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Tennessee (Arrested Development song)

"Tennessee" is the title of a number-one R&B single by alternative hip hop group Arrested Development, from its album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of.... The song contains a sample of Prince's "Alphabet St.". The music video for the song was directed by Milcho Manchevski and shot in Georgia, with friends of the group and people from the local area appearing in the clip. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1993. A recent[when?] poll of VH1 viewers placed the song at number 71 on the list of the "Greatest Songs of the 90s" and is listed as one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was ranked number 78 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop. The song also served as the theme to the short-lived Malcolm-Jamal Warner sitcom Here and Now.

Arrested Development - Tennessee.jpg
Single by Arrested Development
from the album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of...
ReleasedMarch 24, 1992
Format7-inch single, 12-inch single, CD, Vinyl
GenreAlternative hip hop[1]
LabelChrysalis/EMI Records
Songwriter(s)Todd Thomas, Aerle Taree
Arrested Development singles chronology
"People Everyday"
Music video
"Tennessee" on YouTube


Speech was inspired to write the song after meeting up with his brother at his grandmother's funeral in Tennessee. Shortly afterward, his brother died suddenly from a bad asthma attack,[2] and Speech wrote the song about the experience of losing two loved ones so close together[3] The song uses a sample from Prince's "Alphabet Street" which was not cleared ahead of time. Prince's lawyers waited until after the song sold well and then charged the group $100,000 for the use of said sample.[3] Speech later said he felt Prince gave him "a break" by demanding a single payment instead of co-writing credit on the song, which would have entitled Prince to a share of all royalties in the future.[4]

Track listingsEdit

[5]US Maxi-CD

  1. Tennessee (The Mix) 4:33
  2. Tennessee (Remix) 4:40
  3. Tennessee (For DJs Only) 2:15
  4. Tennessee (Dubb Mix) 4:40
  5. Natural 4:19


  1. Tennessee (Edit)
  2. Tennessee (Remix)
  3. Fishin 4 Religion (Live)
  4. Mama's Always On Stage

Australia Maxi-CD

  1. Tennessee (Remix) 4:48
  2. Tennessee (For DJs Only) 2:18
  3. Tennessee (Dubb Mix) 4:45
  4. Natural 4:19

Chart performanceEdit

"Tennessee" topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks for one week and peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the United Kingdom, the song spent a seven-week run on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number forty six, but after the top ten successes of both "People Everyday" and "Mr. Wendal" on the chart, it was re-released in 1993, charting for a further six weeks and peaking at number eighteen.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[23] Gold 500,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dawes, Kekeli (October 18, 2012). "Q&A: Arrested Development's Speech discusses evolution of hip-hop". Daily Nebraskan. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  2. ^ Unsungmusical documentary program on TV One cable channel, airdate Monday 13 August 2012
  3. ^ a b "Speech of Arrested Development Interview". Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Why Arrested Development wouldn't exist without Prince". Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Arrested Development – Tennessee". Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  6. ^ " – Arrested Development – Tennessee". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 2014." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  8. ^ " – Arrested Development – Tennessee". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  9. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 34, 1992" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  10. ^ " – Arrested Development – Tennessee" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  11. ^ " – Arrested Development – Tennessee". Top 40 Singles.
  12. ^ " – Arrested Development – Tennessee". Singles Top 100.
  13. ^ " – Arrested Development – Tennessee". Swiss Singles Chart.
  14. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  15. ^ "Arrested Development Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "Arrested Development Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Arrested Development Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Arrested Development Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Tennessee". Irish Singles Chart.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  22. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1992". Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  23. ^ "American single certifications – Arrested Development – Tennessee". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 7, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit