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Arts and Entertainment

A 'sampling' of the Rock Hall class of 2013
From samplers Public Enemy to samplee Quincy Jones, the art of blending old sounds into new is one way musicians acknowledge their influences

Kabir Bhatia
Randy Newman, Donna Summer, Albert King, Heart, Rush, Public Enemy and producers Quincy Jones and Lou Adler join the Rock Hall tonight.
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
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In The Region:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is inducting a new class of artists tonight in Los Angeles. Rockers Rush and Heart, rappers Public Enemy and producer Quincy Jones are among those being honored for their influence in music. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on one audible measure of their musical impact  - sampling.
A 'sampling' of the Rock Hall class of 2013

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The Rock Hall's class of 2013:
  • Randy Newman
  • Rush
  • Heart
  • Quincy Jones
  • Donna Summer
  • Lou Adler 
  • Public Enemy
  • Albert King 
What is sampling? One well-known example involves Hall-of-Famers Queen and David Bowie. They notched a moderate hit with “Under Pressure” in 1981. Nine years later, Vanilla Ice took a bucket of "Ice, Ice Baby" to the top of the charts. 

Rock Hall Class of 2013 is no stranger to sampling
Inductees Public Enemy were at the forefront of sampling old records for musical cues and phrases in the late 1980s. "Fight the Power" lifts 1993-inductee-Sly Stone's wailing from “Sing a Simple Song.”

Quincy Jones, who is being inducted this year, was sampled by Rapper Ludacris in his hit “#1 Spot.” Jones is dismissive of the art of sampling, even though his jazz-fusion records are a perennial favorite of DJ’s.

But Forrest “Gump” Webb of Akron’s Calhoun Record Shop says sampling takes real skill

“You’re not playing live but you’ve gotta have an ear. Then you have to know how to work those machines and chop ‘em and get the sound that you like. You take the best part of the record and you extend it and make it longer.”

Sampling v. covering
Disco queen Donna Summer joins the Rock Hall this year, but Webb says her music is more often covered than sampled. 

“Sometimes you can’t mess up an original song. Even if Beyonce did Donna Summer, she’s not Donna Summer. She’ll never be as good as Donna Summer to me. Most Donna Summer songs are kind of fast [and] disco-y, and most rappers today don’t like to rap over fast songs.”

Cover versions generate royalties for a songwriter, but sampling was originally thought to be free. Attorneys put an end to that party in the 1990s, and now samples must be cleared for use by the original artist. So when you hear Xzibit sampling Randy Newman, you know the man who scored “Monsters, Inc.” gave his blessing.

QUINCY JONES: Produced “Off the Wall,” “Thriller” and “Bad” for Michael Jackson. Also produced Donna Summer, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Leslie Gore and boyhood friend Ray Charles. First African-American executive at a white-owned record company (Mercury Records, Chicago). Scored the films "In Cold Blood," "In the Heat of the Night," "The Italian Job," "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," "The Color Purple."

LOU ADLER: Produced hits for the Mamas & the Papas, Sam Cooke, Spirit, Carole King and also managed Jan & Dean. Produced the seminal Monterey Pop Festival (1967). Went into film production in the 1970s with "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and several Cheech & Chong films.

ALBERT KING: Influential blues guitarist, one of the “Three Kings” of guitar (with B.B. and Freddie, no relations). Influenced Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and (Ohioan) Joe Walsh (of the Eagles). Died 1992.

DONNA SUMMER: Queen of Disco; four No. 1 and 10 Top 10 singles; fourth best-selling female artist who was not already in the Hall. Winner of five Grammies, and influential on female vocalists from Gloria Estefan to Madonna to Beyonce.  Died 2012.

RANDY NEWMAN: Singer-songwriter who gained critical acclaim in the 1970s for LPs "12 Songs," "Sail Away," "Good Old Boys" and "Little Criminals" (the first three of which are among "Rolling Stone" magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All-Time”). Has written hits for Three Dog Night, Linda Ronstadt and the scores for "Monsters, Inc.," "Cars," "The Natural," "Meet the Parents" and all three "Toy Story" films.

RUSH: Canadian power-trio rose to prominence in the mid-1970s through constant touring and sci-fi influenced LPs such as "2112" and "Moving Pictures." Mainly influential on subsequent musicians due to their virtuoso playing (each member has consistently ranked high on “best guitarist/bassist/drummer of all-time” surveys).

HEART: One of the first successful female heavy-metal bands. Gained fame as the “female Led Zeppelin” in the 1970s. Shifted gears and had seven pop hits in the late 1980s. Very influential on bands from the alternative music scene in their native Seattle in the early 1990s.

PUBLIC ENEMY: Hip-hop pioneers led by Chuck D and Flavor Flav.  The group was one of the first to bridge sampling with socially-conscious lyrics in the 1980s. Widely acclaimed for the albums "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back," "Fear of a Black Planet" and "Apocalypse ’91."

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