Herbie Hancock

Rockit

Composed by Bill Laswell / Herbie Hancock / Michael Beinhorn

Song Review by

The theme for breakdancers everywhere during the early '80s, "Rockit" proved the second time in Herbie Hancock's career that the jazz wizard proved surprisingly capable of grasping the commercial direction of R&B and measurably widening his audience. The first time, his 1973 album Head Hunters, Hancock became an electronic funkster and one of the best-selling jazz musicians in history. Just under a decade later, he set up shop near the intersection of jazz, industrial-funk, and hip-hop (the latter just beginning its rise to success). Producer Bill Laswell assembled a studio band including the talents of a young hip-hop DJ named Grand Mixer D.ST. At a time when virtually every American could barely fathom the idea of "playing" turntables, D.ST added a few deft scratches to the heavily mechanized arrangement. In keeping with Hancock's obvious focus on musicianship, the single was actually recorded live in the studio, with Hancock's keyboards and rigid synthesizer lines over D.ST's scratching and all. When the song was released in late 1983 as a single and on Hancock's Future Shock LP, it hit the Top Ten in Britain. Though it barely managed to hit the American charts at all, "Rockit" became a massive underground hit, especially in New York.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Future Shock 1983 Sbme Special Mkts.
No Image 1983 CBS Records
Sound-System 1984 Jazz
Club Columbia: A Collection of Classic Dance Mixes 1990
Various Artists
Columbia 5:23
Street Jams: Electric Funk, Vol. 1 1992
Various Artists
Rhino 5:21
Playboy's 40th Anniversary: Four Decades of Jazz 1953-1993 1993
Various Artists
Verve 5:24
It's Electric 1994
Various Artists
Double Power / Sony Music Entertainment 3:21
Mastercuts: Classic Electro, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Flute Distribution
80's Dance Party, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
SPG
Grammy's Greatest Moments, Vol. 4 1994
Various Artists
Atlantic 3:09
The Best Funk Album in the World..Ever 1995
Various Artists
Virgin 5:23
Only Dance: 1980-1984 1995
Various Artists
Rhino / JCI Associated Labels 3:41
Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame Box Set 1995
Various Artists
Interscope / MCA 3:55
Sounds of the Eighties: The Rolling Stone Collection, 1983-1985 1995
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:24
80's Dance Party [Sony] 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:25
Street Jams: Electric Funk, Vols. 1-4 1996
Various Artists
Rhino
Old School, Vols. 1-5 1996
Various Artists
Thump Records
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:23
De Pre Historie: De Jaren 80, Vol. 2 (1983) 1998
Various Artists
Eva 3:40
The Greatest Hits of the '80s, Vol. 10 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 5:26
80's Dance Party [4CD Set] 1999
Various Artists
SPG 5:27
Back in tha Day, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:56
The Ultimate Grammy Box: From the Recording Academy's Collection 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:24
Best Hip Hop Anthems Ever 1999
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 3:37
Jazziz: October 1999 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
The Best of Herbie Hancock: The Hits 2000 BMG / Sony Music
Millennium of Pop 2000
Various Artists
Import 3:55
The Best of Ken Burns Jazz 2000
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music / Verve 3:56
Old School Hip Hop [Thump] 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:40
Toronto Raptors: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City Sports Records / Alphabet City 5:22
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 3:20
Mr. Funk 2001 Columbia 5:24
Real Disco 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:55
Greatest Hits of the 80's [Sony] 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:26
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:38
Disco Dance 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:24
Zoolander 2001
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 5:26
Funkology 2001
Various Artists
WEA International 3:41
Electro Breakdance: Real Old School Revival 2002
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 3:39
The Herbie Hancock Box 2002 Sony Music
No Image 2002 Sony Music 5:24
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Vol. 5: Wildstyle 2002
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution 5:22
Future 2 Future Live 2002 Sony Music Distribution 5:04
Electro Beatbox 2002
Various Artists
Deca Dance (UK) 5:20
Electric, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Columbia
Hip Hop Don't Stop (Greatest) 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:39
Most Fun You've Had All Decade: 80s 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:56
The Definitive Electro & Hip Hop Collection 2004
Various Artists
Universal International 3:42
Funk Soul Anthems 2005
Various Artists
BMG 3:23
Crossover Eleven: Time After Time 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
No Image 2005
Various Artists
ZYX Music
The Essential Herbie Hancock [Columbia/Legacy] 2006 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 5:27
Funk It Up and Dance 2007
Various Artists
Hudson Street
Now That's What I Call the 80s 2008
Various Artists
RCA / Sony BMG / Universal Distribution / Zomba / Sony Music Distribution 3:38
Ministry of Sound: Ultimate Street Dance 2008
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 4:28
Then and Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock 2008 Verve 4:05
Future Shock/Head Hunters 2008 Legacy 6:18
Playlist: The Very Best of Herbie Hancock 2008 Columbia/Legacy 7:57
Ultimate Breakdance 2009
Various Artists
Ministry Of Sound 3:20
Feel Good 80s 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:24
Ashes to Ashes, Series 3 2010
Original Soundtrack
Sony CMG / Sony Music Entertainment 3:39
The Imagine Project 2010 Hancock / Hancock Records 4:59
Ministry of Sound: 80s Groove -- Old Skool Funk Soul Classics 2010
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:41
The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988 2010 Columbia 5:28
Work It Out! [Sony] 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:48
Jazz Roots: The Music of the Americas 2011
Various Artists
Masterworks / Masterworks Jazz 3:42
360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 5:24
Anthems Electronic 80's, Vol. 3 2012
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:39
Greatest Ever! Electric Eighties 2013
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 3:41
100 Hits: 80s Weekender 2013
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:39
Electric 80's [Rhino] 2014
Various Artists
Rhino 4:14
Pure... Electronic '80s 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:22
100 Hits: Funk 2014
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:41
80s Mix 2014
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:39
Synth Pop 2015
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:55
100 Hits: Pure '80s
Various Artists
100 Hits / Demon Records / Edsel 3:56
Out of Range: Funky Sounds from Beyond the Bandwidth
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
No Image
Various Artists
Digital 3:43
The '80s [Sony]
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:24
No Image
Various Artists
Legacy
blue highlight denotes editor's pick