photography by Kelly Segré
Vinyl Junkies Making Mixtapes – Sampled Songs Episode 8
Guest : Stone Henman @dependableson
Link to Spotify Playlist…
Notes / Fact Sheet
1. Amen Brother – The Winstons, Sampled in Szamar Madar – Ventian Snares. Most sampled four-bar drum solo of all time.
1960s track called “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons is the most-sampled track in history, and it’s not particularly close. By its count, more than 2,000 songs have sampled a particular drum beat from “Amen, Brother” that’s now known as the Amen Break. As you play the clip below, you can hear the The Winstons’ drummer, G.C. Coleman, play the kick drums, snare drums and cymbals in a funky four-bar pattern.
Artists who have used the break include early hip-hop acts such as N.W.A., electronic music pioneers The Prodigy, the heavy metal band Slipknot, Janet Jackson, David Bowie, Salt n Pepa
Venetian Snares, is a Canadian electronic musician based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is widely known for innovating and popularising the breakcore genre, and is one of the most recognisable artists to be signed to Planet Mu, an experimental electronic music label. His signature style involves meticulously complex drums, eclectic use of samples, and odd time signatures, in particular, – Let Stone explain why he picked this out of the 2200 songs that have sampled from this.
2. I’ve Got a Woman – Ray Charles, 1954, Sampled in Gold Digger – Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, 2005
Ironically This is a re-worked, secular version of a gospel song called “My Jesus Is All the World to Me,” which was the first hit song to use secular lyrics in a gospel style. Some people consider this fusion of R&B, gospel and jazz the first-ever soul record.
In this song, Charles sings about a very supportive woman who helps him out in many ways. In 2005, Kanye West based sampled this for his #1 hit “Gold Digger.” West’s song, however, is about a girl who is after a guy for his money. There’s a bit of a disconnect, as West used Charles’ line “She gives me money, when I’m in need.”
Kanye West found himself being sued in 2013 for using an unlicensed sample from the 1974 song “Bumpin’ Bus Stop” by Thunder & Lightning on this track. The suit claimed that West borrowed a 13-second portion of the track in which band member David Pryor’s voice can be heard exclaiming “Get Down” three times, echoing West’s lyrics “Get down girl, get down, get down.” Pryor’s children, Trena Steward and Lorenzo Pryor, demanded several million dollars in damages as well as a block on future sales of the song.
3. Jessica – Herbie Hancock, 1969 Fat Albert Rotunda, Sampled in Shook Ones, Pt. II – Mobb Deep
The sample is from Herbie Hancock‘s 1969 cult-classic called “Fat Albert Rotunda”. The track used for the Mobb Deep sample is called “Jessica” and only about 3 seconds of it is used. Starts 23 secs in a continues throughout
Havoc had a handful of records scattered around his place, one of which happened to be Herbie Hancock’s “Jessica,” a vinyl he’d lifted from Prodigy’s grandfather Budd Johnson Jr., onetime member of doo-wop group The Chanters. Havoc homed in on a piano melody, slowed it down, and looped it till it resembled a bass sound. “I just had the mind to sample it and rearrange it to what it was,” he explains. “We taught ourselves everything. We was just demons in the studio, watching other producers like Large Professor and Primo—not asking questions, just watching.”
4. Lightworks – Raymond Scott / Dorthy Collins, sampled in Lightworks – J Dilla
Raymond Scott music has been heard mainly because his music is familiar to millions because Carl Stalling adapted it in over 120 Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and other Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. His compositions may also be heard in The Ren and Stimpy Show (which uses Scott’s recordings in twelve episodes), The Simpsons, Duckman, Animaniacs, The Oblongs, and Batfink. The only time he composed to accompany animation was three 20-second commercial jingles for County Fair Bread in 1962.
