Stories Behind Some of Your Favorite Dance Songs

Just as every person has an interesting biography, every song has a noteworthy back-story.  Unfortunately, there’s not enough disk space in the ether for us to write about every song.  So we’d like to put the spotlight on some trends and a select group of songs.  Click on Return to Radio Megamix for what’s popular on dance radio.

He Samples, He Scores

After Eric Prydz ( scored a smash hit in Europe in 2004 with “Call on Me,” which samples Steve Winwood’s “Valerie,” he has inspired other dance artists to construct records around vocal samples from top 40 oldies.  Sampling old-school beats is nothing new; recycling top 40 hits is a more recent trend.  Now you hear fragments of hits by Irene Cara, Boy Meets Girl, and Commodores on the radio and in the clubs.

Veteran Armand van Helden (, shows off his musical knowledge by mining relatively obscure records.  On “My My My” he samples a Gary Wright song that was not exactly a familiar top 40 record.  Wright’s biggest hits are “Dream Weaver” and “Love Is Alive” from 1976.  And for “Into Your Eyes” van Helden borrows two lines from a song off the first of Andy Taylor’s two solo albums.  Taylor was one of the original members of Duran Duran who later formed the super group Power Station.

Ten years ago, someone also took advantage of a little-known track—and unlikely sample material—and produced a classic record:  “The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)” by Kenny “Dope” Presents The Bucketheads.

The success of “Call on Me” means dance records will include more top 40 vocal samples in the future.  And if for some reason they couldn’t sample the original recordings, they’ll just hire vocalists to recreate them.  For example, that’s just what The Lovefreekz have done on “Shine,” singing a few lines of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Shine a Little Love” from 1979.

The following table highlights some of the songs that make use of vocal samples.  We have omitted some foreign-language samples such as those incorporated by Deep Forest and Enigma.  We have also excluded cases where a producer or remixer is expressly hired to remix a song (Felix da Housecat’s 2003 remix of Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman” and “Sun Is Shining” by Bob Marley vs. Funkstar de Luxe from 1999 come to mind).  Mash-ups are in a different category (see below).


