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?
Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body
You’ll recognize this track from a number of other prominent samplers – specifically:
- Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam
- Move Your Body – Jeff Mills
- Marshall Jefferson ‘Move Your Body’ (Terry Farley & Leo Zero Remix)
- Chris Kaeser – Who’s In The House
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:
- The Bucketheads – The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)
- Nicola Fasano vs Pat-Rich – 75 Brasil Street
- Hysteric Ego – Want Love
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
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.