Amen Break

What do “Straight Outta Compton” and the Futurama theme – along with thousands of songs in between – have in common? They all sampled the drum break from The Winstons’ “Amen, Brother.” Recorded in 1969, “Amen, Brother” was released as a B-side to their single “Color Him Father.” While the “Color Him Father” hit #7 on the Hot 100 (#65 for the year) “Amen, Brother” didn’t even chart. However, during the early years of hip-hop, the drum break at ~1:26, played by Gregory Coleman, became a very popular loop with DJs and MCs. As hip-hop grew in popularity and looping moved beyond turntables to samplers, the Amen Break made its way into the mainstream and was picked up my other genres.  This playlist is is just a sample of arguably the most popular sample in history, from the early use in Hip-hop to the break away to Jungle/Drum and Bass, to its use in other popular genres.

For you music history buffs, take some time for this 20 min documentary for a detailed story of the Amen Break. There is too many important details to cram in the paragraph above!

For the music fan obssesed with the forensics of music who wants to dig deep in to loops and samples from this era that continue to have influece on modern music, start by checking out :

James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,”

Lyn Collins’ “Think (about it),”

The Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache.”



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