This article sums it up perfectly by Erik Adam on The A.V. Club…
Raymond Scott’s musical career began in the jazz realm, where the eccentric composer and bandleader turned out distinctively colorful pieces like “Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals” and “Powerhouse”—the latter of which gained immortality as a staple of Carl Stalling’s Looney Tunes scores. But despite working as a member of the CBS Radio orchestra and leading his own cheekily named, six-man Quintette—beating Ben Folds Five to the joke by a good 60 years—Scott did his most important work while trying to eliminate the need for musical collaborators. Toiling away in the musical laboratory he dubbed Manhattan Research, Scott developed some of the earliest synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines, working to push electronic music out of the avant-garde and into the mainstream. It was an effort that ultimately bankrupted the musician and consummate tinkerer, but the strides made by Scott’s inventions like the Clavivox and the unfinished Electronium would put the means for making electronic sounds into the hands of a wider range of artists. (In fact, the guy whose eponymous synthesizer would have the greatest impact on the spread of electronic music, Robert Moog, helped design the circuitry for the Clavivox.)Flash forward to the mid-’00s and the hospital bed of the late James “J Dilla” Yancey. Working with a small sampler and a 45 rpm turntable, Dilla created the majority of his masterpiece, 2006’s Donuts, while hospitalized. With the help of his friends at Stones Throw Records, complications from a rare blood disease and lupus would not slow the prolific producer’s output. A collection of found sound woven into an otherworldly hip-hop collage, Donuts and its myriad samples provided crate-digging archivists with an enticing puzzle to solve. At a level that speaks to the heart more than the head, the album regularly betrays its isolated origins: Confined to a hospital room, Dilla couldn’t be out in the world, experiencing the music that he broke down into donuts. Instead, he made that world, and a whole miniature history of pop music, come to him.It’s only fitting that Raymond Scott provided the building blocks for one of those worlds. Working from two of the advertisements Scott created in order to bankroll his Manhattan Research work (with a little Mantronix mixed in for good measure), “Lightworks” plays like a conversation between two innovators separated by time: Scott provides the Atomic Age bleeps and bloops, which Dilla works like seemingly modern samples. The pre-808 bass is thick but lithe; the sci-fi sound effects of “Bendix 1: The Tomorrow People” sub in for dance-floor klaxons and analog arpeggiators. Scott and Yancey each had a gaze that was fixed on tomorrow, and “Lightworks” is the seemingly impossible intersection of those forward-facing visions. The former got the ball rolling with his one-man band experimentation. J Dilla picked that ball up and placed it at his bedside, where he inflated it, deflated it, and spun it in infinite loops. And then he left it behind for other producers, beat makers, and MCs to play with as they see fit.
5. Mother – John Lennon, 1970, sampled by Double Helix – Death Grips
Lennon wrote this while he was undergoing “Primal Scream” therapy, where he was dealing with a lot of issues that were detailed in the lyrics: He lost his mother at a crucial period in his life to a drunk-driving, off-duty policeman who ran her over in a crosswalk, and his aunt Mimi raised him, which explains the line, “Mother you had me, but I never had you.” His father, a merchant seaman, left him for the sea and for work. “I wanted you, you didn’t need me” explains his feelings about his dad. Lennon’s primal screaming on this song expresses the pain of his childhood.
6. Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed, 1972, sampled on Can I Kick It – A Tribe Called Quest, 1990
This song is about cross-dressers who come to New York City and become prostitutes. “Take a walk on the wild side” is what they say to potential customers. Each verse introduces a new character. There is Holly, Candy, Little Joe, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Jackie. The characters are all cronies of the infamous Andy Warhol Factory, as was Lou.
Hip-hop artists frequently sample this track. The most famous appropriation is by A Tribe Called Quest on their 1990 song “Can I Kick It?”
In a 2011 interview with Hip Hop DX, A Tribe Called Quest rapper Phife Dawg explained that the group has never received royalties from this song because of the Lou Reed sample. Apparently Reed has earned money from the track and though Dawg is thankful he let his group use “Walk on the Wild Side,” he’s disappointed that Reed hasn’t bothered to offer to spread the wealth.
7. Genius Of Love – Tom Tom Club, 1981, sampled on Fantasy – Mariah Carey, 1995
The nimble beat on this song has been appropriated by many other artists, most successfully by Mariah Carey, who used it on her 1995 #1 hit “Fantasy.” It was also sampled by Grandmaster Flash on “It’s Nasty/Genius Of Love,” and by Ziggy Marley on a remix of “Tomorrow People.” Money from earned from the sampling royalties financed future albums from the group.
