Famous Samples In Electronic Music

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If we had to guess what the most used technique by electronic music producers over the last thirty years, sampling would be it. The ability to grab a great drum break and turn it into a loop, or speed up a riff and make a new song out of it all changed the face of music making. Today we’re sharing some of our favorite top sampled tracks as inspiration for the next great samplers – read on and add your own!

TRACKS THAT WERE SAMPLED

These tracks are famous on their own – but have been sampled time and time again by other tracks throughout the years.

Fingers Inc – Can You Feel It

This Finger Inc track famously includes Chuck Roberts discussing the meaning and future of house music in this famous track, which you might know better by the opening line, “In the beginning, there was Jack, and Jack had a groove”. Some might call this the first “deep house” track.

Here’s just a few tracks that sampled this famous original – with our suggestions for more interesting modern takes on this one in bold (Have a favorite we missed? Leave a comment!):

Nightcrawlers – Push The Feeling On

It’s worth noting that a fair amount of “inspiration” on this track must have come from Robin S’ “Show Me Love“, released two years earlier in 1990. Was it sampled, or was the Nightcrawlers’ John Reid completely unaware of the track he was pulling from?

Sampled by:

Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body

You’ll recognize this track from a number of other prominent samplers – specifically:

Chicago – Street Player

Probably one of the most prominent chains of sampling, this Chicago classic ended up in The Bucketheads track below – which then only added to the amount that the original continued to be sampled. Pretty crazy how some of these chains start to build up:

FAMOUS TRACKS THAT SAMPLED

Bingo Player’s – Cry (Just A Little) 

Ever wondered who the vocals behind this track belonged to? It’s Brenda Russell’s “Piano In The Dark”.

Fatboy Slim – Praise You

One of the oddest samples we found – Fatboy Slim actually sampled Walt Disney’s disco version of “It’s A Small World After All” – now that’s serious vinyl digging!

DJ Shadow’s Midnight In a Perfect World

Shadow is of course the godfather of sample digging- with Entroducing… having brought the process to a new level of artistic respect. Sometimes listening to the original track provides a fascinating context of just how much already was there. In this case, you can hear most of the inspiration behind “Midnight In A Perfect World” in the original by Pekka Pohjola – The Madness Subsides

DAFT PUNK

These guys probably deserve to be on a class all of their own for sampling – check out this video comparing each of their tracks on “Discovery” to the original sampled track:

THESE ARE THE BREAKS

One of the most famous sampling jobs is the one that’s happened over and over and over again – and that’s the sampling of drum breaks from three songs that became fundamental to hundreds of tracks throughout the years. The big three are:

The Winstons – The Amen Break: The original track was called “Amen, Brother” – and the below 20 minute video does a better job of explaining the origin and history of the loop contained inside of it than any other explanation out there:

James Brown – Funky Drummer Break: This break is found in scores of hip hop tracks, time and time again – to the point at which it became referenced in lyrics by name. Listen to the full original track below:

Lyn Collins – Think About It: Is it just a coincidence that James Brown’s record label released one of the other most popular breaks of all time in sampling? You’ll recognize it from early rap hits like Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Takes Two” and Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story”. Listen to the full original:

BONUS: WHERE YOUR FAVORITE SCRATCH SAMPLES CAME FROM

Go to the very end of Beside’s Change The Beat (Female Version) and you’ll hear a familiar beep, followed by a robotic-sounding “Ahhh” and “Fresh”.

What are your favorite samples in the tracks you play – or your favorite tracks that get sampled over and over again? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to this article. 

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  • kingof9x

    I really enjoyed this article. Thanks for putting it together. I love finding where a sample came from, and all the ways different artists have used it.

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  • DJ MarkFace

    Hey guys awesome post, these are very influential samples!

  • BOBBYMARTHON

    Damn awesome post most of those I Love Fatboy Slim!

    If someone need some free samples packs in case:

    http://www.lucidsamples.com/36-dj-samples-packs

    Plz, check the free section and enjoy

  • JB

    Fingers Inc – Can You Feel It

    Nasty Habits aka Doc Scott – Liquid Fingers:

    Oh yes indeed!

  • indust

    Truly eye opening article and great comments here. Thanks for this!

