Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart” Dominated 90’s Club Culture


Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart” Dominated 90’s Club Culture

One thing that unites global clubbers in love and appreciation in a world divided into sub-genres and micro-niches is a well-organized cloakroom and Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart,” which is celebrating its 32nd anniversary this year! The classic single from the New York band is contagious, joyful, and nearly impossible to dislike. Cut “Groove is in the Heart” in two, and you’ll find a mix of springy, melodic funk, and good vibes.
Groove Is In The Heart

In 1986, the band started as a duo with the (romantic) couple Lady Miss Kier (real name Kierin Magenta Kirby) and Super DJ Dmitry (real name Dmitry Brill). Emerging in New York’s nightlife, they performed every month. After purchasing the highly influential Akai Sampler in 1987, they established their own production company, Sampladelic. It did not take long for the group to gain a loyal group of followers. Towa Tei was one of them, and he sent a demo tape to the group. Soon after, he began working with them. Tei joined the band in 1988 and went under the name Jungle DJ Towa Towa.

With their unique blend of house, techno, ambient, and funk, Deee-Lite inevitably made a name in the club scene. Due to the band’s cultural diversity and visual presentation, they became widely popular. The drag-queen movement at the time highly influenced Deee-Lite’s unique look, which went well with their upbeat music. They wore bright colors, feather boas, and high platform shoes, all in the style of the 1970s.
On August 7th, 1990, Deee-Lite released their debut album, World Clique. The hugely successful worldwide hit single, “Groove Is In The Heart,” aided the album’s immense popularity. The song has it all: a great hook, a Herbie Hancock sample, a Q-Tip rap, and even some bass work by Bootsy Collins. It soared to the top of the charts all across the world. Lady Miss Kier said in her liner notes to “World Clique” that the success of “Groove is in the Heart” helped open the minds of the rock music industry to dance music.
“Groove is in the Heart” was a hit in a lot of countries, hitting number one on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was an instant hit in nightclubs. In November 1990, it peaked at number one in Australia for a week while reaching number two in New Zealand. The psychedelic visuals in the music video are impossible to ignore either, and Deee-Lite’s sound was so diverse that they played in hip-hop clubs, house clubs, gay clubs, and straight clubs.

It is a pity that the album houses this one hit, “Groove Is In The Heart.” Even though it’s a fantastic song, it conveys the wrong idea that Deee-Lite is a one-hit-wonder. While they may have eluded further hits of the same scale, Deee-Lite’s moment did not come and go with “Groove is in the Heart.” In 2018, Time Out listed the song at number 23 on their list of “The 100 Best Party Songs.” In the updated list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, Rolling Stone put the track at number 223 in 2021, calling it “a collage across different generations of funkateers.”

Towa chose not to join the other two on their global tours because he wanted to work on the second Deee-Lite album (Infinity Within) from the comfort of his own home, where he kept his records and samples. Towa abruptly quit the band before the group’s third album, Dewdrops in the Garden, and DJ Ani took over. The rocky relationship between Kier and Dmitry came to an end in 1994, as did the band.
“Groove is in the Heart,” however, will be engraved on the group’s reputation as a staple of the best songs of the 1990s, wedding playlists, and dancefloor moments ad infinitum. It’s the kind of sound that will never get old and will always brighten your day. The song embodied the beautiful time when we were all excited about the new music revolution sweeping the world. A time when everyone was letting go of their weapons and shaking their booties. It perfectly captured the moment in one track.

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