I did state, when pulling together the first installment of this series back a couple of months, that it was likely to be, at best, an occasional thing as the final pieces will always require a fair bit of digging and research and there will be extended periods of time when I can’t be bothered with that.

Pump Up the Volume was a huge hit back in 1987 and is seen as the biggest milestone in the way that snatches of music were sampled to create something fresh and new.

mp3: M|A|R|R|S – Pump Up The Volume

Wiki has a page devoted to Pump Up The Volume in which a table is laid out with info on all the samples that were used on the various different versions of the song.  There are 21 samples identified for the UK radio edit.

Sample 1: Unity – Afrikka Bambaataa and James Brown

The sampled portion is the repeated vocal ‘Ah….’.

Unity dates from 1984 and was the first recording in which James Brown collaborated with anyone who was primarily associated with rap or hip-hop. Despite the impressive pedigree, the single was a flop.

Sample 2: Holy Ghost – The Bar-Kays

The sampled portion is Drums, with moog (at the “put the needle…” part)

Holy Ghost is the opening track on Money Talks, an album released in 1978 but recorded between 1972 and 1975.

Sample 3: Super-Bad (part one) – James Brown

The sampled portion is the vocal “Watch me”

Super Bad is one of James Brown‘s best-known songs, going to  #1 on the R&B chart and number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.

Sample 4: Funkin’ For Jamaica (N.Y.) – Tom Browne

The sampled portion is the trumpet

A top ten hit for the jazz trumpeter here in the UK in 1980 and while it made the dance and R&B charts back home in the USA, it didn’t break into the Billboard Top 100. Was also the first track on side one of Dancin’ Master, the first of what would be many NME mail-order cassettes following the success of C81, released in October 1981.

Sample 5: Put The Needle To The Record – Criminal Element Orchestra

The sampled portion is the vocal “Put the needle on the record when the drum beats go like this”

A hip-hop single from 1987 which itself sampled from many others.  Criminal Element Orchestra is one of the names adopted over the years by legendary NYC-based producer, Arthur Baker.

Sample 6: I Know You Got Soul (a capella version) – Eric B and Rakim

The sampled portion is the vocal “Pump up the volume, dance”

I Know You Got Soul was the third single to be released from the 1987 album Paid in Full, one of the legendary albums in the history of hip-hop.

Sample 7: Change le Beat – Fab 5 Freddy featuring Beside

The sampled portion is the Beep effect and distorted vocal sample, “Ah”

Fred Brathwaite, aka Fab 5 Freddy, is a hip hop pioneer immortalised in 1981 with the mention by Debbie Harry on the hit single Rapture.

Change the Beat is a single dating from 1982 with its B-side lead vocals performed by rapper Beside and rapped entirely in French, making it one of the first multilingual hip-hop releases.

Sample 8: Mean Machine – D.ST and Jalal Mansur Nuriddin

The sampled portion is the chanting -“Automatic, push-button, remote control; synthetic, genetics, command your soul.”

D.ST was the early stage name of GrandMixer DXT, one of the first to use turntables as a musical instrument in the 1980s. The late Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin (July 24, 1944 – June 4, 2018) was one of the founding members of The Last Poets, a group of poets and musicians that evolved in the 1960s out of the Harlem Writers Workshop in New York City. Mean Machine was a single from 1984 and was an update of a track originally recorded by The Last Poets in 1971.

Sample 9: The Jam – Graham Central Station

The sampled portion is the Drums and repeated vocal, “Hu, ha”.

Graham Central Station was an American funk band named after founder Larry Graham (formerly of Sly & the Family Stone). The Jam is the opening track on Ain’t No ‘Bout-A-Doubt, the band’s third album, released in 1975.

Sample 10: It’s Just Begun – Jimmy Castor Bunch

The sampled portion is the vocal “It’s just begun”.

James Walter Castor (January 23, 1940 – January 16, 2012) was a funk, R&B, and soul multi-instrumentalist. It’s Just Begun is the title track of his band’s album from 1972 and is a piece of music, whether the vocal or sax, that has been much sampled.

Sample 11: Jungle Jazz – Kool & The Gang

The sampled portion is the drumbeat

Kool & The Gang first really got noticed in the UK in the late 70s/early 80s through a succession of hit disco/pop singles. But they had been around since 1964, recording and releasing a large number of pioneering soul and funk records. The instrumental Jungle Jazz can be found on the 1975 album Spirit of The Boogie and itself is linked to Jungle Boogie, released two years previously and which later became well-known from its inclusion on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction.

