Deee-Lite

Deee-Lite was an American house and dance music group formed in New York City. The group’s best-known single is “Groove Is in the Heart”, which was released in 1990 from their debut studio album World Clique (1990), and was a top-ten hit in multiple countries. In December 2016, Billboard ranked them as the 55th most successful dance artists of all time. The band began in 1986 as a duo in New York City with Lady Miss Kier (born Kierin Magenta Kirby) primarily on vocals and Supa DJ Dmitry (born in Ukraine as Dmitry Brill) as the DJ, but became a trio when Jungle DJ Towa Tei (Japanese-born Dong-hwa Chung) joined the group in 1988.

Initially, Kier and Dmitry performed their songs monthly in numerous downtown NYC nightclubs from 1986 onwards. In 1987, Kier bought the Akai sampler, which influenced their sound tremendously, hence the name of their production company: “Sampladelic”. From the band’s inception, Kier designed the posters and club invites and was also the graphic designer for all three albums and 12″ singles. The band played in both hip-hop and house clubs, and both gay and straight clubs, including Wigstock and opening for Native Tongue Movement’s De La Soul and Jungle Brothers. As described in Rolling Stone, “they were drawing vivid, multiracial, pan-sexual crowds…”. Part of the band’s appeal was its inclusiveness, as noted by Mademoiselle magazine “as a group, they’re a festival of individuality; as a band, they’re a party anyone can attend”

“Groove Is in the Heart” is a song by American dance band Deee-Lite. It was released in August 1990 as the lead single from their debut album, World Clique. The song was a hit in many countries, reaching number one in Australia.

Though the album version was not recorded until 1990, the song was originally written in the late 1980s; it was performed live as early as 1989. The backing track was built around many samples, primarily the main riff from Herbie Hancock’s track “Bring Down the Birds” from the Blowup soundtrack and Vernon Burch’s “Get Up”, which provided the drum track and also formed the basis for the breakdown featuring a slide whistle. Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins provided guest vocals, and the rap is provided by Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest.

AllMusic editor Ned Raggett wrote in his review of World Clique, “Its reputation may rest on only one hit single — but what a hit. ‘Groove Is in the Heart’ defined the summer of 1990 on radio and MTV with its delicious combination of funk, modern dance sheen, and Lady Miss Kier’s smart, sharp diva ways. Add in guest vocals and bass from Bootsy Collins (a pity his hilarious video cameo wasn’t represented here), brass from the original Horny Horns duo of Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker, and a smooth mid-song rap from A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, and the results sounded good then and now.” Bill Coleman from Billboard commented, “Sometimes you can believe the hype. Hot New York underground dance trio more than lives up to prerelease push with this sizzling groove’n’sample funk jam, kicked into gear by the sultry and charismatic vocal presence of future diva Lady Miss Kier.” He also added, “”Groove” is, well, very groovy. A house-paced track with a hip-hop sensibility”. Matt Stopera and Brian Galindo from BuzzFeed noted that it is a “perfect little slice of the early ’90s New York club scene.” Bevan Hannan from The Canberra Times described the song as “good fun”. David Giles from Music Week said it’s a “fine single”. He added, “Pure Seventies funk with a Niteties groove.” Helen Mead from NME stated that it is “playfully funky”. The magazine also called it a “pretty faultless collage of G-Funk, Daisy Age hip-hop, salsa and dippy disco.” People noted it as “hopping”. Ross Grady from The Rice Thresher said it is “one of the creamiest slabs of vinyl ever to come from the house music scene.” Slant Magazine ranked the song second in its 100 Greatest Dance Songs list, adding: “No song delivered the group’s world-conscious Word as colorfully and open-heartedly as ‘Groove Is in the Heart,’ which flew up the Billboard charts while goosing stuffed shirts”. Caroline Sullivan from Smash Hits wrote that the “ripping floor filler” has “got the samples and twiddly electronoises so necessary for dancefloor success nowadays, but there’s also a hummable melody and sense of humour about it all.” NME and The Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop annual critics’ poll named “Groove Is in the Heart” the best single released in the year 1990.

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