Groove Is in the Heart
|"Groove Is in the Heart"|
|Single by Deee-Lite|
|from the album World Clique|
|B-side||"What Is Love?"|
|Deee-Lite singles chronology|
"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.
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.
Critical reception and chart performances
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". 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".
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
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)."
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!"
- 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.
This is an incomplete list of samples used in the song.
- 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")
- 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)
- Lady Miss Kier – lead and background vocals
- Q-Tip – rap
- Bootsy Collins – background vocals
- Maceo Parker – saxophone
- Fred Wesley – trombone
Certifications and sales
- List of number-one singles in Australia during the 1990s
- List of RPM number-one dance singles of 1995
- List of number-one dance singles of 1990 (U.S.)
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- "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.
- "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.