Song Of The Day 8/20/2015: The Commodores – “The Assembly Line”

Ultimate Breaks & Beats – Octopus Breaks and UBB were made for the convenience of the live DJ. They weren’t created for the purpose of sampling, even though the latter was put out and first devoured during the great gray legal area of sampled art. However, as producers started rediscovering just how irreplaceable and potent old, gritty drum breaks sounded, they start incorporating them into their records to give that added dimension of mettle to hip hop acts. As the form took over the mainstream and became the most influential genre since the beginning of rock and roll, that meant that the lessons imparted by hip hop and the beats on UBB could soon trickle down to people like Hanson. It was a special time.

It’s a measure of how potent Breakbeat Lou and Lenny Roberts’ selection was that an unbelievable percentage of pop records during a certain time used samples from those 25 albums. Flores gave a figure that blew my mind just now:
I’mma give you a figure that’s going to blow your mind right now. I wrote this thing down because it was kind of crazy. These figures were compiled by Dan Charnas, who wrote the book called The Big Payback. In 1991, seven weeks of the 52 weeks of Billboard singles had sampled something from the Ultimate Breaks and Beats volumes. In 1992, 12 weeks of the 52 weeks had something that was sampled off of the Ultimate Breaks and Beats. In 1993, 23 weeks of the 52 weeks had records that sampled from the Ultimate Breaks and Beats. In 1994, ‘95 there was anywhere between 12 and 16 weeks, he didn’t have those figured exact but in 1997, 32 weeks of the 52 weeks had sampled something from the Ultimate Breaks and Beats. To the point that the record “Mmmbop” by Hanson sampled (Melvin Bliss’) “Synthetic Substitution” from the record. This is the influence that it had.
The website WhoSampled.com, which I visit pretty much daily, says the most-sampled song in history is The Winstons’ “Amen Brother” (UBB Vol. 1). There’s a drum break in the middle that you’ll recognize immediately from a ton of songs you’ve heard. WhoSampled.com currently puts the estimated number of songs that have copped “Amen Brother” at approximately 1,780. There are bunch of famous songs with the break; the most relevant to our current entertainment landscape is probably “Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A.

Today’s song, from the Commodores’ early, waaaaay less adult-contemporary years, has been sampled 227 times, which is still a massive figure. The most popular one is, um, “Informer” by Snow. Sorry about that earworm. It was also used on Eric B. & Rakim’s “Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em,” The Prodigy’s “Pandemonium,” Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise,” modern tracks from Porter Robinson and deadmau5… a bunch. Seriously, don’t get sucked in too much by WhoSampled.com. It’s designed so you don’t come back.

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