Words: Zoe Stoll / Chris Read
The phrase ‘House Music‘ means a variety of things to a variety of people. In the current landscape of sub-genres of sub-genres it can be used either as an umbrella term for a myriad of splinter scenes or a term attached to those styles of dance music that stay closer to house music’s origins. Whilst sampling almost certainly plays a less prominent role in house music’s over all make up today than it did 25 years ago, sampling has been central to the genre’s development, particularly in its formative years. From iconic disco and useful acapellas to house music’s tendency to borrow from its own classics, here we review the top 10 most sampled sources in house music:
10. Lyn Collins – ‘Think’
With over 1,200 listings across all genres (and plenty more to come), Lyn Collins‘ iconic ‘Think’ breakbeat and its famous ‘wooh-yeah’ breakdown has found usage in almost all fields of dance music in some form. As the only breakbeat to feature in this Top 10, more so than any other, the ‘Think’ break was ubiquitous in house music’s sample based roots and was a staple of the late ’80s / early ’90s Hip-House sound in particular. Notable uses include Tyree’s ‘Let The Music Take Control’ and Fast Eddie’s ‘Yo Yo Get Funky’.
9. Loleatta Holloway – ‘Crash Goes Love’ (Yell Apella)
The first of two entries in our Top 10 for Loleatta Holloway, this Acapella track taken from the 1992 Warlock 12 inch release of Loleatta Holloway‘s ‘Crash Goes Love’ contains a throaty gospel-esque vocal with sassy spoken passages that makes it a perfect sample source. However, it is the brief ‘whoop’ that appears a little under a minute into the track and its subsequent repetition later in the track that is the most sampled, having been used by artists ranging from New York house icon Armand Van Helden, to less credible dance acts including Euro-house hitmakers 2 Unlimited, the Vengaboys and David Guetta.
8. Raw Silk – ‘Do It To The Music’
Released in 1982 on West End records, Raw Silk‘s mid tempo post-disco cut ‘Do It To The Music’ found favour as the backbone to a number of early house cuts and was frequently plundered in late ’80s hip hop. A stand out record in its own right, notable uses include early proto-house cuts from the likes of Jack N Madness and Mr. K (the former a drum machine led electro outing, the latter a cut and paste style edit) both of which played some part in the lineage of records that led to the popular explosion of the sample based house sound in the late ’80s. Other popular uses include 2 In A Room‘s late 80s acid-esque ‘Music’s Hypnotizing’ and UK hardcore pioneers Shut Up And Dance‘s uncharacteristic hip hop cut ‘Rap’s My Occupation’, b-side to the rave classic ‘£10 To Get In’.
7. Class Action – ‘The Weekend’
Class Action‘s 1983 boogie outing ‘Weekend’, released on New York’s Sleeping Bag Records with its useful acapella passages quickly found its way into a plethora of early house releases including Cuoco’s 1984 proto-house edit mix ‘Circus’, New York house legend Todd Terry‘s 1988 Todd Terry Project release simply entitled ‘Weekend’ and UK DJ Simon Harris‘ 1989 hit single ‘Bass, How Low Can You Go’. The record went on to be sampled in a plethora of early 90s underground house cuts.
6. Kraze – ‘The Party’
The popular vocal to Kraze‘s 1988 piano house cut ‘The Party’ comprises for the most part the crowd rousing shouts of what would now be termed a hype man. It’s not hard to see why cries of ‘hey DJ’, ‘pump up the bass’ and ‘give me a beat’ lifted from the acapella version became staple sources in a variety of early house cuts. Many tracks take their name from vocals lifted from Kraze’s cut, Gabinete Calighari’s ‘Pump Up The Bass‘ being just one such example.
5. Rhythm Controll – ‘My House’
Chuck Roberts’ spoken word intro to Rhythm Controll‘s 1987 underground anthem ‘My House’ formed a sort of unofficial manifesto for the ‘feeling’ of house music of the day. Delivered in a style not unlike that of a preacher before a congregation, the iconic line “In the beginning there was Jack and Jack had a groove and from this groove came the groove of all grooves…” and its following sermon has been sampled in house music throughout the years by artists ranging from Todd Terry to Deejays United to Julio Bashmore. The most famous use however is Larry Heard’s ‘Can You Feel It’ released under his Fingers Inc. moniker, the 1988 track being largely responsible for popularising the acapella’s use.
4. Yazoo – ‘Situation’
Yazoo’s early 80s UK #1 synth pop hit ‘Situation’ vocaled by Alison Moyet bucks the trend of our Top 10 so far. Not only is it the first track to sit stylistically outside the confines of disco, boogie and early house, it is also the first (other than ‘Think’) not to have appeared on one of the editions of the popular ‘Acapella Anonymous’ bootleg series, a prominent source of sample material for DJs and producers of the day. Notable uses of ‘Situation’ include UK house hits from the likes of S’Express and Simon Harris as well as US hip house cuts from Twin Hype amongst others. Most heavily sampled is the laughter that appears around 2o seconds into the track which has graced tracks as diverse as Rhythim is Rhythim’s ‘Nude Photo’ and, outside the realms of house, King Sun’s ‘Lethal Weapon’.
3. Loleatta Holloway – ‘Love Sensation’
The second entry in our Top 10 for Loleatta Holloway returns to familiar territory, a disco cut with a powerful gospel tinged vocal, the acapella to which also appeared on an edition of the Acapella Anonymous series. With a concentration of use in late ’80s / early’ 90s house, use of the track experienced a renaissance in the early ’00s with appearances in a number of Drum & Bass releases and into the current decade has been used by the likes of Skream amongst others.
2. Indeep – ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’
Indeep‘s early 80s ‘Sound of New York’ released smash ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’ is an anthem. A timeless DJ record in its own right, the punchy open drums of the intro, the catchy bass groove, the vocal breakdown and of course the subject matter all give this track the hallmarks of a well used sample source. Used in house and hip hop in near equal measure, notable examples range from Bomb the Bass‘s late 80s proto-house hit ‘Beat Dis’ to Todd Edwards late 90s rework ‘Saved My Life’.
1. First Choice – ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’
If there is one track in our Top 10 that typifies sample trends in early house then this is probably the one. Originally released in 1977 this mid tempo disco outing contains the particular brand of warm soulful vocals that make for ideal house music sample material. Remixed in the early 80s by house music / remix royalty Frankie Knuckles and Shep Pettibone, the acapella version also appeared, predictably, on one of the Acapella Anonymous compilations. House icons who have sampled ‘Let No Man…’ are almost too numerous to mention but amongst them are Royal House‘s Todd Terry produced 1988 underground smash ‘Can You Party’ and early Masters at Work production ‘Mondolay’.
Check out our mixtape of these classic tracks mixed by Chris Read on Mixcloud:
House Music's Top 10 Most Sampled Sources mixed by Chris Read by Whosampled on Mixcloud