|Single by Earth, Wind & Fire|
|from the album Raise!|
|B-side||"Let's Groove" (Instrumental)|
|Released||October 21, 1981|
|Length||5:35 (album version)
4:01 (radio version)
|Writer(s)||Maurice White, Wayne Vaughn|
|Earth, Wind & Fire singles chronology|
"Let's Groove" is a song performed by American group Earth, Wind & Fire, taken from their studio album Raise!. Written by Maurice White and Wayne Vaughn (with additional production by White), the song was chosen as the first single from the studio album. Within the late '70s and early '80s, the disco music genre was receiving severe backlash within hate groups and anti-disco campaigns. Within this period, the band decided to revive the disco sound that was later included on their previous works and records. Musically, "Let's Groove" is a post-disco and funk song which includes instrumentation of synthesizers and keyboards along with live electric guitars.
Originally, "Let's Groove" received mixed reviews from music critics, where many praised its catchiness, while some felt it was generic within its timeline of the disco era. However, many contemporary reviews have been well-received, many citing it as memorable and a great disco influenced song. The song was a commercial success, with it being their highest-charting single in various territories. The song peaked inside the top twenty in countries including the United States, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and other component charts in America.
Background and composition
Prior to the production of Raise! and the song, the group had started to revive contemporary disco and funk music, as it declined within the late 70s. While the band's albums I Am (1979) and Faces were critically and commercially acclaimed for reviving disco influenced composition, this was the same exact era where disco music was in fear of scrutiny and criticism. By the late 1970s, a strong anti-disco sentiment developed among rock fans and musicians, particularly in the United States. The punk subculture in the United States and United Kingdom was often hostile towards disco. Eventually, when the group released I Am which included strong disco elements, July 12, 1979 became known as "the day disco died" because of Disco Demolition Night, an anti-disco demonstration in a baseball double-header at Comiskey Park in Chicago.
Musically, "Let's Groove" is recognized as a post-disco song, due to its heavy electronic production that is handled by synthesizers, keyboards and electric guitars. According to White, he said after its release "It's really just knowing the feelings and fundamentals involved in producing a hit. Just like writing a story. It's not less honest than a piece of jazz. Take the new record, 'Lets Groove.' It's real honest. We just went in and done it - a natural giving thing. Just saying, Hey man, enjoy this with me. Share this with us."
"Let's Groove" received mixed reviews upon its release. Ed Hogan from AllMusic gave the song a separate review and was mixed to favorable. He said, "He brought in guitarist Roland Bautista and began co-writing, with Emotions member Wanda Vaughn and her husband Wayne Vaughn, a song that reflected the then-emerging electronic sound of the '80s. Not to be confused with the same-named hit by Archie Bell & the Drells, "Let's Groove" certainly was a change. Starting off with a robotic-sounding vocoder riff, it served up a more gritty-sounding EWF for the '80s, laced with Brecker Brothers-supplied horn blasts that rival those of EWF's 1976 gold single 'Getaway'." However, reviewing from the parent album, William Ruhlmann gave it a more less positive remark, calling it a recycled mid-tempo tune from the mid-'70s, and everything else sounded desultory and uninspired. He, however, highlighted as an album standout.
More recent reviews have been more acclaimed. Maxine Nelson from Yahoo! Voices listed the song at number 10 on the Top 10 Earth, Wind & Fire Songs list, saying "This is a classic EWF funky dance song." Soultrain.com gave it a positive review while celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011, stating "“Let’s Groove” has cinched such a nostalgic place in musical history that it is undeniably worthy of being honored [...]" While reviewing Now, Then & Forever, Daniel Falconer said "Eager fans will want to indulge in the deluxe version of the compilation, which includes the timeless disco and soul anthem classics 'Boogie Wonderland', 'Let's Groove', 'September', 'After The Love Has Gone', 'Fantasy' and 'Shining Star'."
The song peaked at number three in the US and in the UK It also spent eight weeks at number one on the Hot Soul Singles chart in late 1981 and early 1982 and was the second R&B song of 1982 on the year-end charts.
The single sold over a million copies in the US and has been certified gold by the RIAA as until the RIAA lowered the sales levels for certified singles in 1989, a Gold single equaled 1 million units sold. "Let's Groove" was also certified silver in the UK by the British Phonographic Industry.
The music video of "Let's Groove" was the first video ever to be played on Video Soul on BET. The video, rich with vintage electronic effects, was created by Ron Hays using the Scanimate analog computer system at Image West, Ltd.
|1981||NME||UK||Singles of the Year||16|
Charts and sales
Sales and certifications
"Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)" by Kool & the Gang
|US Billboard Hot Soul Singles number-one single
November 28, 1981 – January 16, 1982 (8 weeks)
"Turn Your Love Around" by George Benson
|Single by CDB|
|from the album Glide with Me|
|Certification||Platinum (in Australia)|
|CDB singles chronology|
The song was covered in 1995 by the Australian R&B band CDB, where it went platinum reaching number two in the Australian Singles Chart and number one in New Zealand chart.
- "Let's Groove"
- "You Will Be Mine"
- "Let's Groove" (Summer Groove)
- "Let's Groove" (Instrumental)
|Year||Single details||Peak chart positions|
"How Bizarre" by OMC
|New Zealand number-one single
February 18, 1996 – March 3, 1996 (3 weeks)
"Wonderwall" by Oasis
Other covers and samples
The band B5 also made a remix of the song.
Vitrico also sampled this in 'Coconut'.
Mexican hip hop band Calo uses like a musical core in their song "La Taquiza"
Appearances in other media
- The song has been featured in the films The Waterboy, Drumline and Kronk's New Groove.
- This song is also featured in the Japanese PlayStation party game Iwatobi Penguin: Rocky × Hopper.
- In the second episode of the TV series That's My Bush!, "A Poorly Executed Plan", the song is featured in a running gag, where old frat buddies of George W. Bush sing this song together.
- It also makes an appearance in Scarface: The World Is Yours, under '80s music.
- The song is also available as downloadable content on the popular Xbox 360 game Lips.
- The song is in the movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian starring Ben Stiller.
- Earth, Wind and Fire performed the song on the 2009 TV Land Awards Show.
- Used in the trailer for the Disney movie The Emperor's New Groove.
- Covered by B5 forKronk's New Groove (the original version is used during the movie, while the cover can be heard during the credits).
- Also featured in the comedy movie Super Bowlin'.
- Also featured in the movie Ninjago: Rebooted. The Nindroids performed the song.
- Jones, David Allun. "Rio en Medio "Let’s groove (Earth Wind & Fire cover)"/ Peggy Sue "All n my grill (Missy Elliott cover)"". Mixtape Maestro. Retrieved July 3, 2013. "EWF managed to score one last great hurrah with 1981′s feel-good “Let’s Groove”, a post-disco disco epic carefully crafted to reference the band’s previously winning sound"
- Kringel, Chris (2004). Hal Leonard Funk Bass: A Guide To The Styles And Techniques Of Funk Bass, Including 20 Great Bass Jams To Study And Play. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-0-6340-6710-5.
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- Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Culture, ISBN 978-0-415-16161-9, ISBN 978-0-415-16161-9 (2001) p. 217: "In fact, by 1977, before punk spread, there was a 'disco sucks' movement sponsored by radio stations that attracted some suburban white youth, who thought that disco was escapist, synthetic, and overproduced."
- Campion (2009), pp. 82–84.
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