"Le Jerk" was a huge success in the French discothèques. Elia Habib, a specialist of the French charts, considers that this is due to the "modern and lively writing" of the song.
The song tells the story of two characters, Joséphine and Roger, who have a routine life (she works as a secretary while he works in a factory). Both are eagerly awaiting the end of each day to take the bus to go dancing the jerk at 'La Boîte à Gogos'. There, they meet, fall in love, get married and give birth to quadruplets, named Gustave, Alphonse, Arthur and Philibert. Thus, the jerk had saved from their monotonous universe and made them able to discover love.
The song has been accused of plagiarism by the publisher of Jean-Jacques Goldman, as the song's refrain is similar to that of "Quand la musique est bonne". However, the court action was cancelled.
The song is performed with two black female vocalists who appear in the music video.
In France, the single debuted at number 38 on 16 June 1990, on the French SNEP Singles Chart (top 50). It gained some places almost every week and eventually reached number two, on 27 October, in the 20th week. It remained for 17 weeks in the top ten and 27 weeks on the chart, making the song one of the most successful one of the year. The single was certified Gold disc by the SNEP, the French certifier, for over 500,000 copies sold.
According to the Infodisc website, 523,000 copies of the single were sold, and the song is the 509th best-selling single of all time in France.