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Saturday, 9 August 2008

Enjoy the Sample things in life

This morning was a good morning. This morning I discovered the original song of a sample that I know and love.

Now, that might not sound like much, but I’ve found over the years that for sheer music-geek-joy, not much comes close to stumbling across the original of a sample, especially if you hadn’t even really realised it was a sample in the first place.

This morning it was a Cheap Trick track called Surrender – not a band or song I know that well. It was a live version and the voice (presumably of singer Robin Zander), says a line that is very familiar to me: “this next one is the first song on our new album”. For the past dozen years or so, that hasn't been a Cheap Trick line to me. I've always known that line as the first sound on the Beastie Boys era-defining album (for me, at least), Check Your Head. I always thought it was just a live sample of one of the B Boys from a gig (it even sounds a bit like Mike D), but no, it turns out all along it’s from this Cheap Trick live album. I very much enjoyed finding that out organically, as opposed to scouring the sleeve notes (which is also fun, but in a different way). It made me remember a few others that have worked out that way for me.

Beck’s use of the bass sound from Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon, on his track Cell Phone’s Dead, from Beck's The Information album.*

And in similar borrowing fashion, as in not really a sample, Slice Of Your Pie, Motley Crue’s slice of sleaze from their Dr. Feelgood album, borrows heavily from The Beatles’ I Want You (She’s So Heavy) from Abbey Road.

G Unit using Marvin Gaye’s Come Live With Me Angel on their freaky lovefest Wanna Get To Know You.

And finally for now, Dr. Dre’s use of George Clinton’s Atomic Dog, when he was producing Snoop’s first record, Doggy Style and its main hit, Who Am I (What’s My Name)?.

*I know Beck states unequivocally that The Information has no samples on it but the two are clearly the same riff, so I guess he played it himself for his track, rather than actually sampling Herbie’s work. For the purposes of this piece though, whatever.

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