Thursday, June 28, 2012

10 Songs You Know You Know (But Might Not Know)

Here's something you should know: ALL ART IS A COPY OF OTHER ART. No, really. There's even a website devoted to this phenomenon, it's called Everything Is a Remix. (My favorite video is one in which they show all of the copied martial arts moves in The Matrix.)  Some even say that there are only three ways to create art: copy, transform, combine (see photo left). One of the best examples of this is sampling in music. Here are 10 examples.*

10. Everybody knows Beyonce's "Crazy in Love"  because it topped the charts and it was in a 2003 Pepsi commercial.  But you might not know that the music sample comes from The Chi-Lites "Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So).

9. In 1981 a group named Wild Sugar put out a song called "Bring It Here." Can you guess where this reappeared 5 years later? Hint: a group of boys made a song about a metal primate. (Answer)

8. Touching the sky certainly requires upward movement, which is probably why Kanye West's "Touch the Sky" utilizes a sample from Curtis Mayfield's 1970 hit "Move on Up."

7. Listen to the first 5 seconds of Experience Unlimited's "Knock Him Out Sugar Ray" and see if you can guess where this drum sample later reappeared. Hint: "That was a good drum break..." (Answer)

6. M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" was one of the biggest chart toppers of the last 5 years. But do you know where her guitar sample comes from? It's blatantly "borrowed" from The Clash's "Straight to Hell."

5. One could devote a whole website to Jay-Z's samples but one of my all time favorites comes from "December 4th" off the Black Album. This catchy sample comes from The Chi-Lite's "That's How Long."

4. Miss Rhianna is a queen of sampling. Her 2006 hit "SOS" clearly sampled Soft Cell's "Tainted Love."   And her "Talk That Talk" gets its guitar hook from "Intro" by The Xx.

3. There ain't no pop music like Motown. That's why Justin Bieber (a.ka. his producers) pretty much stole the Temptation's song "Lady Soul" to recreate his hit "Baby."

2. If you think that Hip-Hop and R&B are the only genres that borrow from other tunes, think again. It's kind of creepy to hear how closely Albert Hammond's "The Air That I Breathe" sounds like Radiohead's 1992 hit "Creep."  See also Radiohead's copy of The Beatles on Karma Police.

1. Think that catchy melody in Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" was all Chris Martin? It may have been. Or it may have been the sweet guitar riffage of Joe Satriani...

* Another great example is this blog post. Most of this content is not my original thought or work. I have simply connected the dots (combine) and re-presented the information in a new medium (transform). If you want to check out more music samples, go to

No comments:

Post a Comment