Rhythm Is a Dancer

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"Rhythm Is a Dancer"
Rhythm Is a Dancer.jpg
Single by Snap!
from the album The Madman's Return
Released30 March 1992
GenreEurodance, techno
  • Benito Benites
  • John "Virgo" Garrett III
Snap! singles chronology
"Colour of Love"
"Rhythm Is a Dancer"
Music video
"Rhythm Is a Dancer" on YouTube
Alternative cover
2008 version
2008 version

"Rhythm Is a Dancer" is a song by German eurodance group Snap!. It was released in March 1992 as the second single from their second studio album The Madman's Return (1992). Written by Benito Benites, John "Virgo" Garrett III (aliases for German producers Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti) and Thea Austin, the song was released as the second single from The Madman's Return album on 30 March 1992.

The song was an international success, topping the charts in France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom, it also reached the top-five on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Dance Club Songs chart.[2] It spent six weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart, becoming the second biggest-selling single of 1992, surpassed only by Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You".[3][4]

Lyrics and music[edit]

In the 7" version edit of "Rhythm Is a Dancer", it features a rap verse by Turbo B.

According to Miz hit. tubes, a book which analyses the French pop charts, "This discotheque song alternates female singing in the chorus with fluid, set black male raps in the verses. These are tinted with a resonant sonority, which gives them an astonishingly melancholic softness, for a dance hit; that gives the whole track a particular colour, almost nostalgia."[5]

The rap lyrics on the album version (not the 7" version) are a slightly modified version of the following lines from an essay by John Perry Barlow called "Being in Nothingness Virtual Reality and the Pioneers of Cyberspace".[6]

How very like the future this place might be: a tiny world just big enough to support the cubicle of one Knowledge Worker. I feel a wave of loneliness and head back down, but I'm going too fast. I plunge right on through the office floor and into the bottomless indigo below. Suddenly I can't remember how to stop and turn around. Do I point behind myself? Do I have to turn around before I can point? I flip into brain fugue.

The song was originally released as a bonus track on "The Madman's Return" CD, and did not appear on the initial vinyl release; the rap was replaced by Turbo B when it was decided that it would be released as the second single off of the record.

It also contains what one critic called the worst lyric of all time, "I'm as serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer";[7] the original album version of the song did not contain the line, which is found on the more widely known 7" version edit of the song that was later added to the album. Although Snap! were criticized for the lyric, the line had been used in hip hop music since the late 1980s.[7]

"Rhythm Is a Dancer" contains the hook/riff sample from the 1984 song "Automan" by Newcleus, written in the key of A minor with a tempo of 124 beats per minute[8] in common time. The song follows a chord progression of F–G–Am, and the vocals span from A3 to C5.The bassline groove repeats an A-F-G-A pattern with anticipation quavers. During the rap break the music hangs on Am/A chord/bass combination. [9]

Critical reception[edit]

The Gavin Report wrote about the song: "Two years ago, "The Power" dominated radio both here and abroad. Snap! kind of dropped out of sight since then, and they mark their return with a Euro-Dance sound that's a mega-hit internationally. Sparks fly from start to finish."[10]

Snap! won the 1992 Echo award for the Best Selling Single of the Year with "Rhythm Is a Dancer".[11]

Chart performance[edit]

"Rhythm Is a Dancer" was the second single by Snap! to reach number one in the United Kingdom, the single remained six weeks at the top position in 1992, from 2 August to 13 September.[12] It is their biggest hit single to date, with 492,175 sales during the original UK chart run. A massive hit across the world, it also topped the chart in Germany for ten weeks. In the United States, it peaked at number five in early 1993, and spent a total of 39 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.[13] In France, "Rhythm Is a Dancer" debuted at number five on 8 August 1992, before climbing to number one four weeks later (where it stayed for six weeks); the song thus became the first dance single to hit the number one position on the French Singles Chart.

