10 most sampled music tracks of all time

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/10/10-most-sampled-music-tracks-o.html

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I love sampling. Paul’s Boutique would most likely never exist in today’s environment.

I also love old school techno and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, where they sample movies and other works. Just the other day I found the origins of two TKK samples.


“Amen Brother” probably made it to number one simply because of jungle/drum-and-bass, which might be the only style of music that developed out of one single drum break (though it also sometimes uses “The Funky Drummer” and a couple other breaks.)

Would you believe there are musicians who regularly go to whosampled.com and check their names or old groups to see if there is a loop they can litigate? While it’s a cool website and I’ve used it to settle arguments about “who sampled what and when”, it has also contributed to the end of sampling.


Like the title of the video “12 songs you didn’t know were sampled” but they left out the “… if you are under 25 years old”


Amen, Brother! We need to Change the Beat. That beat needs to be changed. Think about it.
What our beat needs is a Funky Drummer to change it. I’m the greatest drummer of them all. I can go from da da da to La Di Da Di. I’ll be that Funky Drummer. I’ll be the Funky President, I’ll change the beat and even more: I’ll Bring the Noise.
Enough of that Synthetic Substitution! Substitution is what destroyed the beat! We need to Impeach the President that allow the beat to be destroyed!
Here we Go: We need to make the beat great again!


Dude share… It’s like finding out where Man Or Astro-Man? get their clips.

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I find it kind of hard to believe that even people under 25 wouldn’t know that “Anaconda” is basically a “Baby Got Back” remake. The original song still gets played all the time.


Well, that is, I heard the sample. The sample origins are documented from an old fan page. Let me see if I can dig it up.

But I found the movie that uses the sound bite from Kooler than Jesus, “I am the electric messiah. The AC/DC god.” Also “You are not God!” and “God the one, two, three” from Blue Buddha. All from a film called The Ruling Class, which is on youtube. The sound bites aren’t identical to the film, so they manipulated the some of the words. If you want to hear the samples with out watching the whole thing, find the script on line, search for the sample, then try to find it in the film. Took me about 5 min. Had I thought anyone else cared I’d have wrote it down.

I loved old sound bites. It is like a little inside joke between me and the artist. My favorite old school Techno CD is Messiah 21st Century Jesus, and it uses a lot of sound bites, including From Thunderdome, Life of Brian, and The Running Man.

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Kids these days. I made my kid listen to the original Take On Me by AHA! When that new song came out.

I also made her watch the Twilight Zone Episode - To Serve Man - to get the reference in Madagascar.

Though to be fair, before I knew what sampling was, I thought War had ripped off the Beastie Boys with Low Rider.


My favorite use of the Amen break is in the theme song for Futurama.


Certainly not.

It blows me away that most of the samples in Paul’s Boutique were actually cleared and paid for. They had a few samples they didn’t clear (such as the Beatles’ samples) but they were of the “fuck it, it would be awesome if the Beatles sued us!” attitude.

I’ve read a few places that the cost for all the licensing and clearing of samples ended up being a relatively cheap sum of around $250k (about $500k in today’s money) – basically the bulk of their production budget. That’s a steal given that today you’d need to add another zero or two to that number (not to mention you’d massively dilute any potential royalties in the process).

About the only way to make an album like that these days would be to use the DJ Shadow route of using mostly obscure or heavily obfuscated samples or the Girl Talk “are you feeling lucky, punk?” path of “sue me if you want, but if I win, you’re setting yourselves up for a world of hurt”.


The Amen Break has proven itself to be amazingly versatile. It’s crazy to me to think of how entire musical genres and artist careers have been built around this 6 second sample.


There’s a name I haven’t heard in years

That is actually clever. Saves lots of money on lawyers discovery fees.

At what point does something as simple as that break just become part of the pop vernacular, like the Bo Didley beat? There was a great scene in the late lamented Vinyl where a character demonstrated how many songs incorporate one riff.

I can tell you that there’s a big difference between loading & triggering a sample than playing a standard. It’s very rare to get the same sound and timing with a live recording as well as the skills involved.

Jungle and Drum and bass did use the Amen break a lot, as well as the Funky Drummer and a handful of others. These days though, most drums in Drum and Bass music are made by stacking individual percussion samples (like a bunch of snares, a couple of kick drums, etc.). The Amen break is still used heavily, but often with a thick filter over it just for the purpose of filling the drums out a bit more.

That said, the Amen break is used a lot outside of Drum and bass as well. It’s like the Wilhelm scream of the music industry.


I’ve worked with three different people under 25 who didn’t know who Bob Dylan was.

My musical habits were all formed in the 80s and 90s, but I still knew tons of artists from the 50s forward, and a handful of older stuff. It seems like the kids now just don’t know anything before 2000.

I suppose it’s a side effect of living in a Toffler wave.

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Well, yeah, but it’s not like he’s done much in the last 25 years.

Yeah man, ever since the Wilburys broke up…

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