the titles of several popular songs, including:
- "Movin' and Groovin','" a 1962 song by Sam Cooke
- "A Groovy Kind of Love," a song written in 1964 by Toni Wine and Carole Bayer Sager, and first popularized a year later by The Mindbenders, and also recorded in the 1980s by Phil Collins.
- "We've Got a Groovey Thing Goin'", the flip side of the 1965 hit single "The Sounds of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel
- "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)", a 1966 song by Simon & Garfunkel
- "Somebody Groovy," a song from the 1966 debut album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears by The Mamas & the Papas
- "Groovin','" a 1967 song by the Young Rascals
- "Workin' on a Groovy Thing, a 1968 song by Neil Sedaka
- "Groovy Grubworm, a 1969 song by Harlow Wilcox
- "Groovy Situation", a 1970 hit song by Gene Chandler
- "Groovin' With Mr. Bloe", a 1970 hit by Mr. Bloe
- "Groovy Movies," a song by The Kinks released in 1973 on The Great Lost Kinks Album
- "Groovy Times," a 1979 song by The Clash
It later made its way into the titles of albums, such as Groovy Decay, a 1982 album by Robyn Hitchcock, and Groovy, Laidback and Nasty, a 1990 album by Cabaret Voltaire. Examples of band names include Groovy Aardvark from Canada, the The Groovy Little Numbers from Scotland, and Groovy Rednecks and the Flamin' Groovies from the USA.
By the early 1970s, the word was commonplace in American TV commercials aimed at young audiences, as exemplified by the slogan "Feeling groovy, just had my Cheerios."