Rhythm Is a Dancer

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"Rhythm Is a Dancer"
Rhythm Is a Dancer.jpg
Single by Snap!
from the album The Madman's Return
B-side "Remix"
Released 30 March 1992
Recorded 1991
Genre Eurodance
Length 5:32
5:16 (12" Version)
3:45 (7" Edit)[1]
  • Benito Benites
  • John "Virgo" Garrett III
  • Thea Austin
  • Turbo B
  • Benito Benites
  • John "Virgo" Garrett III
Snap! singles chronology
"Colour of Love"
"Rhythm Is a Dancer"
"Colour of Love"
"Rhythm Is a Dancer"
Music video
"Rhythm Is a Dancer" on YouTube
2008 cover
2008 version
2008 version

"Rhythm Is a Dancer" is a song recorded by German group Snap!.


It was released in March 1992 and achieved huge success in many countries around the world, topping the charts in France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. It also reached the top 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play Singles.[2] The single spent six weeks at the top in the UK where it was the second biggest selling single of 1992, surpassed only by Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You".[3][4]

The song was the second single from the album The Madman's Return. It was written by Benito Benites, John "Virgo" Garrett III (aliases for German producers Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti), singer Thea Austin, and rapper Durron Butler aka Turbo B and produced by Snap!.

Lyrics and music[edit]

The track features lead vocals by Thea Austin and a rap by Turbo B.

According to Miz hit. tubes, a book which analyses the French pop charts, "This discotheque song alternates female singing in the chorus with fluid, set back male raps in the verses. These are tinted with a resonant sonority, which gives them an astonishingly melancholic softness, for a Dance hit. That gives the whole track a particular colour, almost nostalgia."[5]

The rap lyrics on the main version (not the 7" edit) are a slightly modified version of the following lines from an essay by John Perry Barlow called "Being in Nothingness Virtual Reality and the Pioneers of Cyberspace".[6]

How very like the future this place might be: a tiny world just big enough to support the cubicle of one Knowledge Worker. I feel a wave of loneliness and head back down. But I'm going too fast. I plunge right on through the office floor and into the bottomless indigo below. Suddenly I can't remember how to stop and turn around. Do I point behind myself? Do I have to turn around before I can point? I flip into brain fugue.

The track was originally released as a bonus track on the "Madman's Return" CD, and did not appear on the initial vinyl release.The rap was replaced by another performed by Turbo B when it was decided that it would be released as the second single off of the record.

It also contains what one critic called the worst lyric of all time, "I'm as serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer".[7] The original album version of the song did not contain the line, which is found on the more widely known 7" single of the song that was later added to the album. Although Snap! were criticized for the lyric, the line had been used in hip hop music since the late '80s.[7]

"Rhythm Is a Dancer" is written in the key of A minor with a tempo of 124 beats per minute[8] in common time. The song follows a chord progression of F–G–Am, and the vocals span from A3 to C5.[9]

Thea Austin performing in the "Rhythm Is a Dancer" music video.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Rhythm Is a Dancer" was directed by Howard Greenhalgh and shows singer Thea Austin and Durron Butler (Turbo B) playing a bass guitar in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's rocket garden filled with smoke. Austin and her group perform the song on elevated platforms while a group of dancers dance on a closed ground platform below them. Interspersed throughout these scenes are animated shots of flickering astronomy/aviation maps and animated figures dancing.

Chart performances[edit]

"Rhythm Is a Dancer" was the second single by Snap! to reach No. 1 in the United Kingdom, the song remained six weeks at the top position in 1992, from 2 August to 13 September.[10] It is their biggest hit single to date, with 492,175 sales during the original British chart run. A massive hit across the world, it also topped the chart in Germany for ten weeks, and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in early 1993. In France, "Rhythm Is a Dancer" debuted at No. 5 on 8 August 1992, before climbing to No. 1 four weeks later (where it stayed for six weeks). The track thus became the first dance single to hit the number one position on the French Singles Chart.

