Sampling Etta James

Idea on 2/26/16, writeup on 8/12/16.

For some reason, Etta James’ song, “Something’s Got a Hold On Me” is extremely popular for sampling. While it’s a really swinging example of R&B, you probably recognize it primarily as the main hook from Aviici’s “Levels“.

However, much like James Brown being dead, this single clip from James seems to be rather popular. Check out Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” and Pretty Lights’ “Finally Moving“.

It’s a bit odd though all of the sample sets take just the initial vocalist part, which completely strips the pretty upbeat dance-y feeling of James’ original song. It turns it into just a power statement – “I get this feeling” – which can then be turned into a reflective song like Pretty Lights or the modern version of dancing a la Aviici.

The sampling fun doesn’t stop there though. I was listening to Pandora and heard Nightmares on Wax’s “You Wish“. “Wait a second”, you might say, “isn’t this just a rip off of “Finally Moving” ? Well, turns out that they are both sampling Judy Clay and William Bell’s duet “Private Number“, thus bringing us full circle back to 1960’s soul music 😀

What are other cool sampling chains that y’all know of? WhoSampled is a great resource, but it’s still much more fun to keep an ear out and figure out the chains yourself 🙂

Finally, I leave you with this classic Skrillex sampling.

Stay musical, my friends.


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