I’m not sure what made me think of the word groovy this morning. Lord knows it’s not a word you hear often these days. But as I thought about it, I considered how it’s odd how we can refer to the rhythm of a song, as well as channel cut into a surface, as a groove. Sure, sometimes two different words can arrive at the same spelling and sound from different sources, but I assumed that groove in a musical sense was too modern not to be related to the already-existing groove.
So I checked it out, and not unsurprisingly, groove in a musical sense comes from jazz. A band that had great rhythm and co-ordination would be described as being in the groove. You might have already guessed that this is in reference to record players. The band are so together that it’s like they’re the needle of the record player in the record’s groove, moving along smoothly without hesitation. The phrase in the groove naturally got shortened to groovy, and gradually expanded in use to mean cool in general.
Of course by the end of the 70s it had dropped out of fashion somewhat. That I’m sure is simply due to slang terms having a pretty limited lifespan. For example: do people even say swag anymore? At least though, I feel like groovy will live on in our cultural memory, even if we don’t use it. And who knows, vinyl’s popular again, so maybe groovy will make a comeback. Fashion is cyclical, after all.