Snap! themselves re-recorded their own song in 1996 and 2003, the latter with CJ Stone (as "Rhythm is a Dancer 2003"). It reached number 17 on the UK Singles Chart in May 2003.

On 25 May 2008, "Rhythm Is a Dancer" re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number 36, climbing as high as number 23 two weeks later. BBC Radio 1 DJs Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates theorized it was based on download performance, due to its inclusion in a television advertisement for Drench water.

Impact and legacy[edit]

In the 2017 book 'Stars of 90's Dance Pop: 29 Hitmakers Discuss Their Careers' by James Arena, singer Thea Austin said about "Rhythm Is a Dancer":

I believe "Rhythm Is a Dancer" resonates so powerfully because it is spiritually and creatively blessed. The producers and I had amazing energy and great intent in our creative process. The melodies are hypnotic and make people feel good, like a nursery rhyme that people gravitate towards. The music is so unique in that there was and is no other song that sounds like "Rhythm Is a Dancer". To me, it was a perfect marriage of music and voice. (...) People wanted a song like that back then—something to kickstart their day, free them up. It was a time in life that people were being liberated, like in South Africa or for the LGBT community in the States, and the song represents that liberation for many people.[11]

VH1 placed "Rhythm Is a Dancer" at #36 in their list of 100 Greatest Dance Songs in 2000.[12]

MTV Dance placed the song at #4 in their list of The 100 Biggest 90's Dance Anthems Of All Time in November 2011.[13]

On 31 March 2012, "Rhythm is a Dancer" was chosen "Best Song of the Nineties" in the Nineties Top 99 on the Belgian Radio MNM for the 4th year in a row.

Cover versions[edit]

"Rhythm Is a Dancer" has been covered by numerous artists including German singer Key Biscayne (aka Lian Ross) in 1992, Italian radio host Leone di Lernia who recorded a parody of the song in Italian,[14] Max Deejay who recorded an instrumental cover in 1997, System Drivers in 2002, The Superb, a Brazilian rock act produced by Chilean DJ Sokio[15] in 2005, Israeli-Italian artist Sagi Rei for his 2005 album Emotional Songs, Chic Flowerz featuring Muriel Folwer in 2006. In 1993 Kids Incorporated covered "Rhythm Is a Dancer" in the Season 9 episode "Teamwork".

Bastille's 2013 single "Of the Night" was a mashup of "Rhythm Is a Dancer" and another 1990s dance track, Corona's "The Rhythm of the Night".[16]

Appearances in other media[edit]

The song was often used in films or series, including in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 during its third season in 1993, in a scene of the 2010 comedy movie Cop Out. The song was also featured in TV adverts, including in the 1995 ad for the Ford Escort on German television, and in 2008, in a TV commercial in the UK for "Drench" spring water, which features Brains from the 1960s Gerry Anderson puppet series Thunderbirds and used an edited version of the original "Rhythm Is a Dancer", bringing the song back into the UK singles chart on 9 June 2008, at number 23.

Track listings[edit]

Official versions[edit]

  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (7" Edit) / (Rhythm Is a Dancer '92) – 3:41
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (12" Mix) – 5:12
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Instrumental Rhythm) – 5:30
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Purple Hazed 7" Edit) – 4:31
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Purple Hazed Mix) – 6:49
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Rhyth Kid Version) – 5:38
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Tee's Choice Mix) – 6:19
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" (Radio Edit)
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" ("Check This Out" Remix) – 7:06
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" (CJ Stone Radio Mix) / (CJ Stone Remix) – 3:49
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" (CJ Stone Club Mix) / (CJ Stone Remix) – 7:45
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" (Video Version) – 3:20

Charts and sales[edit]


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External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Ain't No Doubt" by Jimmy Nail
UK number one single
8 August 1992
(six weeks)
Succeeded by
"Ebeneezer Goode" by The Shamen