Sample 12: Positive Life – Lovebug Starski and The Harlem World Crew

The sampled portion is the vocal “That’s right, dude, this gotta be the greatest record of the year/Check it out”

Lovebug Starkski (May 16, 1960 – February 8, 2018) was a DJ, MC, musician, and record producer who was part of the emerging hip-scene in The Bronx at the outset. Positive Life is a single dating from 1981.

Sample 13: Im Nin’Alu – Ofra Haza

The sampled portion is the vocal.

Im Nin’alu is a Hebrew poem by 17th-century Rabbi Shalom Shabazi that has been placed to music and sung by many, including Israeli singer Ofra Haza. Her first televised performance was in 1978 but the version sampled is from the 1984 album Yemenite Songs. The vocal/tune was later sampled by Eric B. & Rakim on Paid In Full and, of course, M|A|R|R|S on “Pump Up the Volume” which led to Haza releasing a dance remix of her own recording in 1988 that went to #1 in Finland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and West Germany, while in the UK it peaked at #15.

Sample 14: Pump That Bass – Original Concept

The sampled portion is the vocal “Pump That Bass”.

Another NYC-based act, Original Concept hailed from Long Island, and were one of the earliest signings for Def Jam Records. Pump That Bass was released as the b-side to a single in 1986 and then later on their sole LP, Straight From the Basement of Kooley High, which came out in 1988.

Sample 15: Celebrate the Good Things – Pleasure

The sampled portion is the horn.

A soul/funk/jazz group from Portland in Oregon, Pleasure released a number of singles and albums in the last 70s and early 80s without ever making a commercial breakthrough. Celebrate The Good Things is the opening track, Get To The Feeling.

Sample 16: You’re Gonna Get Yours – Public Enemy

The sampled portion is the vocal “You’re Gonna Get Yours”.

Arguably, the best-known of the samples, it came from a single released just a few months earlier, albeit it pre-dated the commercial breakthrough of Public Enemy.

Sample 17: I Don’t Know What This World Is Coming To – The Soul Children

The sampled portion is the vocal “Brothers and Sisters”.

The Soul Children recorded soul music for Stax Records in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The sample is actually from the MC’s introduction to their performance at Wattstax, a concert to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 1965 riots in the African-American community of Watts, Los Angeles that took place at the LA Coliseum on August 20, 1972. The MC was the Rev Jesse Jackson.

Sample 18: Pump Me Up – Trouble Funk

The sampled portion is the vocal “Pump Me Up”.

Trouble Funk are from Washington, D.C. and released six albums in the 80s before disbanding (since when they reformed in the late 90s). Pump Me Up is from the 1982 album Drop The Bomb, and has become one of the most-sampled bits of vocal over the years.

Sample 19: Introduction to the J.B.’s – Fred Wesley and The J.B’s
Sample 20: More Peas – Fred Wesley and The J.B.’s

The sampled portions are the vocals “Without No Doubt” and “Yeah Yeah”

Fred Wesley is an American trombonist who worked with James Brown in the 1960s and 1970s. The J.B.’s was the name of James Brown’s band from 1970 through the early 1980s. In addition to backing Brown on stage and on record during this era, the J.B.’s also recorded albums and singles on their own, and these two tracks can be found on the 1973 album, Doing It To Death. The former is another which involves a sample from the MC who is doing the introduction…..

Sample 21: Abu Zeluf – Dunya Yunis

The sampled portion is the vocal

This particular piece of music was sampled back in 1980 by Brian Eno and David Byrne on the track Regiment, which can be found on the album My Life In The Bush of Ghosts. The original recording is from “The Human Voice in the World of Islam” which was released in 1976. Not much is known about the singer – she is described only as a “Lebanese mountain singer” in the Eno/Byrne release. It appears, from what I can gather from browsing various corners of the internet, that Ms Yunis had been recorded by Poul Rovsing Olsen (November 4, 1922 – July 2, 1982) a Danish composer and ethnomusicologist at some point during his career and she has never been compensated from the Byrne/Eno work or indeed from the M|A|R|R|S sample.

This post took about three times as long to finish in comparison to an ICA in that there was a ridiculous amount of research involved and with 21 different bits of music to explore, there proved to be a lot of threads to it, almost all of which were new to me.  I feel it’s been the equivalent of climbing Everest as far as this series goes, and as such, I’m retiring it forthwith!



