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.
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. In September 1990, "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band and "Groove Is in the Heart" sold enough copies to be the joint number-one, but because of the ruling, Deee-Lite was relegated to the number two spot and "The Joker" topped the chart; this was the first and only time that this ruling had ever been implemented to break a tie for the number one position and the overriding factors which led to the ruling being implemented in this case was that "The Joker" had been one position lower in the chart the previous week than "Groove Is in The Heart", and "The Joker" was therefore deemed to be the bigger-selling of the two. Following the controversy and complaints from Deee-Lite's record company, WEA, the rule 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 psychedelicmusic video, with Deee-Lite, Q-Tip, Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collinssuperimposed 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!"
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")