  • Ziller

    First, and only time so far, I heard ‘Can You Feel It’ sample was in Orkidea’s ‘remix’ of Madeon https://soundcloud.com/orkidea/madeon-icarus-orkideas

  • DJBNaut

    Just a bit of FYI that I found interesting…there is a website dedicated to the art of sampling and who-sampled-what at http://www.whosampled.com .

    They even have a chart dedicated to who samples other artists the most and what original artist / song is most sampled by other people. It’s worth a look if you get stuck with a situation where you end up thinking to yourself, “Damn. I know I heard that same melody before, but I can’t think of who did it first.”

  • Tom Dietl

    Jaydee – Plastic Dreams out ’92 ! I miss this one here, it got sampled a lot in the 90s – early 2k in European house.

    • Tom Dietl

      …and of course: The Orb – A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld

      • Tom Dietl

        ..and hey! Where’s Kraftwerk!!?? What would Detroit be without?
        And I miss Yello too )-,

  • Zain

    Amazing article Dan, good job. Really interesting and brings back little things my brain hadn’t played with in a while.

  • FUNK SINATRA

    Seriously? MK DUB OF DUB is a REMIX of Push the feeling on….and the best one BTW 🙂
    And this is probably the best use for “Move your body”
    http://youtu.be/KJt5pyzYyqo
    (produced by Tood Terry)
    And a Smashing remix by HItmen
    http://youtu.be/QcjBycI1JDo

  • DJ_ForcedHand

    I think M/A/R/R/S “Put the needle on the Record” and “Pump up the Volume” (from Pump up the Volume) samples should have been in there somewhere. I think it still holds the record for most remixed/sampled song:

    • Tom Dietl

      yo…definitely (-,

  • Dylan

    “Damn son where’d you find this?”

  • TiddelTech

    Mr Oizo – Flat beat, heard those sounds in many tracks

  • Flo

    First one’s riddim totally explains where Riva Starr’s “Tribute” comes from…

  • Signal Jam

    Nightcrawlers didn’t sample Robin S, they both used the “Organ” preset on the Korg M1.

  • Guest

    Does anybody know where i can find the famous vocal sample in “Rock Da Funky Beats (or Beat)” by Chuck D; the part where he says: “If y’all really like to rock da funky beats, beats, beats funky beats”?

    • needforseeed


      Public Enemy – Caught, Can We Get A Witness?

      there you go 🙂

      • Guest

        thanks

  • Redselecter

    Ummmm… the Chuck Roberts vocal in Can You Feel It is actually the acapella of Rhythm Control’s “My House” and was added later as a remix to the Fingers original.

  • Der Langhaarige

    How could you forget HIGHER STATE OF CONCIOUSNESS? Probably one of the most sampled tracks ever!

    (Also I remember owning that MICKEY MOUSE DISCO album on tape when I was a kid.)

  • RolfSki

    Fatboy Slim actually sampled the Praise You voice from Camille Yarbrough – Take Yo’ Praise (1975): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGQbtyctPmE

  • chris

    j my 2 cents

    youtu.be/30eXKMfrVcw

    • chris

      youtu.be/Dec99PEl6ek

  • FUFR

    whosampledwho.com

  • RootGinger

    The most famous is surely the Amen break from the song Amen Brother, staple of early Hip Hop, Hardcore and Jungle tracks and must be the most used sample of all time.

  • 3breadt

    Another take on Can You Feel It by Carte Blanche

  • TonmeisterJones

    For hip-hop samples, check out Funktuall’s YouTube channel. This guy seems to know them all… And of course, no conversation about sampling could be complete without mentioning the Amen break.

    http://youtu.be/GxZuq57_bYM

  • Jim

    Eric Prydz “Call on Me” is cool.

    • Jim

      Just to follow up, it seems like a lot of older stuff had so much more melody. I like modern EDM but it seems it has been taken over the by the computer wiz kids who are more sound engineers than actual musicians. Oh well, rant over.

      • p12

        haha, this was random…

      • decon

        what…. broaden your taste, listen to IDM and glitch music. http://www.bleep.com is good place to start 🙂

      • DJ_ForcedHand

        Yeah, if you listen to older tunes, a lot of the music doesn’t fall on the downbeat at 4:4. While 4:4 is great for the dance floor, it doesn’t give the groove that soul is all about. Remember: “It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.” -Miles Davis AND “Music is the space between the notes.” -Claude Debussy

        Swing adds life.