Commonly known as the "Electric Slide," the line dance craze that swept America in the '90s actually has its roots in '70s Jamaica. Written and recorded by Bunny Wailer (of Bob Marley's reggae group The Wailers) in 1976, the song first garnered attention when Marcia (pronounced "Mar-see-a") Griffiths, a member of Marley's famous backing group the I-Threes, covered it in 1982 and sent it to the top of the Jamaican charts. But why did the tune take nearly a decade to boogie-woogie its way over to the Billboard Hot 100?
US record execs figured that when reggae god Marley died in 1981, he took any mainstream interest in the genre with him. His son Ziggy Marley proved them wrong with his 1988 album, Conscious Party
, which earned international acclaim with hits like "Tomorrow People
" and "Tumblin' Down," and a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. When a radio station DJ in Washington, DC decided to give "Electric Boogie" a spin in the summer of 1989, it wasn't long before Americans were electric sliding their way through weddings and bar mitzvahs. The track peaked at #51 in January 1990.