John Lennon’s Top 10 Most Covered Songs

John LENNON imagineOn what would have been John Lennon’s 75th Birthday we take a look back at some of his iconic songwriting. It probably comes as little surprise to learn that The Beatles are the most covered band of all time. In fact, they stand head and shoulders above the competition with an astonishing 3,000 cover versions listed on WhoSampled and that number growing by the week. Lennon & McCartney’s songwriting being behind the lion’s share of those popular hits, the influence of Lennon’s work has endured far beyond his time. Here however, we take a look at his Top 10 most covered recordings released as a solo or collaborating artist, from the optimistic ‘Imagine’ (covered +80 times) to his Christmas ode and collaboration with Yoko Ono ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ (covered +35 times) and beyond:

1. Imagine
2. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) with Yoko Ono and Plastic Ono Band
3. Jealous Guy
4. Working Class Hero
5. Give Peace a Chance
6. Isolation (with Plastic Ono Band)
7. Cold Turkey (with Plastic Ono Band)
8. Gimme Some Truth
9. Love (with Plastic Ono Band)
10. Oh My Love

DJ Yoda’s Top 5 Halloween Tracks [Video Teaser / Win Tickets]


On Saturday 31st October (Halloween night!) DJ Yoda is performing a one off Halloween themed ‘Audio Visual Spooktacular’ at the Rich Mix in East London for Soundcrash with a special late licence. You can get a taste for the sort of spooky visuals you can expect on the night in this teaser video:

DJ Yoda’s also provided us with an exclusive Top 5 Halloween Samples:

r10179_2010621_143029298307Ice T – ‘The Tower’ (samples John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween Theme’)


r2825_2010218_203955961873Dana Dane – ‘Nightmares’ (samples Jack Marshall’s ‘Theme From The Munsters’


r2825_20091018_20551284155Flatlinerz – ‘Live Evil’ (samples Jerry Goldsmith’s ‘Ave Satani’)


r1402_2010920_25629568719Doug E Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew ‘Play This Only At Night’ (samples Fred Myro and Malcolm Seagrave’s ‘Phantasm Main Title’)

r2_2008106_124851719464Busta Rhymes ‘Gimme Some More’ (samples Bernard Herrmann’s ‘Psycho Theme’)


We’ve got 3 pairs of tickets to the show to give away. For a chance to win all you need to do is answer the following question!

“The Beastie Boys classic ‘Egg Man’ samples music from the soundtrack of which classic horror movie?” [Clue: The answer can be found on WhoSampled!]

Email your answers to with ‘DJ Yoda Competition’ in the subject heading. Entries must be received no later than 5pm (BST) on 12th October 2015. Winners will randomly selected from the correct answers and notified by email. Please note winners will be responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from the venue.

For those not lucky enough to win, tickets can be purchased here.




WhoSampled is 7 Years Old Today!

WHOSAMPLED-7-400x400Today WhoSampled celebrates its 7th Birthday! Another year on and now (we find it hard to believe) 7 years since WhoSampled launched, we’re proud to continue to call ourselves the world’s leading resource for sample based music, cover songs and remixes.

The past year has been a great one with many achievements under our belt and plenty more interesting projects in the pipeline:

  • Back in May we launched a new feature on the site, listings for samples originating from movies and TV shows. This much requested feature has proven extremely popular and in the months that have passed since launch we have already seen a wealth of TV & Film content appear on the site, with popular sources such as Brian De Palma‘s gangster epic Scarface leading the pack.
  • In June of this year, we launched a new responsive design, bringing an improved browsing experience for mobile users.
  • Just last month we announced a partnership with The Grammys where we’ll be collaborating on interactive infographics celebrating past winners. The first one published celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Kanye West‘s Grammy Award winning ‘Late Registration’ LP.
  • Our iPhone and Android apps continue to be extremely popular and around this time last year we scooped the award for ‘Best Music App’ at the Music Ally Digital Music Awards.
  • Earlier in the year we saw the music created at our 2014 Samplethon event made available as a limited edition 10″ vinyl and digital release.
  • The database continues grow at an incredible pace. This time last year we reported passing the 270,000 track mark. One year on and we’re approaching 340,000 tracks and no slowing down!
  • Throughout the year, we’ve produced a program of exclusive content including articles, interviews, mixes and videos. Notable examples include interviews with Black Violin, Ernie IsleyDJ Format, RAMP’s John Manuel, Phill Most Chill, Freddy Fresh, and many more plus mixtapes in collaboration with Wax Poetics, and BBE in celebration of / tribute to artists ranging from ELO to Stevie Wonder. Many have been online ‘hits’ with our album anniversary series hitting triple figure play counts across platforms.

As always, we would like to extend a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who has made all these achievements possible – our moderators, content contributors, community of users, artists, labels, visitors, readers and listeners. You are WhoSampled and we love you all!

