The Levee Broke

The Levee Break – Sampling 101

In 2006 Nate Harrison uploaded a video to Youtube that examined the impact of a  six second drum loop from the 1969 recording “Amen Brother,” preformed by the relatively obscure soul group The Winstons. Six years, and 3 million views, later many people have become aware of the cultural influence of sampled music. As sample-based music approaches middle-age, we now see that a six second recording can drastically alter the pop music landscape.

Here we have another (roughly 6 second) sample that we think is very important. Lets just call it the “Levee Break,” shall we? Originally , the song “When the Levee Breaks” was a regional folk blues song.

Later, in 1971, rock legends Led Zeppelin recorded a version of the song. Unbeknownst to them at the time, the first six seconds of their song would take on a life of it’s own.

You have heard this sample everywhere, from the Beastie Boys to Aphex Twin to Enigma. Many have sampled this short intro. Even Pokemon World, yikes!

Included here are some more notable instances of the “Levee Break.” for your listening enjoyment.

Masive Attack “Man Next Door”

Beastie Boys “Rhymin & Stealin”

Bjork “Army of Me”

Russel Velazquez “Pokemon World”

Visit this wonderful Web site to check out Who Sampled Who!

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