  1. Heroic effort! – your original post was inspiring, but this will be hard to beat! (except with the Avalanches, as somebody has already noted)

  2. Crikey! If ever there was a need to qualify your commitment to the blog here it is.

    I was a huge Colourbox fan – I still am – but this collaborative track left me cold.

    I knew nothing of the numerous samples – I know little of the derivation of Colourbox samples – and despite your sterling work I’m not in the least tempted to have a re-listen to the thankfully short-lived M/A/R/R/S.

    It was a record that crept into some indie club setlists and in doing so reduced and corrupted some of the indie clubs into ‘dance friendly’ clubs.
    For that outrage alone I cannot forgive it. I’ve never seen the cover art before – I do like that.

    I’d guess it’s a rather influential record for those that enjoy that genre?

  3. @Flimflamfan
    The original artwork is different to this. This is the cover from one of the many versions of the ‘remix’ of the single which, confusingly, had the same 4AD catalogue number (with an extra R on some of them).

    There are approx 15 DIFFERENT mixes of the two tracks from the original 12″. Some of the samples were taken off for the first US mix, different samples were used on the second US mix – it’s amazing how many samples were actually used. And on top of that there are different pieces of guitar work by A.R. Kane (the A|R of M|A|R|R|S) used on each different mix.

    The ‘b’ side, Anatina (the first time I see she dance) is quite the opposite. An A.R. Kane track mixed and remixed by Colourbox.

    What an absolutely amazing post – some of the tracks used I thought were different versions (the Dunya Yunis sample I thought came straight from My Life…), some I had never heard of. Great work. Next in the series: The US version HA HA

  4. Ha! You jumped in at the deep end with this one, good work.

    A brilliant record, in a variety of mixes. I love Colourbox and AR Kane and the story of this single is an interesting one. I don’t think either party were entirely happy with the process or the experience. As FlimFlan says one of those records that began to infiltrate indie clubs but unlike FFF I saw this as a good thing.

  5. I love this kind of forensic analysis that I can only dream about having all day to do! Truth be told, I enjoy it much more than the record itself. I was a big Colourbox fan but found this one an outlier to nowhere I wanted to go. I bought the US CD5 and sold it off quickly. All these sampling records were uninteresting to me. A terrible trend.

  6. Well done. Loved this record when it came out .
    I have an excellent mp3 there Coldcut deconstructing their remix of Paid in Full that is very instructive.
    Is Age of Chance’s Kiss Power mix, the first record solely constructed of samples on your list to break down?

  7. That’s a hell of a post, JC. I’ll add what may be new trivia to some folks: The Tom Browne tune ‘Funkin’ for Jamaica (NY)’ is about a small but lively neighborhood in Queens, NYC–not the storied caribbean nation. If I remember correctly, Jamaica isn’t too far away from where Echorich grew up. My first proper legal job was clerking for a judge in the NY Superior Court, which is located in Jamaica. It’s the home of jazz giants Charles Mingus and Ben Webster. Lots of notable rappers came from that hood, including 50 Cent, Salt-n-Pepa, and Darryl McDaniel from Run-DMC. Other musicians are Nicki Minaj and some of Antrhrax. Former NY state governor Mario Cuomo comes from Jamaica. The area’s everlasting claim to shame is that it’s the birthplace of our current *president*.

  8. Well done JC. Some Gen Z’er somewhere, someday, will come across this post and you will have written his dissertation on modern music, or at least contributed to it…
    I have all the time in the world for Pump Up The Volume. From the opening , percolating drum pattern, to the Ofra Haza breaks, and Post Punk guitar treatments, it all fit together so well. I’ve always put this down to Colourbox, who had a very good handle on making their own sort of Post Punk dub – Baby I Love You So, for example. They had a confidence twisting music in the studio well before Pump Up The Volume.

  9. PLEASE TAKE IT TO THE SAMPLE SOURCE MOUNT EVEREST AGAIN, it’s the work of the gods yer doin.

    ‘THAT’S RIGHT, THIS HAS GOTTA BE THE GREATEST RECORD OF THE YEAR’ – The opening of PUTV, that HAS to be Wolfman Jack no ?

    It’s eluded me for all these years. Maye I just need to watch American Graffiti again, it has to be the most likely source.

    Anyhoo, top work, it is greatly GREATLY appreciated, great to hear the Dunya Yunis in its original form. Cheers fella.

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