EMI Production Library Launches Sampling Amnesty


Earlier this month EMI Production Music, a division of publishing giant Sony/ATV announced the launch of what is branded as a ‘Sample Amnesty’. This first of its kind initiative offers artists and labels who have sampled music from the EMI Production Music catalog the opportunity to declare previously uncleared samples without fear of demand for backdated royalty payments in return for entering into a licence for future use on ‘reasonable commercial terms’.

EMI explain the thinking behind the initiative:

“The idea behind the amnesty is to give artists, producers and record labels the opportunity to legitimise the samples in their back catalogue. It also aims to encourage new creative use of the expansive archives of the multiple participating EMI libraries.”

The EMI libraries and in particular KPM have been a popular source of sample material over the years. The amnesty project is one of the first instances of such a label publicly taking a stance on its catalog’s role in sample based music. On the importance of embracing sample based music, EMI’s Alex Black comments:

“Aside from the fact a library like EMI Production Music’s (which includes the legendary KPM catalogue alongside Music House, Selected Sound and the Coloursound catalogues) has a great wealth of music dating back to the 1950s, our music is made for synchronisation so it’s easy to edit and is often quite sparse so you can mine for great exposed samples. The other key point is production music publishers own the copyright and the master which makes licensing simple.”

The amnesty is set to run for a period of six months, but would appear to be indicative of a positive and tolerant attitude toward to the role of sample based music for the label going forward with hopes of transparency and fairness between label and artist. Of future plans Black says:

“We are offering anyone who has previously released a record with an uncleared EMI Production Music catalogue sample the chance to come and get a license without the risk of us exercising our rights to collect past royalties from sales and performance of the work. The EMI PM catalogue has been extensively sampled over the years with most of the high profile artists clearing prior to the release in the normal way. We want to encourage this approach and get the message out into the community that when people come forward with either a new or old sample use, we will clear the sample on fair commercial terms and share in revenues going forward.

Therefore, my hopes for the Amnesty are three-fold. Firstly, we want to give those labels/artists with uncleared samples a chance to have fully licensed masters that they can exploit and by doing that our composers will receive the recognition they deserve. Secondly, I hope we create opportunities for producers interested in sampling our catalogue and make it easy to approach us for access and clearance requests. And, lastly, I would like to see some interesting new collaborations which will lead to new music for our production music catalogues.”

Terms and Conditions of the amnesty can be found here.

Larry Smith, the Sample Godfather Hip-Hop Forgot

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 17.45.33
Words: Nathan Slavik for The Art of Sampling

In hip-hop terms like ‘overlooked’, ‘underappreciated’ and ‘slept-on’ get used so often they’ve almost ceased to have any real meaning, which is a shame, because if anyone’s been overlooked, if anyone deserves to have their name brought up more often, it’s Larry Smith.

Even when producers, DJs and true music nerds are discussing the forefathers of hip-hop Larry Smith’s name is rarely, if ever, brought up, but his resume is simply extraordinary. That revolutionary Run-DMC sound that catapulted the Queens group to international fame and gave hip-hop its first real commercial stars? Larry Smith was behind the boards throughout the genesis of that sound. And that means that while he used samples relatively infrequently, the music he made is the source for a river of classic samples. Let’s swim down that river for a moment:

Smith got his first real placements producing when he met a young upstart named Russell Simmons and together they produced Jimmy Spicer’s  “Money (Dollar Bill Y’All)” (sampled more than 30 times), famously used by RZA as the foundation of Wu-Tang’s breakthrough single C.R.E.A.M., as well as being referenced in Montell Jordan’s R&B hit “This Is How We Do It”. So there, you’re now one of the few people alive who know what Wu-Tang and Montell Jordan have in common. You’re welcome.

Smith also worked closely with Whodini, producing a number of hits for the trio that would also find a home in classic hip-hop beats. Whodini’s “Friends,” (sampled more than 100 times), is the basis of both Nas’ “If I Ruled the World” and 2Pac’s “Troublesome ‘96,” while “Freaks Come Out at Night” (sampled more than 20 times) was later sampled by The Game for his “Westside Story” and “I’m a Ho” became a staple of early gangster rap, finding its way into “Boyz-N-The-Hood” by Eazy-E and UGK‘s “Front, Back & Side to Side”. And we’re just getting started.

But really it was his work with Run-DMC that resonated most. The production behind Run-DMC’s “Rock Box” (sampled more than 70 times) was nothing short of revolutionary in its day. While most instrumentals of the time leaned on disco and funk for their source material, Smith opted instead to incorporate hard hitting rock sonics. Jay Z was clearly a fan of the sound, having used a “Rock Box”  sample on “Where I’m From” and “Justify My Thug”. (For the record, Jay would also use another Smith sample, Orange Krush’s “Action” (sampled more than 40 times) on “Primetime,” so yeah, Shawn Carter is clearly a fan). But it doesn’t start and end with Jay. J Dilla, DJ Premier and a cast of hip hop greats have all borrowed from Smith’s productions over the years. Kanye West’s “We Major”? Yep, that’s a Larry Smith sample. Or on we could go all the way to Ke$ha’s pop hit, “Tik Tok” – you guessed it, also a Larry Smith sample.

