Let's Groove

Album: Raise! (1981)
Charted: 3 3
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  • "Let's Groove," produced by Earth Wind & Fire's eternal lead man Maurice White, was the last Top 10 Billboard hit for the group and their second-to-last appearance in the Billboard Top 40. This is also right at the end of their "classic" period, before they went on an eight-year hiatus. The song is about losing yourself in the music, which in the hands of Maurice White is a more spiritual message than you might think. The groove can take you to a place of positivity and presence, and you can find it right on the dance floor. Allee Willis, who wrote "September" with White, told us that the chorus of that song goes "bada-ya" because White never let a lyric get in the way of a groove.
  • Maurice White was very good at adapting the Earth, Wind & Fire sound to changing times, making them one of the few bands that was successful before, during, and after the disco era. White was going after a big audience with this song, and he found it. Shortly after it was released, he explained to NME: "It's really just knowing the feelings and fundamentals involved in producing a hit. Just like writing a story. It's not less honest than a piece of jazz. Take the new record, 'Lets Groove.' It's real honest. We just went in and done it - a natural giving thing. Just saying, Hey man, enjoy this with me. Share this with us."
  • That synthesized voice sound was created using a device called a vocoder, which predates Auto-Tune by decades. A year earlier, Roger Troutman and his band Zapp had an R&B hit with "More Bounce To The Ounce," which was very heavy on the vocoder. Other hits to use it include "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra and "Radio Ga Ga" by Queen.
  • The album Raise! is certified platinum. Not only did the single "Let's Groove" sell a million copies, but another song from this album, "Wanna Be With You," won a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group. So it was a pretty well-rounded success for the group.
  • The "Let's Groove" single and the album Raise! both sport cover art with Egyptian themes. The goddess-like figure here isn't anybody in particular, but may have been based on the goddess Isis). If you notice a lot of Egyptian themes in and around the disco era in the US, that's because the whole country was going through an Egyptian fad. (A milestone was Steve Martin's 1978 novelty hit "King Tut." By the time of the Bangles' 1986 hit "Walk Like An Egyptian" it was more retro.)

    This craze was sparked in part by the ancient Egyptian treasures of King Tut being re-discovered, and then reintroduced to the world in 1977 via a world museum tour. Earth Wind & Fire festooned their act with a lot of Egyptian symbolism right down to their logo. Modern New Age believers right around this time adopted "Pyramid Power," even down to two books with that identical title appearing in the 1970s written by two different authors.
  • The video to this song was the first one ever played on Video Soul, a popular show on the BET cable network.
  • According to The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll, there was a semi-serious rivalry between Earth Wind & Fire and Funkadelic. Actually, it was one-sided, given George Clinton's Dr. Funkenstein persona and his habit of dissing other groups right on his album's covers. Said Clinton of Earth Wind & Fire: "Earth, hot air, and no fire."
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