By the early 2010s, electronic music went from underground club culture to taking over radio as artists hopped on the mainstream EDM surge. LMFAO were one of the decade’s leaders.
Formed by uncle Stefan “Redfoo” Gordy and nephew Skyler “SkyBlu” Gordy (the son and grandson of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy) in 2006, the duo got its start in Los Angeles’ local club scene. With the assistance of friend and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, LMFAO scored a joint deal with will.i.am Music, Cherrytree Records, and Interscope in 2008. The following year, the duo released its debut album Party Rock. The album soundtracked reality show nightlife, with lead single “I’m in Miami Bitch” becoming the theme song for E!’s Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami and “Get Crazy” for MTV’s Jersey Shore.
In 2011, LMFAO’s fusion of hip-hop and EDM exploded with their second album Sorry for Party Rocking, which featured their ubiquitous single “Party Rock Anthem.” Originally meant for Flo Rida, it took the duo from cheap beer-stained beats to a more global-inspired melody (possibly due to working with David Guetta the year prior). Driven by wonky synths, heart-racing drums, and pretty pop vocals from G.R.L.’s Lauren Bennett, it was dancefloor euphoria. LMFAO doubled down on the catchy silliness in the music video, with the signature “Every day I’m shufflin’” beat drop sparking a revival of the Melbourne Shuffle dance craze.
“‘Party Rock Anthem’ has performed so well because, at its essence, it’s extremely well-written,” Cherrytree Records founder Martin Kierszenbaum, told Billboard in 2019. “Woven into its melody, lyric and chord changes are a buoyant joy which will always resonate with human ears and transcend time.”
That resonance made “Party Rock Anthem” utterly inescapable: the song skyrocketed atop the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed there for six consecutive weeks, making it LMFAO’s first No. 1 hit. Sorry for Party Rocking, which also included “Champagne Showers” and fellow US chart-topper “Sexy and I Know It,” entered the Top 10 on various international charts. And in 2018, “Party Rock Anthem” was officially certified Diamond by the RIAA and the sixth-biggest Billboard single of all time.
Outside of charts and radio, the anthem played everywhere from weddings and bachelor parties to car commercials and hit series like Gossip Girl and Parks and Recreation. In 2012, LMFAO performed alongside Madonna during her Super Bowl halftime, delivering a mash-up of Madonna’s “Music” with the duo’s “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It.”
“This whole thing has been just a combination of what we want,” Redfoo told Billboard in 2011. “That was one of the things: to be No. 1 doing the music that we love! And we feel like everybody is a part of our dream – our wet dream.”
In 2012, LMFAO decided to turn on the club lights and announced an indefinite hiatus. They may no longer be making music together, but there’s no doubt that party lovers will be shuffling to the buzzy beat for decades to come.
LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” appeared on 2011’s Now That’s What I Call Music! 39, alongside other club favorites like Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” and The Black Eyed Peas’ “Just Can’t Get Enough.” Looking for more stories behind music’s biggest hits? Check out the Now! That’s What I Call Music page.