The Jeffersons was a spinoff of All in the Family in which the Bunkers' black next-door neighbors moved to a "deluxe apartment in the sky." This gospel-tinged song described their progression "on up." The show ran 1975-1985 and starred Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford. Roxie Roker, who played their neighbor Helen Willis, is the mother of Lenny Kravitz.
The gospel choir consisted of 35 black churchgoers. Despite the choir, the song is often covered by garage bands.
Ja'net Dubois wrote this song with the legendary songwriter Jeff Barry, who also sang backup vocals. Barry and his wife, Ellie Greenwich, composed several popular songs such as "Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Hearts?," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Then He Kissed Me," "Baby I Love You", "Be My Baby
," "The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget," "I Can Hear Music," and "River Deep, Mountain High."
Dubois said of this song: "I know about black folks movin' up. I've been there."
DuBois played the role of Willona Woods on another black sitcom, Good Times. Good Times was a spinoff of Maude, which like The Jeffersons, was a spinoff of All in the Family.
The Jeffersons featured TV's first mixed-married couple, a white husband and a black wife. It had its own short-lived spinoff, Checking In.
This is commonly played at sporting events when a team which has previously been doing poorly makes a startling comeback and hence moves back "up" to its previous status.
Nelly sampled this for his song "Batter Up" (the title was inspired by the line in this song, "Now it's our turn at bat"). "Batter Up" was a spoof of the media's enthusiasm for sports and also featured St. Lunatics and Murphey Lee.
When the first season of The Jeffersons was released on DVD, it was called "Movin' On Up." (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for all above)
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, rapper Ludacris said, "That's every black person's favorite TV theme, because we movin' on up!"
This featured in commercial for Apartments.com that aired during the 2016 Super Bowl. In the spot, Jeff Goldblum (in character as Brad Bellflower) is hoisted up a building as he plays this song on a piano. On one floor, he spots a guy dressed like George Washington standing next to the rapper Lil Wayne (known as Weezy), and asks, "Is that George and Weezy," to which Wayne replies, "Who else would it be?" Turns out they're grilling beans, since as we known from this song, beans don't burn on the grill.