Sampling can definitely be a taboo topic within the music industry. Personally I believe that if a used melody is incorporated into another song in a complimentary way, sampling isn’t as bad as everyone says it is, and can often make a song better or even a bit more experimental. James Brown is the most sampled musician in history, and everyone sees him as influential – so why can’t we see the people who have sampled the music as not imitators, but influenced artists?
Lana Del Rey’s ‘West Coast’ and The Beatle’s ‘And I Love Her’
When I found out that my favourite Lana Del Rey song (at the moment, it’s always changing) was sampled, I was worried that the whole pre-chorus would have been copied, however it only interpolates (as https://grantland.com have put it) the intro, transforming it into a key change note that every Lana fan would recognise.
The Jonas Brother’s ‘Leave Before You Love Me’ and Daft Punk’s ‘Instant Crush’
This is one of the few samples on this list that I recognised myself, but in reverse. I already knew about Instant Crush – in fact it’s my favourite Daft Punk song – but it took a listen of Leave before you love me and then another listen of Instant Crush to realise that the intros were almost exactly the same. Marshmello, who produced Leave before you love me, creates a more faded pop sound on the riff, compared to the vibrant electric sound Daft Punk display on their song. Whilst Instant Crush is my favourite out of the two, I would still go as far to say that Leave before you love me is one of the best songs that entered the charts last year.
Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape Of You’ and TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’
This sample is one I’m surprised I never knew about until today. It’s also one that has been acknowledged by the artists, what with Ed Sheeran crediting Kandi Buruss and Tiny Harris; the songwriters behind No Scrubs. Despite Shape Of You definitely not being my favourite song by the infamous British musician, there is no doubt that this catchy pop melody would be hard for Sheeran to top in terms of popularity.
The Weeknd’s ‘Secrets’ and Tears For Fears’ ‘Pale Shelter’
It wasn’t until I played Secrets to my dad that I realised one of my favourite artists had sampled one of my other favourite artists. We can see from this sample and a later sample that I mention from Abel that The Weeknd has a very diverse taste in music, and this clearly has an effect on his experimental discography.
Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Loyalty’ and Bruno Mars’ ’24k Magic’
It’s impossible not to be fascinated by this interesting twist on an iconic Bruno Mars intro. Lamar’s intro however sounds as if it’s the reverse of the original, and somewhat a lot faster.
Rihanna’s ‘Shut Up And Drive’ and New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’
Shut Up And Drive isn’t exactly close to being Rihanna’s best song, but I feel as if the short instrumental that is almost parallel to New Order’s Blue Monday is a smart addition to this upbeat pop track.
Kanye West’s ‘Touch The Sky’ and Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Move On Up’
This is probably one of the most famous samples on this list. Kanye West blends his Hip Hop sound with Mayfield’s Soul Funk sound to create a spectacular single for his second album Late Registration. Much to the delight of their fans, the pair collaborated with each other (and Jay-Z) on a track entitled The Joy in 2011.
Madonna’s ‘Hung Up’ and ABBA’s ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’
This famous sample cannot go unnoticed. Madonna is arguably more well known worldwide than ABBA, and in crafting her song with the help of the lead melody in Gimme Gimme Gimme, she brought the Swedish sensations to the US, increasing their popularity.
The Weeknd’s ‘Wanderlust’ and Fox The Fox’s ‘Precious Little Diamond’
The Weeknd sure knows how to incorporate a melody (and this case a couple of lyrics too) into one of his songs, appearing twice on my list. I had to include Wanderlust as well as Secrets solely because it’s my favourite song of his. Fox The Fox are an electronic Dutch band, and you can really see how Abel draws inspiration from them, especially on Kissland. The sample here is placed in the chorus of Wanderlust, surrounded by a large arrangement of dance and trance sounds. In fact there is nothing I can criticise about this song, and the Precious Little Diamond sample amplifies this perfection.