National treasure “Groove Is in the Heart” turned 25 this month, and the Deee-Lite album it appeared on, World Clique, was released on Aug. 7, so what better time to take a look back at the song?
World Clique was Deee-Lite’s debut album, but “Groove” was originally written in the late 1980s and was played live as early as 1989. The song is built around a few different samples, and though the bass line is lifted from a Herbie Hancock song called “Bring Down the Birds” (from the soundtrack to a Michelangelo Antonioni film called Blow-Up), it’s performed on the recorded version by legendary Parliament-Funkadelic bassist and funk alien Bootsy Collins.
Maceo Parker, another P-Funk alum, plays saxophone and also appears in the video, and Q-Tip, from A Tribe Called Quest, contributes the song’s rap verse.
The patchwork lineup on the song – and on World Clique as a whole – is fitting for Deee-Lite, whose core membership included members from Ukraine and Japan who settled in New York, where they were all involved as DJs in the East Village’s dance and club scene. Check out this video of singer Lady Miss Kier performing at New York’s Irving Plaza in 1989.
“Groove Is in the Heart” was an immediate hit, reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play Chart and No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also hit No. 1 for a week in Australia and was named the single of the year by both NME and The Village Voice. Both the song and album went gold before the end of the year, and though the group couldn’t replicate the success of the album, its members have continued their careers as DJs since then.