“The Amen Break” is perhaps the most used loop in music history. First appearing in 1969’s Color Him Father from the Funk and Soul group The Winstons. On the B-side of that record was the song “Amen, Brother.” During the song, drummer G.C. Coleman took a solo at the 1:25 mark. The song never made it past the b-side and was lost to history.
Until Louis Flores, aka “Breakbeat Lou,” got a hold of it.
Breakbeat Lou had been putting together compilations for DJs called “Ultimate Breaks and Beats.” The first record included “Amen, Brother.” DJs started slowing down the beat and using it in many different songs, most notably NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton.” The Amen Break became a staple for Jungle Music and spread throughout the music industry. According to an online database called “Who Sampled,” the Amen Break has appeared in over 3,000 songs, including “Little Wonder” by David Bowie, “Eyeless” by Slip Knot, and “Ragga Bomb” by Skrillex.
The video featuring this story, “The Most Sampled Loop in Music History,” is apart of Great Big Story’s Human Condition Series. The series explores some of “the most peculiar, stirring, extraordinary, and distinctive people in the world.”
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