Fantasy “Genius Of Love,” a 1981 hit by The Tom Tom Club. King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew, who co-wrote “Genius Of Love,” spoke to The Celebrity Café about Carey sampling the track: “You know, the music business is a funny ol’ business. I didn’t even know I was on that record until a fan at a Crimson concert asked me to autograph it. As it turns out, my playing was sampled from the song ‘Genius of Love,’ which I co-wrote with the Tom Tom Club in 1981. In fact, I’ve never met Mariah Carey; but I love the money she sends.”
This was Mariah’s 9th #1 hit in the US. It was also only the second single to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The first was “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson.
8. Double Dutch Bus- Frankie Smith, 1980, sampled on Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
Hip-Hop was born in New York City, but by 1981 its influence extended to Philadelphia, where Frankie Smith used elements of the form to create “Double Dutch Bus,” one of the most unusual songs ever recorded.
Smith was a staff writer at Philadelphia International Records in the ’70s, but he had little impact and was let go. He got back on his feet by recording his first single, “Double Dutch Bus,” where he rapped about a funky bus where everybody’s getting down. Like “Rapper’s Delight” and many other rap songs that were gaining traction, the song tells a clever and self-deprecating story: He misses his bus and has to walk 15 blocks to get to work. But “Double Dutch Bus” has a secret weapon: a hook filled with a kind of pig Latin variation sung by Smith and a group of kids along the lines of:
Mizzo izzay wizzat nizzo yizzou izzay
This was a precursor to Jay-Z’s improvised language in his 2001 hit “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” where he spells out HOVA in izzle-speak:
H to the Izz-o, V to the Izz-A
Snoop Dogg, an old-school aficionado, put his own spin on it, using it as part of his regular speech. Fo shizzle
This song has been sampled a number of times, including on two Hot 100 hits from 2003: “Gossip Folks” by Missy Elliott (#8) and “Step Daddy” by Hitman Sammy Sam (#90). Many others have borrowed elements from it, typically the vocal delivery. Among them: “What’s My Name Pt. 2” by Snoop Dogg and “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani.
Hollaback uses the beat when spelling out Bananas
This was the first song to sell one million legal downloads.
9. Straight to Hell – The Clash, 1982 Combat Rock sampled on Paper Planes – MIA, 2007
Plenty of covers for this song exist, the most popular probably being Moby’s version for the Burning London compilation which also features Heather Nova. British rapper M.I.A. entirely sampled “Straight To Hell” to form the spine of her hit single “Paper Planes,” and when the rap song “Swagga Like Us” featuring Jay-Z, Kanye West and T.I. sampled heavily from “Paper Planes,” The Clash also received writing credits. Mick Jones refashioned the song in 2009 for a War Child: Heroes compilation, and featured Lily Allen on vocals (Allen’s father was Strummer’s best friend).
Musically, Paper Planes is built on a sample of the 1982 Clash song “Straight To Hell,” which also deals with immigration and xenophobia. The sample was Diplo’s idea.
In this song, M.I.A. plays up the stereotype of a menacing illegal immigrant, forging documents and threatening violence. It was inspired by her efforts to enter America on a visa (she is a British citizen of Sri Lankan descent), which resulted in a months-long bureaucratic morass, something she attributed to her dark skin and exotic real name: Mathangi Arulpragasam
10. Pretty Little Ditty – RHCP, 1989, sampled on Butterfly – Crazy Town, 1999
Butterfly samples “Pretty Little Ditty” from The Red Hot Chili Peppers album Mother’s Milk. After writing the lyrics, Shellshock asked his producer to give it a mellow feel similar to “Under The Bridge” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Butterfly was one of the songs targeted by the Federal Trade Commission in 2001 as inappropriate for underage listeners. The commission wanted advertising for this and many other songs to contain parental advisory warnings.
