Back to News
Five Classic Tracks to Help Celebrate 808 Day

News, Technology, Videos | Aug 08, 2016   

Five Classic Tracks to Help Celebrate 808 Day

Happy 808 Day from BPM Supreme! Take a look at these five classic tracks that were produced with the Roland Rhythm Composer TR-808.

happy 808 day from roland

Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer a.k.a. 808 was introduced in 1980 as an economic digital sampling machine for musicians to produce demos in a recording studio. It went on to become an integral component in rap music productions, even though some people said it had no soul. Today on 8/08 we celebrate the versatile nature of the 808 machine, which has spawned an unlimited number of hip hop, bass and trap songs.

Top 5 808 Classics 
1. Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force – Planet Rock
In 1982, Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force released  a single called “Planet Rock” on Tommy Boy Entertainment. Featuring vocals from Marvella Murray, Yvette Murray, Melissa Johnson and Sandra Wheeler, the track was inspired by the 808 heavy productions of Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra.

2. Beastie Boys – Brass Monkey

The Beastie Boys dropped “Brass Monkey” in 1987 as the second single off their iconic Licensed to Ill album on Def Jam and Columbia Records. In addition to the audacious lyrics of Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock, the track featured a Roland TR-808 drum machine that loves to get faded.

3. Cybotron – Clear

The techno pioneers at Cybotron consist of Juan Atkins and Richard Davis of Detroit. In 1983 they released an album called Enter on Fantasy Records that included “Clear” as the last song. It is sampled in “Lose Control” by Missy Elliot. But the original loop is from Kraftwerk’s 1977 track “Hall of Mirrors.”

4. Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing

Right around the same time in 1983, Marvin Gaye retreated to Belgium to escape his many addictions and work on music. He wanted to use the Roland TR-808 so that he could do it all by himself. Then when someone told him he needed sexual healing, he wrote this song instead of going to rehab.

S.O.S. Band – Just Be Good to Me

The S.O.S. Band (Sounds of Success) released their single “Just Be Good to Me” in 1983 on Tabu Records. It peaked at #2 on the US R&B charts, and #13 on the UK’s Billboard Top 100. Since then it has been covered, remixed or sampled by 2Pac, Lily Allen, Mariah Carey and Norman Cook of Fatboy Slim, among others.

Need more 808 in your life? 808, a documentary about the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer that premiered last year features commentary from Afrika Bambaataa, Arthur Baker, David Guetta, Diplo, Goldie, Lil Jon, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), Pharrell, Phil Collins, Rick Rubin and more.

Download classic hits and the hottest new music at!

Learn more about how membership works in the BPM Supreme record pool.

BPM Supreme is a source for DJ and production culture delivering exclusive performances, interviews, behind the scenes, tutorials, and much more. Keep checking our BPM Supreme Blog to get the latest in DJ trends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *