From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Single by Herbie Hancock
from the album Future Shock
Released June, 1983
Recorded 1982
Genre Electro[1][2]
Length 5:27 (Album Version)
3:54 (Single Version)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Herbie Hancock
Bill Laswell
Michael Beinhorn
Producer(s) Bill Laswell

"Rockit" is a composition recorded by Herbie Hancock. It was released as a single from his 1983 album Future Shock and became his first million-selling Gold single as well as his signature hit. The composition was written by Hancock, bass guitarist Bill Laswell, and synthesizer/drum machine programmer Michael Beinhorn.


Constructed and composed during the recording process at various studios, including Martin Bisi's in Brooklyn NY, the composition is the first recognized popular single to feature scratching and other turntablist techniques, performed by GrandMixer D.ST - an influential DJ in the early years of turntablism.

Some years later turntablists such as DJ Qbert and Mix Master Mike cited the composition as 'revelatory' in the documentary film Scratch, inspiring their interest in the instrument. The single was a major radio hit in the United Kingdom and a popular dance club record in the United States.

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by duo Godley & Creme[3] and featuring robot-like movable sculptures (by Jim Whiting) dancing, spinning and even walking in time to the music in a "virtual house" in London, England, garnered five MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, including Best Concept Video and Best Special Effects. Hancock himself appears and plays keyboard only as an image on a television, which is smashed on the pavement outside the front door of the house at the end of the video.

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • It was studied for the music and art portion of the 1990-1991 Academic Decathlon competition. The musical focus for that year was Music of the Post-World War II era.
  • It is featured in the 1986 Soviet film Office Boy, where young people break dance in the street. This version of B.T. & The City Slickers was produced only once in Breakdance.
  • It appears in the film Zoolander, where it is used to break Derek's hypnotism during the finale catwalk scene.
  • It was used for the radio program "Showboat" on Soccer AM.
  • It was covered by jazz group Re:Jazz, on their 2006 album Expansion.
  • It was featured on season 3, episode 4 of 30 Rock during a brief moment when NBC page Kenneth is shown street-dancing for side cash.
  • It was featured on The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XVI. It shows a robot playing it on a synthesizer whilst a pair of robotic legs are dancing in time to the music, parodying the music video.


Chart (1983) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[5] 7
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6] 4
Canada (RPM 50 Singles)[7] 9
France (SNEP)[8] 9
Germany (Media Control AG)[9] 6
Ireland (IRMA)[10] 13
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[11] 8
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[12] 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[13] 7
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 10
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 4
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 8
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 71
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[17] 1
US Billboard Hot R&B Singles[17] 6
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles[17] 14


  1. ^ Vladimir Bogdanov (2003). Backbeat Books, ed. All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip-Hop. p. 8. ISBN 978-0879307592. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "The - The Prodigy review - Dirtchamber". The Jussi Lahtinen. Retrieved 19 July 2013.  "Herbie Hancock's electro anthem 'Rockit'"
  3. ^ Jon Wiederhorn; Corey Moss (26 August 2002). The Influence Of VMA Breakthroughs. Retrieved 8 May 2009. 
  4. ^ YouTube: "Synthesizer Medley at the 1985 Grammys"
  5. ^ "Herbie Hancock – Rockit –" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  6. ^ " – Herbie Hancock – Rockit" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 40, No. 10, May 12 1984". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste". Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc (in French). 19 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.  You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Herbie Hancock"
  9. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche –" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". IRMA. Retrieved 19 July 2013.  Only one result when searching "Rockit"
  11. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Herbie Hancock - Rockit search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  12. ^ " – Herbie Hancock – Rockit" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  13. ^ " – Herbie Hancock – Rockit". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  14. ^ " – Herbie Hancock – Rockit". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Herbie Hancock – Rockit –". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  17. ^ a b c d "Future Shock awards at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Do It Again Medley with Billie Jean" by Slingshot
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
27 August 1983 – 17 September 1983
Succeeded by
"Holiday" / "Lucky Star" by Madonna