Heartbeat (Taana Gardner song)

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Single by Taana Gardner
Format7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Length9:34 (Club Version)
LabelWest End WES-22132 (US)
Songwriter(s)Kenton Nix
Producer(s)Kenton Nix

"Heartbeat" is a 1981 dance single by Taana Gardner. It was arranged by Dennis Weeden and Kenton Nix, and released by West End Records, with the more famous club mix created by Larry Levan. It reached the Billboard R&B chart at No. 10 and the No. 6 on the dance chart.[3] It has sold over 800,000 copies.[4]


"Heartbeat" is a post-disco song, which runs for 9 minutes and 34 seconds[5] for the 12-inch "Club version" mixed by Levan. It is set in common time and has a tempo of 100 beats per minute.[6] Despite praised for its "hip-shaking, booty-bumpin' beats and rhythms" and hook-ladden lyrics, it was considered peculiar at the time due to its slow tempo, "dizzy" vocal delivery and dissonant accompaniment. Danny Krivit recalls "When [Levan] put ["Heartbeat"] on, a full club of people left the room to get food. There was not one person left on the floor."[7] Levan, known for his musical idiosyncrasies, kept playing the record at the Paradise Garage even several times in an evening until weeks later "no one [was] off the floor when they played ["Heartbeat"]."[7] Because of its atypical "dance music-hostile" tempo numerous DJs find it unsuitable for dancefloors even today.[6]


In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau reviewed the song's 12-inch release in 1981 and gave it an A rating,[8] indicating "a great record both of whose sides offer enduring pleasure and surprise."[9] He dubbed it a "classic one-shot" and "the hottest r&b record in the city right now for two self-evident reasons", stating:

First is the beat, which is like what it says only deeper and more deliberate (in the drums and handclaps) with palpitations (provided by a slow-humping bass). Second is Taana, who'd combine the melodic dislocations of Esther Phillips and the girlish screech of Diana Ross if she had the technical control of either. Because she doesn't, she also recalls another timbre-sister, Shirley Goodman (of & Lee and 'Shame, Shame, Shame'). First I played the 6:30-minute 'party' version; now I prefer the 9:34-minute 'club' version. One-shot, eh?[8]

— Robert Christgau

Allmusic editor Andy Kellman found the song's rhythm "instantly memorable" and recognized its widespread sampling by hip hop producers, stating "Though hip hop fans are just as familiar with that bass line – often put to great use after its original recording — as rock fans are familiar with the guitar riffs of 'Purple Haze,' no song that has referenced 'Heartbeat' comes close to matching it."[10] Kellman also writes that the song's "greatness comes down to Gardner’s vocals just as much as that rhythm", stating:

Her typically sweet delivery knows when to coo and when to growl at all the right moments, riding atop the wave of bass, drums, handclaps, and unobtrusive synth lines that twinkle and zap. Few vocal turns have conveyed the butterflies of love better than this one; in fact, the repeated refrain of 'Heartbeat, it makes me feel so weak' sticks in the head just as much as any other element of the song. Without a doubt – and with or without its status as a constant sampling source – 'Heartbeat' is one of the best pop singles of the ‘80s.[10]

— Andy Kellman

Track listing[edit]

  • US: West End / WES-22132
Side A
1."Heartbeat"Club Version9:34
Side B
1."Heartbeat"Party Version6:30


"Heartbeat" has been extensively sampled in Hip hop music, pop music and dance music:

  • Treacherous Three sampled "Heartbeat" for 1981 Rap song "Feel the Heartbeat"[11]. On "Enjoy Records".
  • T-Ski Valley sampled "Heartbeat" for his 1981 Rap song "Catch The Beat". On "Grand Groove Records".
  • De La Soul sampled "Heartbeat" for the remixed version of 1989 single "Buddy".
  • Eazy-E sampled "Heartbeat" for "Radio" (1988).
  • Ini Kamoze sampled "Heartbeat" for his song "Here Comes The Hotstepper", a #1 song on the American pop charts in December 1994.
  • D'Influence sampled "Heartbeat" for their remix of "Crazy" by Mark Morrison, which peaked at #6 on the UK Singles Chart in 1996.
  • Musiq Soulchild sampled De La Soul's "Buddy (Native Tongues Decision Remix)", and interpolations from the composition "Heartbeat (Kenton Mix)" for his song "B.U.D.D.Y.".
  • Norwegian pop singer Annie based her song "I Will Get On" on Gardner's song "Heartbeat".[citation needed]
  • DMX sampled "Heartbeat" for the song entitled "It's All Good (Love My Niggas)" (1998).
  • Mack 10 sampled "Heartbeat" for his 1998 song, "LBC and the ING", which features Snoop Dogg on the album The Recipe.
  • JX sampled "Heartbeat" for "There's Nothing I Won't Do" (1996).
  • Nationwide Rip Ridaz sampled the whole song on the track titled "Better Watch Your Back (Fucc Slob)".
  • SWV sampled "Heartbeat" for the "You're the One" Allstar Remix.
  • The song appeared in the film 3 Strikes.
  • araabMUZIK sampled and remixed "Heartbeat" on his 2013 instrumental compilation album "The Remixes, Vol. 1".
  • The song has also been featured on the oldies Funk station "Space 103.2" in the big hit video game Grand Theft Auto V.
  • Dutch house duo Homework sampled "Heartbeat" on their 2011 track Hudson Square.
  • Blacksmith sampled "Heartbeat" on their 1998 remix of Tina Moore - Nobody Better (Blacksmith R'n'B Rub).
  • Shinehead sampled "Heartbeat" on his 1992 "Try My Love"

Cover versions[edit]

  • In 1990, Seduction (featuring April Harris on lead vocals) recorded the song peaking at number two on the US dance chart.[12] This version also peaked at number twenty-one on the soul chart and number thirteen on the Hot 100.[13]

Chart performance[edit]

Taana Gardner version[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
U.S. Billboard R&B Singles[3] 10
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play[3] 6

Seduction version[edit]

Chart (1990) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[12][13] 13
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play[12][13] 2
U.S. Billboard R&B Singles[12][13] 21

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Matos, Michaelangelo (20 March 2002). "THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE – Playgroup Reconstructs an Idealistic Aural Snapshot of the Early '80s". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved 27 October 2013. the stripped-down post-disco of club records like Taana Gardner's "Heartbeat"
  2. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Larry Levan – Journey into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 26 October 2014. Taana Gardner's "Heartbeat" (one of the sexiest, sweetest, slowest post-disco singles)
  3. ^ a b c "Allmusic: Taana Gardner - Discography". Allmusic, Billboard. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  4. ^ Flick, Larry (November 14, 1998). "Dance Trax: Humperdinck Takes To The Dancefloor on 'Dance Album'". Billboard, p. 31.
  5. ^ "Heartbeat" 12" single liner notes. West End Records. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  6. ^ a b Paoletta, Michael (Jun 30, 2001). "The Dance Trax Hot Plate". Billboard. 26 (113): 24. ISSN 0006-2510.
  7. ^ a b Brewster, Bill (Jan 14, 2014). Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. p. 301. Grove Pres. ISBN 9780802146106.
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (March 30, 1981). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (1980). "CG 70s: The Grades". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  10. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Heartbeat". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  11. ^ http://www.whosampled.com/.../The-Treacherous-Three-Feel-the-He...
  12. ^ a b c d Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 229.
  13. ^ a b c d Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 516.