What Are the Most Sampled Songs of All Time?
These days you can’t turn on the radio without hearing a sample, remix or cover. Here are the most sampled tracks from a time when they made truly original songs.
These tracks have been sampled so much that they’re practically a separate genre by themselves. Check out the top ten most sampled songs below.
1. The Winstons – Amen, Brother
- Metromedia 1969
- 2,252 samples
- N.W.A., Skrillex, the Prodigy, Jay-Z and more.
Funk and soul band the Winstons released “Amen, Brother” on their Colour Him Father LP. The song contains ‘the Amen Break’, a seven-second drum solo performed by Gregory Sylvester Coleman. In turn “Amen, Brother” contains two samples by the Impressions, including “Theme from Lilies of the Field (Amen)” and “We’re a Winner.”
2. B-side – Change the Beat (Female Version) (1982)
- Celluloid 1982
- 1,862 samples
- Macklemore, Drake, Eminem, Herbie Hancock and more.
Fab 5 Freddy dropped “Change the Beat” as a single in 1982, but it was the female version that went on to be sampled thousands of times. The original vinyl has a 7:40 minute recording on the A-side with an English rap. And the B-side contains the more popular 3:42 version with female vocals in French.
3. Lyn Collins – Think (About It) (1972)
- People 1972 (Produced by James Brown)
- 1,618 samples
- J Dilla, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Jamie xx and more.
“Think About It” performed by Lyn Collins was produced by James Brown in 1972. Brown holds the honor of being the most sampled artist of all time, and three of his songs are in the top ten.
4. James Brown – Funky Drummer (1970)
- King 1970
- 1,306 samples
- Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Public Enemy, Raekwon and more.
Produced by James Brown in 1970, “Funky Drummer” was originally recorded in late 1969 and released as a single the next year. It did not get released in an album until Brown’s In the Jungle Groove compilation of 1986. At the time it was recorded Brown’s vocals were mostly ad-libbed in order to encourage the band.
5. Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick – Ladi Dadi (1985)
- Reality 1985
- 795 samples
- Beyonce, the Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, Mos Def and more.
Rap duo Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick released “Ladi Dadi” on their 1985 album The Show. An early hip hop classic, this song contains two more samples within it: “Sukiyaki” by A Taste of Honey, and “The Magic Mirror” from the 1937 Disney classic Snow White. Due to clearance issues there are two versions, one with “Sukiyaki” and one without.
6. James Brown – Funky President (People It’s Bad) (1974)
- Polydor 1974
- 740 samples
- Kanye West, Childish Gambino, Rick Ross, Pusha T and more.
“Funky President (People It’s Bad)” by James Brown peaked at #4 on the R&B charts of 1974. At the time Brown said the song was about Gerald Ford, who had recently succeeded Richard Nixon as US President. Back then it was still fashionable to say funky. Maybe he thought Ford was kind of a cool guy?
7. Public Enemy – Bring the Noise (1987)
- Def Jam 1987
- 687 samples
- Prince, Bob Marley, Eminem, Ludacris and more.
Public Enemy’s classic “Bring the Noise” was a part of the Less than Zero OST soundtrack of 1987. The group released it again in 1988 as It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Ready for a mind freak? This song contains nine unique samples respectively, including “Funky Drummer” by James Brown, which is in this list.
8. Melvin Bliss – Synthetic Substitution (1973)
- Sunburst 1973
- 663 samples
- Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, Fabolous, Naughty by Nature and more.
Rhythm and blues singer Melvin “Bliss” McClelland is best remembered for his 1973 EP Reward/Synthetic Substitution. Unfortunately a year later his label Sunburst Records went bankrupt and Melvin Bliss became a one hit wonder. But the B-side became one of the most sampled tracks ever later in life. He died in 2010 at age 65.
9. The Honey Drippers – Impeach the President (1973)
- Alaga 1973
- 655 samples
- 2Pac, Digable Planets, the Notorious B.I.G., J. Cole and more.
Brown was not the only one to protest Nixon through song. The Honey Drippers (not to be confused with A Taste of Honey) debuted “Impeach the President” one year before “Funky President” dropped. It was actually written by Roy C, the man behind the 1965 hit “Shotgun Wedding.” He recorded it with the band, who were then in high school.
10. Run DMC – Here We Go (Live at the Funhouse) (1985)
- Profile 1985
- 639 samples
- Action Bronson, Nero, J Dilla, the Prodigy and more.
In 1984 Run DMC was considered aggressive, hard and groundbreaking. They released “Here We Go (Live at the Funhouse)” as a single, and then again as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of their self-titled debut LP. It contains three samples: Billy Squier “The Big Beat,” Al Perkins “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” and Kurtis Blow “AJ Scratch.”
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