In 2002, this was honored by two different music publishing organizations. Crazy Town belongs to ASCAP, who gave them an award, but because this samples a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, and they are represented by rival company BMI, that organization also honored this. The awards indicate this got a lot of airplay on radio and MTV.
11. Supersonic – JJ Fad, sampled by Fergalicious – Fergie, Will.i.am
J.J. Fad is an American female rap group from Rialto, California. The name was an acronym of the original group members’ given names (Juana, Juanita, Fatima, Anna, and Dania), but when the line-up changed the tradition developed that it stood for Just, Jammin’, Fresh and Def. The group was backed by DJ Train (Clarence Lars).
Due to management and financial disagreements, Cash, Shaheed and Lee quit the group, leaving J.J. Fad as a duo. The remaining original members (Burns and Birks) were joined by Michelle Franklin (Sassy C.) and DJ Train, and together they re-recorded and re-released “Supersonic” in 1988, this time as the A-side. It sold 400,000 copies independently before Eazy and Jerry Heller secured the group a major-label recording contract with Atco Records.
The single was followed by the album Supersonic, produced by Arabian Prince, who made J.J. Fad accessible to pop audiences—unlike many West Coast rappers of the day—by including electro elements in their music. Due to their involvement with Ruthless Records, co-producer credits were added for Dr. Dre and DJ Yella.
“Fergalicious” was written by will.i.am and Fergie, credited as Will Adams and Stacy Ferguson respectively. The song contains samples of “Supersonic” by J. J. Fad and “Give It All You Got” by Afro-Rican. The writers of these two songs, Dania Maria Birks, Juana Michelle Burns, Juanita A. Lee, Kim Nazel, Fatima Shaheed, and Derrick Rahming, receive songwriting credits for “Fergalicious” as a result.
12. Pastime Paradise – Stevie Wonder, 1976 sampled on Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio
This song was not released as a single and was not particularly popular in 1976, but it found a new audience when Coolio revived it, ingeniously swapping the title word “Pastime” for “Gangsta’s.”
“Gangsta’s Paradise” (released on Coolio’s album with the same name in 1995) sampled Wonder’s music in its entirety but changed the lyrics to be about a hopeless feeling in the inner city. Coolio’s take was written for the movie Dangerous Minds, which is about kids struggling to find their way at a school riddled with crime and neglect – his lyrics are written from the perspective of the students.
The first version of “Gangsta’s Paradise” didn’t meet with Stevie Wonder’s approval, as it contained curse words. After Coolio cleaned it up a bit, Wonder jumped on board, and even joined the rapper to perform the song at the 1995 Billboard Music Awards.
It wasn’t Coolio’s idea to use Wonder’s song; a singer named Larry Sanders – who goes by the stage name L.V. (Large Variety) – started working on it and sent a demo to Collio
13. Got To Give It Up – Marvin Gaye, sampled on Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams
Last song because it surrounds controversy…
The long copyright lawsuit over Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines,” and whether it ripped off Marvin Gaye‘s “Got to Give It Up,” reared its head again after supposedly concluding in 2018.
In December of 2019, Gaye’s family filed a motion in federal court alleging Williams lied under oath in the case. The motion points to a November GQ interview in which the “Happy” singer told producer Rick Rubin he “reverse engineered” Gaye’s tune.
“We try to figure out if we can build a building that doesn’t look the same, but makes you feel the same way,” Williams said of his production process in the interview. “I did that in ‘Blurred Lines,’ and got myself in trouble.” Gaye’s family argues this statement shows Williams committed perjury during his deposition in the copyright case, when he stated: “I did not go in the studio with the intention of making anything feel like, or to sound like, Marvin Gaye.”In 2015, a jury found Williams and Thicke liable for copyright infringement, and an appeals court upheld the ruling in 2018, with Judge Kronstadt awarding damages and half of all future royalties for “Blurred Lines” to the Gaye family.
The decision was highly controversial, with many musicians arguing the song was an homage to Gaye rather than a ripoff. Rubin echoes these feelings in the GQ interview, saying, “The song is nothing like the song…The feeling is not something that you can copyright.”
Not to mention all the other issues with this song…