The sampled vocals were by The Shining Light Gospel Choir. It was taken from a recording originally made by them in the 1950s. Moby sampled the choir again on a track on his 2002 18 album, ''In My Heart.''
When Play first came out, the reviews were mainly negative. LA Weekly, for instance, scoffed: "There's a song on this album which asks Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? and the reason is because I'm listening to this album."
Play only began to sell when it started being played in clothing shops and appearing on adverts.
The New York Times March 17, 2002 asked Moby what drew him to vintage recordings. He replied: ''With older recordings, most of which were simply recordings of live performances, you get the quality of the room it was recorded in, this ghostly kind of presence, which I like. Also, you can take a source vocal that's very neutral and by changing the chord progression underneath it make it take on a whole other character. You know the song on Play 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?' The song I took the woman's vocal from actually goes 'glad,' not 'bad' - it's an upbeat, happy song. But me being me, I guess, I put these minor chords under it and manipulated the vocal, and it became something else.''
Moby told Rolling Stone that this was written in 1992 "as a really bad techno song. Just mediocre, generic techno." He added: "At some point I rediscovered the song and I tried doing it considerably slower, tried to make it mournful and romantic." Moby went on to say that his manager, Eric talked him into including this song on Play.
This song reached #3 in the German single charts, before sales of Play began to take off. Moby said to Rolling Stone that this song, "for some reason struck a nerve in Germany and became a big hit single over there. I thought that was as far as any success for Play was gonna go."