Sampling of Vocal Samples on Dance Records
Sampler Sampled
Avicii & Sebastien Drums, “My Feelings for You” Gwen McCrae, “All This Love That I’m Giving” (1979)
Chicane, “Come Back” Paul Young, “Come Back and Stay” (1984)
Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP, “We No Speak Americano” Renato Carosone, “Tu Vuo Fa L’Americano” (1956)
Craig David, “Hot Stuff (Let’s Dance)” David Bowie, “Let’s Dance” (1983)
The Mac Project Featuring Therese, “Another Love” Gusto, “Disco’s Revenge” (1995)
Harvey Mason, “Groovin’ You” (1979)
Sharam Featuring Daniel Bedingfield, “The One” Daniel Bedingfield, “If You’re Not the One” (2003)
The Angry Kids vs. A Flock of Seagulls, “I Ran (So Far Away)” A Flock of Seagulls, “I Ran (So Far Away)” (1982)
Global Deejays Featuring Technotronic, “Get Up” Technotronic, “Get Up! (Before the Night Is Over)” (1990)
Hatiras, “Something About You” Level 42, “Something About You” (1986)
Houzecrushers, “Touch Me” Ecstasy, Passion & Pain Featuring Barbara Roy, “Touch and Go” (1976)
Eric Prydz vs. Floyd, “Proper Education” Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall” (1980)
South Side Crew, “Cold as Ice” Foreigner, “Cold as Ice” (1977)
2-4 Grooves, “The Way I Do” Melissa Etheridge, “Like the Way I Do” (1988/1995)
Armand van Helden, “I Want Your Soul” Siedah Garrett, “Do You Want It Right Now” (1985)
Olav Basoski Featuring Michie One, “Waterman” Sister Nancy, “Bam Bam” (1993)
BeatFreakz, “Somebody’s Watching Me” Rockwell, “Somebody’s Watching Me” (1984)
Ferry Corsten, “Fire” Duran Duran, “Serious” (1990)
Dancing DJs v. Roxette, “Fading Like a Flower” Roxette, “Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)” (1991)
Filterfunk, “S.O.S. (Message in a Bottle)” The Police, “Message in a Bottle” (1979)
FNP vs. Gabrielle, “Dreams” Gabrielle, “Dreams” (1994)
Hi_Tack, “Say Say Say (Waiting 4 U)” Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, “Say Say Say” (1983)
Meck Featuring Leo Sayer, “Thunder in My Heart Again” Leo Sayer, “Thunder in My Heart” (1977)
Sharam, “PATT (Party All the Time)” Eddie Murphy, “Party All the Time” (1985)
Sunblock, “I’ll Be Ready” Jim Jamison, “I’m Always Here” (1993)
Supermode, “Tell Me Why” Bronski Beat, “Why” (1985)
Audio Bullys Featuring Nancy Sinatra, “Shot You Down” Nancy Sinatra, “Bang Bang” (1966)
Cabin Crew, “Star to Fall” Boy Meets Girl, “Waiting for a Star to Fall” (1988)
C-Sixty Four, “On a Good Thing” Commodores, “Flying High” (1978)
Freemasons Featuring Amanda Wilson, “Love on My Mind” Jackie Moore, “This Time Baby” (1979)
Global Deejays, “What a Feeling (Flashdance)” Irene Cara, “Flashdance…What a Feeling” (1983)
Mylo, “In My Arms” Boy Meets Girl, “Waiting for a Star to Fall” (1988)
Eric Prydz, “Call on Me” Steve Winwood, “Valerie” (1987)
Sunset Strippers, “Falling Stars (Waiting for a Star to Fall)” Boy Meets Girl, “Waiting for a Star to Fall” (1988)
Armand van Helden, “Into Your Eyes” Andy Taylor, “I Might Lie” (1987)
Armand van Helden, “My My My” Gary Wright, “Comin’ Apart” (1981)
Ying Yang Twins Featuring Pitbull, “Shake” George Kranz, “Trommeltanz (Din Daa Daa)” (1984)
Dave Armstrong, “Make Your Move” Pointer Sisters, “Dare Me” (1985)
Boogie Pimps, “Somebody to Love” Jefferson Airplane, “Somebody to Love” (1967)
Junior Jack, “Stupidisco” Pointer Sisters, “Dare Me” (1985)
The Jackmasters, “Love Can’t Turn Around” Farley “Jackmaster” Funk & Jesse Saunders, “Love Can’t Turn Around” (1986)
Lazard, “4 O’clock (In the Morning)” Beverley Craven, “Promise Me” (1991)
Nalin Inc., “Scream (Every 1's a Winner)” Hot Chocolate, “Every 1’s a Winner” (1979)
Room 5 Featuring Oliver Cheatham, “Make Luv” Oliver Cheatham, “Get Down Saturday Night” (1983)
Aquagen, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” Chicago, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” (1982)
Layo & Bushwacka!, “Love Story” Nina Simone, “Rags and Old Iron” (1961)
Static Revenger Featuring The Mullet Men, “Long Time” Boston, “Long Time” (1977)
Tall Paul, “Precious Heart” INXS, “Never Tear Us Apart” (1988)
Junior Jack, “My Feeling” Cherrelle With Alexander O’Neal, “Saturday Love” (1986)
Live Element, “Be Free” Belinda Carlisle, “Live Your Life Be Free” (1991)
Nu Romantix, “Mad World” Tears for Fears, “Mad World” (1982)
Roger Sanchez, “Another Chance” Toto, “I Won’t Hold You Back” (1983)
Sound De-zign, “Happiness” Shena, “Let the Beat Hit ’Em” (1997)
Chicane Featuring Maire Brennan, “Saltwater” Clannad, “Theme From Harry’s Game” (1982)
DJ X, “Use Your Luv” The Outfield, “Your Love” (1986)
Jazzy M, “Jazzin’ the Way You Know” Change, “Let’s Go Together” (1985)
Marc et Claude, “I Need Your Lovin’ (Like the Sunshine)” The Korgis, “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime” (1980)
Moby, “Natural Blues” Vera Hall, “Trouble so Hard” (1937?)
St. Germain, “Rose Rouge” Marlena Shaw, “Woman of the Ghetto” (1973)
Cassius, “Feeling for You” Gwen McCrae, “All This Love That I’m Giving” (1979)
Daddy’s Favourite, “I Feel Good Things for You” Patrice Rushen, “Haven’t You Heard” (1980)
Moby, “Bodyrock” Spoonie Gee & The Treacherous 3, “Love Rap” (1980)
Dario G, “Sunchyme” The Dream Academy, “Life in a Northern Town” (1986)
Blue Boy, “Remember Me” Marlena Shaw, “Woman of the Ghetto” (1969 or 1973)
The Crystal Method, “Busy Child” Eric B. & Rakim, “Juice (Know the Ledge)” (1992)
DJ Sneak, “Show Me the Way” The Jacksons, “Show You the Way to Go” (1977)
Kenny “Dope” Presents The Bucketheads, “The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)” Chicago, “Street Player” (1980)
2 Bad Mice, “Bombscare (’94 Remix)” The Emotions, “I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love” (1976)
Jungle Brothers, “I’ll House You” (1988)
Kon Kan, “I Beg Your Pardon” Lynn Anderson, “Rose Garden” (1971)
GQ, “Disco Nights (Rock-Freak)” (1979)
M/A/R/R/S, “Pump up the Volume” Ofra Haza, “Im Niu Alu” (1989)
Eric B. and Rakim, “Paid in Full” (1987)


Can you trust the sampling credits provided in liner notes?  Not completely.  You’d think they would get the names and titles right since they had to get clearance from the original artists/songwriters (shame on Moby, Fugees, and many others).  Check out the following Web sites dedicated to music sampling.  Beware that there are errata and missing information.  For instance, Beyonce did not sample Donna Summer’s record on “Naughty Girl.”

  • (
  • Second Hand Songs (
  • Sample Spotters (

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