Tag Archives: I Cry

Bringing ’88 Back: A “Fancy” Feast Of Sampled Songs

Flashing back like, totally!

They’re so antsy, you already know.

With huge gains in airplay and sales, it’s easy to see why the new #1 atop the Hot 100 this week is “Fancy” by rapper Iggy Azalea and singer Charli XCX. Despite the inevitable calls that R&B and rap music is being whitewashed (again), it’s quite the achievement for both performers, who each score their first chart-topper on the big list. In turn, Azalea becomes only the fourth female rapper to hit the summit following Lauryn Hill (1998), Lil’ Kim (2001) and Shawnna (2003). Since she’s also featured on the #2 single this week, singer Ariana Grande‘s “Problem”, I’d say she’s having a pretty good year so far and the successes will only continue for her.

In recognition of this story and the song, one line came to mind in the first verse. It’s borrowed from rapper Nas‘s 2003 hit “Made You Look”: “Rooftop like we bringin’ ’88 back.” Of course, this line refers to holding parties up on the rooftop of a building. However, Azalea wasn’t born in 1988 and the song certainly doesn’t date back to then. Luckily, there have been plenty of songs in the past few years that have been “bringin’ ’88 back” through a sample or cover of a prior hit. Even since her first EP release in the summer of 2012, we’ve had these fun flashbacks…

FLO RIDA – “I Cry” (2012)
Sample: “Piano In The Dark”, Brenda Russell featuring Joe Esposito (#6, June)

His songs have sampled everyone from Dead Or Alive to Eiffel 65 to Etta James, so I guess it’s not a surprise that the rapper made it on here. “Piano”, of course, was an unexpected comeback smash for Russell. “Cry” marks a rare case where both a single and the song it sampled climbed to the same peak on the Hot 100; it went to #6 just before Christmas in 2012.

SEBASTIAN MIKAEL featuring WALE – “Last Night” (2013)
Sample: “Nite And Day”, Al B. Sure! (#7, July)

Originally born in Sweden and then based in Boston during his college years, this 24-year-old took on this classic from the New York singer, which also charted as a sample for acts like LL Cool J and P.M. Dawn. Mikael’s debut release went top ten on the Urban chart in December and broke the top 40 at Rhythm radio earlier this year. His current single is “Forever”.

TO BE ONE – “Please Don’t Go Girl” (2014)
Sample: “Please Don’t Go Girl”, New Kids On The Block (#10, October)

This trio of teens from New Jersey has yet to fully break on the pop scene, but with the longtime support of SiriusXM’s two pop channels, Atom Factory recently serviced this to CHR radio to minimal results. Unfortunately, it looks to be over. The original “Girl” put the New Kids on the map with their first of nine top ten hits in a row, all ranking between 1988 and 1990.

MARIAH CAREY – “One More Try” (2014)
Remake: “One More Try”, George Michael (#1, May)

As Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse prepares to debut in the top 3 on the Billboard 200, this remake seems to be a fan favorite from an otherwise troubling era. Carey has a history of bringing ’88 back when it comes to covering songs: in 1999, her take on Brenda K. Starr‘s #13 hit “I Still Believe” (which she originally sang backup on) eclipsed it, going to #4.

When it comes to my 1988 jams, I’ll still take those tunes from Breathe and Johnny Hates Jazz, with an occasional spin of Climie Fisher or Crowded House. That’s just a small sample of my favorites that colored the charts with “Electric Blue”, “Out Of The Blue” and “Pink Cadillac”. What’s your favorite ’88 throwback? Let me know! Comment below or find me on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab.

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SAMPLE THIS: A Match Made In Chart Heaven

Who's crying now?

Who’s crying now?

It’s been a relevant part of our music culture for several decades now: the art of the sample. It makes an artist’s song arrangement sound full while also making the original writer’s bank account look full. Now, I’m not talking about full remakes of a song. Those have largely gone out of fashion (at least on the mainstream surveys) in favor of just taking a part of the original arrangement and sticking it into an entirely new song. Hence, all these sample-heavy songs that have been hogging up the charts for years. Sometimes a new song interpolating an older one will out-peak that sample; at other times, it may be the exact opposite, but what happens when both the sample and the new song constructed with it peak at the exact same position? As you might expect, it rarely happens… but for the first time in 15-and-1/2 years and for the second time ever, it’s occurred in the Hot 100’s top ten.

“I Cry” is the fourth single from Flo Rida‘s 2012 release Wild Ones and several weeks ago, it peaked at #6 on the Hot 100. It’s still at #10 on this week’s survey, but it’s moving down and likely won’t go further than that #6 position. Now, a top ten record with your fourth single is pretty cool; not many artists can achieve that with a first single from an album, but, what makes it even more special is that the song it samples also peaked at #6 on the Hot 100. On the chart dated June 4, 1988, “Piano In The Dark” by Brenda Russell (and featuring Joe Esposito of the vocal group Brooklyn Dreams) hit the same spot before descending the chart. Of course, being the 1980’s, it was out of the top 40 by early July; Flo Rida won’t be out nearly that quick. No word on how either artist feels about the coincidence, but I’m sure they must be intrigued that they’re now a part of an interesting piece of chart trivia.

The only other time this full circle moment has been completed on the Hot 100 was in 1997. It was then that “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans and 112, a tribute record to the Notorious B.I.G. who had died several months earlier, debuted at #1 in June and stayed there for eleven weeks. The song samples the biggest hit ever for The Police, “Every Breath You Take”, which spent eight weeks at #1 in 1983. You may remember that Sting joined their crew for a memorable performance on the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. You think they’ll mind sharing this chart achievement with the Rida/Russell combo? No fighting, kids.

As far as the Hot 100 is concerned, it’s happened one other time outside of the top ten. Last year, Pitbull‘s single from Men In Black III, “Back In Time”, and the song it samples, 1957’s “Love Is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia, both peaked at #11. (NOTE: You could make a case for “Hippychick” by Soho (1990) and “Southside” by Moby & Gwen Stefani (2001), both #14 singles on the Hot 100, but since the original song sampled by The Smiths, “How Soon Is Now?”, didn’t chart in the States, I’m keeping it out. Plus, I don’t think Moby actually credits either one. It’s blatantly obvious, though. Put a lovely asterisk next to it.)

Since I like to look at the radio charts as well, this particular form of chart action has happened once on the CHR chart tabulated by Radio & Records. In 1988, George Michael hit #1 for four weeks with “Father Figure”. In 1993, P.M. Dawn returned the sample to the top for two weeks with “Looking Through Patient Eyes”. Unfortunately, “Eyes” only hit #6 on the Hot 100. Maybe it was wearing the wrong pair of glasses.

You never know what’s coming next in the world of sampling, so be on the lookout if your favorite song-sampling record comes close to the original’s peak position. It could just end up on this small but mighty list.

For more crazy chart information like you see here, follow the blog and find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Let me know if I missed any examples too!

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