Snap! themselves re-recorded their own song in 1996 and 2003, the latter with CJ Stone (as "Rhythm is a Dancer 2003"). It reached number 17 on the UK Singles Chart in May 2003. On 25 May 2008, "Rhythm Is a Dancer" re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number 36, climbing as high as number 23 two weeks later. BBC Radio 1 DJs Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates theorized it was based on download performance, due to its inclusion in a television advertisement for Drench water.

Music video[edit]

Austin wearing a latex jumpsuit in the music video for "Rhythm Is a Dancer".

The music video was directed by Howard Greenhalgh and premiered in July 1992,[14] it shows singer Thea Austin and Durron Butler (Turbo B) playing a bass guitar in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's rocket garden filled with smoke. Austin and her group perform the song on elevated platforms while a group of dancers dance on a closed ground platform below them. Interspersed throughout these scenes are animated shots of flickering astronomy/aviation maps and animated figures dancing.

Impact and legacy[edit]

In the 2017 book Stars of 90's Dance Pop: 29 Hitmakers Discuss Their Careers by James Arena, singer Thea Austin said about "Rhythm Is a Dancer":

VH1 placed "Rhythm Is a Dancer" at number 36 in their list of "100 Greatest Dance Songs" in 2000.[16]

MTV Dance placed the song at number four in their list of "The 100 Biggest '90s Dance Anthems of All Time" in November 2011.[17]

On 31 March 2012, "Rhythm Is a Dancer" was chosen "Best Song of the Nineties" in the Nineties Top 99 on the Belgian Radio MNM for the fourth year in a row.

BuzzFeed listed the song number 30 in their "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs Of the '90s" list in 2017.[18]

Covers and interpolations[edit]

"Rhythm Is a Dancer" has been covered by numerous artists including German singer Key Biscayne (aka Lian Ross) in 1992, Italian radio host Leone di Lernia who recorded a parody of the song in Italian,[19] Max Deejay who recorded an instrumental cover in 1997, System Drivers in 2002, The Superb, a Brazilian rock act produced by Chilean DJ Sokio[20] in 2005, Israeli-Italian artist Sagi Rei for his 2005 album Emotional Songs, Chic Flowerz featuring Muriel Folwer in 2006. In 1993 Kids Incorporated covered "Rhythm Is a Dancer" in the Season 9 episode "Teamwork".

Bastille's 2013 single "Of the Night" was a mashup of "Rhythm Is a Dancer" and another 1990s dance classic, Corona's "The Rhythm of the Night".[21]

Appearances in other media[edit]

The song was often used in films or series, including in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 during its third season in 1993, in a scene of the 2010 comedy movie Cop Out; the song was also featured in TV adverts, including in the 1995 ad for the Ford Escort on German television, and in 2008, in a TV commercial in the UK for "Drench" spring water, which features Brains from the 1960s Gerry Anderson puppet series Thunderbirds and used an edited version of the original "Rhythm Is a Dancer", bringing the song back into the UK singles chart on 9 June 2008, at number 23. It was also used by American banking company TD Bank in some commercials in early 2019.

Track listing and formats[edit]

Official versions[edit]

  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (7" Edit) – 3:41
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (12" Mix) – 5:12
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Instrumental Rhythm) – 5:30
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Purple Hazed 7" Edit) – 4:31
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Purple Hazed Mix) – 6:49
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Rhyth Kid Version) – 5:38
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Tee's Choice Mix) – 6:19
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" (Radio Edit)
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" ("Check This Out" Remix) – 7:06
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" (CJ Stone Radio Mix) / (CJ Stone Remix) – 3:49
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" (CJ Stone Club Mix) / (CJ Stone Remix) – 7:45
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003" (Video Version) – 3:20
  • "Rhythm Is a Dancer 2019" (Dandy Deejay Remix) - 6:00



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[45][52] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[53] Gold 25,000*
France (SNEP)[54][55] Gold 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[56] Platinum 500,000^
Italy (FIMI)[57] Gold 25,000double-dagger
Sweden (GLF)[58] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[59] Gold 400,000^
United States (RIAA)[60] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


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External links[edit]