The famous ‘Amen Break’, sampled in a huge variety of hip hop, Drum & Bass and even techno, is taken from a 6 second clip of the break in an instrumental funk track called ‘Amen Brother‘ by The Winstons. In 2006, the drummer who originally played the break, Gregory Coleman, died homeless due to never having received royalties for the sample. Five years later, in 2011, the lead saxophonist and arranger of the original track, Richard L. Spencer, spoke on BBC Radio 1Xtra about his wish that people did ‘the right thing’ and gave a little back for using the break.
Used in iconic tracks such as ‘Straight Outta Compton‘ by NWA, the Amen Break is a staple fallback for producers the world over and featured on the first edition of ‘Ultimate Breaks & Beats’, a series of compilations that drew from the best funk and disco tracks to be used as DJ tools or for sampling in original productions.
A petition has been made to lend some support to the only surviving original creator of the break through donations. Maybe highlighting a much wider issue with sampling culture in 1980’s music production, this isn’t an attempt to make back money lost in royalty payouts, but more a chance to help the originator and show some appreciation for this iconic sample. Donations have already exceeded £10000, 10 times the original target. Support this great cause on the donation page here.