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Earth, Wind & Fire - Let's Groove (1981)

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  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.14
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

“Let’s Groove” is a song by the American band Earth, Wind & Fire from their eleventh studio album ...

“Let’s Groove” is a song by the American band Earth, Wind & Fire from their eleventh studio album Raise! (1981). Written by Maurice White and Wayne Vaughn, and produced by White, the song was chosen as the lead single from the album.

In the very late 1970s and early 1980s, disco music was undergoing a severe backlash. In spite of this, the band decided to revive the disco sound that was later included on their previous works and records. Musically, “Let’s Groove” is a post-disco, pop and funk song which includes instrumentation of synthesizers and keyboards along with live electric guitars.

The song was a commercial success, and was the band’s highest-charting single in various territories. The song peaked inside the top 20 in countries including the United States, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and other component charts in America.

Critical reception

Ken Tucker of Rolling Stone described Let’s Groove as “city music” where “the horn section screams like a car running a red light.” Ed Hogan from AllMusic noted that White “brought in guitarist Roland Bautista and began co-writing, with Emotions member Wanda Vaughn and her husband Wayne Vaughn, a song that reflected the then-emerging electronic sound of the ’80s. Not to be confused with the same-named hit by Archie Bell & the Drells, “Let’s Groove” certainly was a change. Starting off with a robotic-sounding vocoder riff, it served up a more gritty-sounding EWF for the 1980s, laced with Brecker Brothers-supplied horn blasts that rival those of EWF’s 1976 gold single ‘Getaway’.” People though said that the album’s “biggest disappointment is Let’s Groove, yet another gotta-boogie tune.” Jordan Bartel of The Baltimore Sun noted that the song was “quite possibly the funkiest thing to come out of the early 1980s”. Richard Williams of The Times wrote “Let’s Groove, the bass-heavy new single, is a reliable pointer”. Whitney Pastorek of Entertainment Weekly declared that “I actually love this song, especially the little computer voice in the background, like Pac-Man has come to life to boogie just for me!”

NME placed Let’s Groove at number 16 on their Singles of the Year list of 1981. “Let’s Groove” was also Grammy nominated in the category of Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

Commercial performance

The song peaked at number three in the US and in the UK. It also spent eight weeks at number one on the Hot Soul Singles chart in late 1981 and early 1982 and was the second R&B song of 1982 on the year-end charts.

The single sold over a million copies in the US and has been certified gold by the RIAA as until the RIAA lowered the sales levels for certified singles in 1989, a Gold single equaled 1 million units sold. “Let’s Groove” was also certified silver in the UK by the British Phonographic Industry.

Music video

The music video of “Let’s Groove” was the first video ever to be played on Video Soul on BET. The video, heavy with vintage electronic effects, was created by Ron Hays using the Scanimate analog computer system at Image West, Ltd.

The whole style of the music video later went on to influence Bruno Mars’ “Treasure”.

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