And that’s just the rough outline. In total Smith’s music has been sampled close to 800 times, his most sampled production, 1983’s “Sucker MCs” by Run-DMC, has been sampled close to 150 times alone.

Confronted with the statistics, it’s hard to say why Larry Smith’s name doesn’t ring out as loudly as many of his hip-hop peers – he certainly put in the work. But it’s never too late. We can pay tribute to Smith now, and we can do it through the lens of hip-hop, by marveling at the awesome amount of great music he inspired. So the next time you’re talking about samples, the next time you’re talking about the greatest producers ever, make sure you mention Larry Smith’s name. He deserves it.


‘The Art of Sampling’ is the most comprehensive exploration of sampling in the hip hop/rap music tradition and copyright law ever written, check it out.

The Bass Music Awards 2015: Vote Now for Best Live Act Sponsored by WhoSampled


Voting is open for the 2015 Bass Music Awards and we’re pleased to announce that the ‘Best Live Act‘ category is brought to you by WhoSampled. Artists shortlisted for the category are as follows (although there is also an option to nominate an artist not listed):

Black Tiger Sex Machine
Dr Meaker
FKJ (French Kiwi Juice)
Flux Pavilion
Jenna and the Gs (Jenna G)
MC Xander
Reeps One
Roni Size / Reprazent
Submotion Orchestra
The Prodigy
The Qemists

Voting is open until 31st October 2015 so there’s plenty of time to get involved. Visit the voting page here to cast your vote!

Wil Baptiste (Black Violin) interviewed for WhoSampled


For the latest edition of the WhoSampled interview series, we spoke with Wil Babtiste, one half of ‘Black Violin’, a classically trained violin duo whose music joins the dots between hip hop, pop, classical and more. The duo’s third studio album ‘Stereotypes’ is released via Uninversal Classics on Friday 18th September and features Pharoahe Monch, Black Thought of The Roots and Robert Glasper among others.

Listen to the interview here or below:

Wil Baptiste (Black Violin) interviewed for WhoSampled by Whosampled on Mixcloud

Competition: DJ Premier Live in London – Win Tickets and T-Shirts

DJ Premier_400This Saturday (12th September 2015) London Hip Hop club institution The Doctor’s Orders celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a stellar line up including DJ Premier‘s Live Band Show, The Four Owls and Fatima.

We’ve two pairs of tickets to give away plus one of these lovely Midnight Marauders inspired t-shirts featuring some of the many DJs and artists to have appeared over the last 10 years for each of the winners:


For a chance to win, all you need to do is answer the following question:

“DJ Premier is among the most heavily featured artists on WhoSampled. In addition to the many samples appearing in his music, his productions have been sampled more than 1500 times. His most sampled production (more than 60 examples listed to date) is which 1993 Jeru the Damaja track?” [Clue: The answer can be found on WhoSampled]

Email your answers to with ‘DJ Premier Competition’ in the subject heading. Entries must be received no later than 5pm (BST) on 11th September 2015. Winners will randomly selected from the correct answers and notified by email. Please note winners will be responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from the venue.

For those not lucky enough to win, tickets can be purchased here.

Complex Magnum Opus: The Making of Young Jeezy’s ‘Soul Survivor’

Young Jeezy
and collaborators including DJ Drama and Shawty Redd break down the making of Jeezy’s 2005 hit ‘Soul Survivor’ featuring Akon for the latest edition of Complex‘s ‘Magnum Opus’ series.

Watch below:

Competition: Public Enemy ‘Live from Metropolis Studios’ Vinyl Boxset Up For Grabs!

On August 6, 2014, hip hop legends Public Enemy (the most sampled rap group of all time) performed at London’s world-renowned Metropolis Studios in the most intimate gig of their career. This unique show gave just 125 lucky fans the rare opportunity to witness one of the most influential rap collectives record a live album up close and personal, at a venue that is rarely opened to the public.

September 4, 2015 sees the release of ‘Public Enemy – Live From Metropolis Studios‘, a beautifully packaged box set which includes a Blu-ray disc of the performance, a 2-CD soundtrack, a double vinyl LP pressed on clear vinyl, a 12” Booklet and MP3 download voucher. (The Blu-Ray, DVD, Double CD, and Double Vinyl LP are also available individually).

Captured in stunning high definition video and surround sound, the package offers viewers and listeners the opportunity to see and hear the band perform classics including ‘Don’t Believe the Hype‘, ‘911 Is a Joke‘, ‘Can’t Truss It‘ and ‘Shut Em Down‘, in never before seen high quality footage that puts you in the room with the band.

PEBoxsetPackshotWe have one of these fantastic boxsets to give away! For a chance to win, all you need to do is answer the following question:

Public Enemy are the most sampled rap group of all time. One of their classic tracks has been sampled more than 600 times – name that track! [Clue: The answer can be found on WhoSampled]

To enter, email your answer to with ‘PE Boxset Comp’ in the subject line. Entries must be received no later than 6pm BST on 4th September 2015. The winner will be randomly selected from the correct entries and notified by email.


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