Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

A Heart Is a House for Love

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Released  1991
Label  Virgin Records
A Heart Is a House for Love
Genre  R&B, pop, and soul music
Length  6:12 (album version) 4:12 (single version)
"Thought of You Just a Little Too Much" (1988)  "A Heart is a House for Love" (1991)
"A Heart is a House for Love" (1991)  "Come and Get It" (1992)

"A Heart Is a House for Love" (title often confused with "A Heart Is A House Of Love") is a 1991 hit soul and R&B song composed by Tristin and Davitt Sigerson, and Bob Thiele and recorded by The Dells originally featured in the movie and on the soundtrack of The Five Heartbeats film (which coincidentally is loosely based on the real lives of numerous classic male Soul groups such as The Dells, The Temptations, and Jackie Wilson). The song originally only climbed to number 94 on the R&B/Hip Hop section of the Billboard American charts; the song then peaked at number thirteen, after the release of the movie. It was The Dells' most successful hit of the 1990s. It was also their last hit single to reach the top 20 of any Billboard Chart.


The Five Heartbeats

The song was originally featured in the 1991 feature film The Five Heartbeats, which follows the lives of the fictional singing group of the same name. In the scene the song is featured in, the group is about to perform when the announcer tells them backstage that a new house rules demands they use a piano player hired by the owners of the building. The members of the group are offended by the gesture, as they had not practiced with the piano player, and quickly realized this would harm their performance, but their only options are to either perform with this particular piano player or not perform at all. As a result of both the argument provoked by the announcer's previous gesture for The Heartbeats to use the house piano player and the announcer's personal fondness for The Heartbeat's rival group he misleads the audience at the concert hall, claiming The Heartbeats arrogantly bragged they were better than both their rival group and The Temptations right before the Heartbeats are about to perform. The audience boos the Heartbeats as soon as they walk on stage and prepare to perform, the audience then begins to throw different objects at them. The group begins to perform, but the crowd is reluctant to stop their rambunctious behavior and continue to ridicule the band. Robert Townsend's character (Duck), realizing they're going to lose the competition if they continue to perform with the house player in the style their choreographer had previously taught them and tired of his music being altered, then throws the piano player off the stage and plays in his own style while Eddie (the lead singer of the group, portrayed by Michael Wright) sings. The crowd soon applauds as The Heartbeats perform together and the group manages to win the contest despite the announcer's previous attempts.

Movie choreography

While filming the performance of the song the actors mimicked dance steps similar to those originally orchestrated by groups such as The Temptations, and The Pips. The dancers wave their hands slowly to the tempo of the music and actors Michael Wright and Leon Robinson make a hut with their hands that the three shorter performers who portrayed members of The Heartbeats walk under imitating a structure depicted to be a house by the song. After Townsend's character Duck throws the piano player off stage and plays his short piano solo in line with Michael Wright's vocals the group jump down to an area on stage closer to the calmed fictional audience and create a beat to sing to by clapping and snapping their hands. They won.

Song information

The Dells had originally recorded, the actors lip synced the vocals in the movie, however the film increased The Dells popularity with a new audience and as a result the song peaked at number 13 on the charts. The song is well known for the bass lead vocals and harmonic melody of the background vocalist who repeat the title of the song as the chorus. The movie version and the single the Dells recorded are different, though. In the film only the first verse and some of the chorus are song before Duck interrupts the house piano player, the characters then continue to perform a cappella and improvise their vocals to a beat the audience creates after a brief piano solo performed by Robert Townsend's and lead vocals that impressed the fictional audience performed by lead singer Eddie. However the single features no a cappella vocals but instead follows a more traditional and contemporary style. There are three verses in the single leading to the outro (which includes the chorus sung with instrumentals). Although the two versions have two different instrumental and vocal styles the lead singer imitates the same style the fictional character Eddie uses in the movie, most lines are delivered in a tone that straddles between very strong notes that could almost be considered shouting and singing. Both songs end with the chorus (which consist of all vocalist repeating the title), however the Five Heartbeats version consist of improvised vocals consisting of both falsetto vocals and no instrumentals—instead a beat created by the pleased audience—and the single features the Dells repeating the same line as the music and vocals and music fade, similar to more traditional recorded music. The instrumentals of the single version include heavy percussion and even a light guitar melody.

Music video

The music video features the members of The Dells, who recorded both the single featured in the music video and the version featured in the movie. In the music video the group is seen in a music video recording their song, however this scene is interrupted by flash backs including clips from the movie and album covers from both the Dells and the fictional group The Five Heartbeats. This indicates both that The Five Heartbeats actually exist and sang the song, and that the Dells sang the song as well. One of the flashbacks in the video also apparently includes a glimpse into the personal history of the lead singer featuring clips of him both singing and cleaning with what appears to be his girlfriend and then spontaneously stripping off his clothes as she does the same (indicating they're going to engage in sexual intercourse). Although black and white clips are shown of the fictional Five Heartbeats film in the music video none of the choreography is featured. Instead the audience witnesses an aged appearance of the Dells who now stand still while singing the song and attempt to imitate the clapping and snapping portrayed in the movie.


  • Composed by Tristin and Davitt Sigerson, and Bob Thiele
  • Lead Vocals by Marvin Junior
  • Background Vocals by Chuck Barksdale, Verne Allison, Michael McGill, and Johnny Carter
  • Produced by George Duke
  • References

    A Heart Is a House for Love Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!
    Santiago Biglieri
    David Malcolm Orr