Groove Is in the Heart

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"Groove Is in the Heart"
Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart single cover.png
Single by Deee-Lite
from the album World Clique
B-side"What Is Love?"
  • 3:54 (album version)
  • 3:32 (single version [peanutbutter mix])
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, reaching number one in Australia.


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]

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 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 four on the Billboard Hot 100. It peaked 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, controversially giving "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band the top place. Following complaints from Deee-Lite's record company, WEA, the rule, of which this had been the only case, was scrapped and joint positions were once again allowed. "The Joker" spent a second week at the number one spot and thereafter convincingly outsold "Groove Is in the Heart".

Music video[edit]

The song was accompanied by a psychedelic music video, with Deee-Lite (in late 1960s outfits), Q-Tip, Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins superimposed over a cartoonish late 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?", 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!" (itself sampled by Deee-Lite in the song) and Lady Miss Kier exclaiming "Deee-groovy!"

Impact and legacy[edit]

VH1 placed "Groove Is in the Heart" at No. 67 in their list of "100 Greatest Songs of the 90's" in 2007.[4]

Pitchfork named it the 59th best track of the 1990s. They wrote: "With their sass-tastic frontwoman and kitsched-to-death fashion sense, Deee-Lite probably seemed like a good bet at a time when pop's future was still up for grabs. If you were a kid in the 'burbs, they almost resembled a Daisy Age hip-hop group (the day-glo/flower-power look, the Q-Tip guest rap) as much as a house act (a strange urban subculture we had little access to in junior high)."[5]

In 2011, The Guardian featured the song on their "A history of modern music: Dance".[6]

In April 2017 the single was re-released on pink vinyl, as part of Record Store Day with remixes of "What Is Love?" on the B-Side.[7]

BuzzFeed listed the song number 3 in their "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s" list in 2017.[8]

And in 2018 Time Out listed the song number 23 in their list of "The 100 best party songs", adding: "In this tale of New York's anything-is-possible East Village of the late '80s, a trio of candy-coloured club kids – Super DJ Dmitri, Lady Miss Kier and Towa Tei – decide to form a band. The threesome (with a little help from ringers Q-Tip, Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins) come up with 'Groove Is in the Heart', a sweetly innocent percolator of a tune that, against all odds, becomes the worldwide club smash of 1990. True story!"[9]

Cover versions[edit]

Samples used[edit]

This is an incomplete list of samples used in the song.[11]

  • Bel-Sha-Zaar with Tommy Genapopoluis and the Grecian Knights - "Introduction" from the album The Art of Belly Dancing, 1969, Gateway: GSLP 3527 (intro music, vocal sample: "We're going to dance, and have some fun")
  • Herbie Hancock – "Bring Down the Birds" from the soundtrack album Blow-Up, 1966 (bassline)
  • 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)
  • Hateful Head Helen — "Hateful Head Helen", 1989 (vocal sample: "blulululu")

Track listings[edit]

  • 2017 Record Store Day Re-Release
A1. "Groove Is in the Heart" (Meeting of the Minds mix)
A2. "Groove Is in the Heart" (Peanut Butter mix)
A3. "Groove Is in the Heart" (Jelly Jam Beats)
B1. "What Is Love?" (Holographic Goatee mix)
B2. "What Is Love?" (Frenchapella)
B3. "What Is Love?" (Rainbow Beard mix)


Credits adapted from the album liner notes for World Clique.[12]

Chart performance[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Metzger, Richard (April 4, 2013). "Bringing the Funk from the East Village to the Global Village: Vintage Deee-Lite performances". Dangerous Minds. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  2. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott; Schreiber, Ryan, eds. (November 2008). The Pitchfork 500. Simon & Schuster. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-4165-6202-3.
  3. ^ "100 Greatest Dance Songs". Slant Magazine. January 30, 2006. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  4. ^ "VH1 : 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  5. ^ "The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s". Pitchfork. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  6. ^ "A history of modern music: Dance". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  7. ^ Savage, Mark (21 March 2017). "Record Store Day: Our pick of the 10 Best Releases". BBC News Online. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  8. ^ Stopera, Matt; Galindo, Brian (March 11, 2017). "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the '90s". BuzzFeed. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "The 100 best party songs". Time Out. March 8, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  10. ^ "Questlove, Black Thought, and Charli XCX cover "Groove is in the Heart" — listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  11. ^ "Les samples de Deee lite" (in French). Du-bruit. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  12. ^ World Clique (liner notes). Deee-Lite. Elektra. 1990. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  13. ^ "Deee-Lite – World Clique – Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  14. ^ " – Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  15. ^ " – Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  16. ^ " – Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  17. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 1343." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  18. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9112." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  19. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  20. ^ a b " – Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  21. ^ " – Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  22. ^ "Top 10 in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 7 no. 51. December 22, 1990. p. 52. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Groove Is in the Heart". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  24. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1990" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Deee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  26. ^ " – Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  27. ^ " – Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  28. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  29. ^ " – Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  30. ^ "Deee-Lite: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  31. ^ "Deee-Lite Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  32. ^ "Deee-Lite Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  33. ^ "Deee-Lite – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  34. ^ "Deee-Lite Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  35. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Pop Singles – Week ending NOVEMBER 24, 1990". Archived from the original on October 7, 2012.. Cash Box.
  36. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Singles 1990". ARIA Charts. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  37. ^ "Top 50 Dance Tracks of 1990". RPM. Vol. 53 no. 6. December 22, 1990. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  38. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1990" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  39. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1990" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  40. ^ "End of Year Charts 1990". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  41. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1991". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  42. ^ "Australian Fun Countdowns – Accreditation Awards". Australian Fun Countdowns. April 7, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  43. ^ "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. 
  44. ^ "British single certifications – Deee-Lite – Groove Is in the Heart". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Groove Is in the Heart in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]