Riffs on Riffs

Riffs on Riffs

Riffs on Riffs is a podcast that studies sampling in popular music. Hosts, Joe Watson and Toby Brazwell, connect the musical dots between legendary tracks and the often lesser-known songs they sampled. Hear behind-the-scenes stories of musicians and their inspiration; it’s like being in the studio while an artist creates a new song from an old riff. Uncover the way these epic songs borrow from music of the past, enriching the musical landscape for generations to come. *This podcast is a production of the Ohio Film Tax Credit.... Show More

Episodes

March 25, 2020 32 min
Back in the day, children would read stories at school during story time and would often hear the "beep” that would signify when the page should be turned.  ELO’s Evil Woman and The Pussycat Dolls' “Beep” are generations apart but both illustrate how they worked to turn the page in creativity, impact, and style. Join Joe and Toby as they wind through the connections between these tracks.
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March 11, 2020 34 min
Truth be told, there is a bit of confusion about what exactly was sampled from Shuggie Otis' "Strawberry Letter 23” to help create Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson”... But one thing that isn’t up for debate is that both of these songs are hits and there’s no time like the present to discuss these artists and their impact. Join Joe and Toby as they wind through the connections between these tracks.
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February 26, 2020 34 min
If given a choice between sipping whiskey and going blind, the answer is pretty clear. But when listening to Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” and Chris Stapleton’s cover of “Tennessee Whiskey”, things get a little fuzzier. Join Joe and Toby as they wind through the connections between these two tracks.
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February 12, 2020 35 min
Bobby Caldwell is a longtime crooner and someone that can rightfully say he’s big in Japan. Bobby’s classic track, “What You Won’t Do for Love,” is his most recognizable hit, but in this episode Joe and Toby show how Common sampled another Caldwell track, “Open Your Eyes,” for his iconic song “The Light”.
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January 29, 2020 44 min
Ed Sheeran is a gifted songwriter and performer, but that hasn’t prevented him from getting into hot water around sampling and interpolating other artist’s material. Join Joe and Toby as they explore the similarities between Sheeran’s “The Shape of You” and TLC’s “No Scrubs.” Along the way we’ll take a look at the “Stairway to Heaven” copyright case and see how it impacts Ed Sheeran’s financial future. Don’t worry, he’s going to be...
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January 15, 2020 41 min
Before he went looking for an around the way girl, LL Cool J was just a boy with his radio, needing a beat. He became a legendary hip hop pioneer and entertainment mogul. The Mary Jane Girls were the brainchild of Rick James, and he lent his prodigious musical talents to tracks like All Night Long and In My House. Join  Joe and Toby as they connect the dots between these artists.
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January 1, 2020 36 min
You may know it as the chicken dance, but The Dance of the Little Bird was originally about ducks. Joe and Toby take a look at the origins of this oom-pah classic and demonstrate how it may have inspired The Jonas Brothers to create their latest hit, Only Human.
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December 18, 2019 36 min
Roy Ayers Jr. has been called the Godfather of Neo Soul, and his Roy Ayers Ubiquity project was aptly named, as the track Everybody Loves the Sunshine has been a ubiquitous sample in hip hop history. Joe and Toby connect the dots to Mary J. Blige’s second album and its title track, My Life.
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December 4, 2019 36 min
Heavy D and the Boys had a smash hit in 1991 with Now That We Found Love, and Joe and Toby examine how this track interpolates the 1973 hit from the O’Jays with the same name. Join us as we follow Heavy D’s career to full-fledged entertainment mogul and learn more about the soul group that had an enormous influence on future generations.
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November 20, 2019 38 min
Back long before Stefani Germanotta became Lady Gaga, Madonna was, well, Madonna. Joe and Toby examine how the Madonna song “Express Yourself” was inspiration — and some might argue more than that — for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”. Both artists have made an enormous impact on the pop culture landscape, extending their reach far beyond music. Madonna has done it for decades, and time will tell if Lady Gaga has the same staying power...
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November 6, 2019 42 min
When it comes to the music business, Warren G hit the stepbrother lottery. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a monster talent in his own right. Joe and Toby explore how Warren G used Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin” for his debut collaboration with Nate Dogg, “Regulate”. Speaking of monster talents, Michael McDonald has one of the most recognizable voices in music. We’ll take a listen to his work with Steely Dan, the Doobie Broth...
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October 23, 2019 42 min
What we geek out over in this episode: Van Morrison & Them, Bob Dylan vs. Keith Sweat, Them! (1954) monster movie about nuclear ants, The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek” (1969), Bert Berns - or, the guy who wrote “Hang on Sloopy” (1964) and “Brown Eyed Girl” (1967), Eric Gale - American jazz and session guitarist, “White Lines” (1983) by Melle Mel & Grandmaster Flash, and Beck’s rap/funk/soul/folk musical inspiration.
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October 9, 2019 42 min
Calling all rebellious spirits with green mohawks! It’s time to unite for this all-things-Clash episode of Riffs on Riffs. What we geek out over in this episode: The legendary 70’s punk-rock band The Clash and re-discovering the greatness of their music; Bassist Paul Simonon smashing his Fender Precision Bass; what is the deal with the famous London Calling album cover? We’ll interview an expert!; other Clash-influenced tunes by G...
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September 24, 2019 40 min
I know, I know, I know you’ll love this episode featuring Shawn Mendes “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (2015) with Camilla Cabello. What we geek out over in this episode: The life and music of Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, Bill Withers; country music legend Mel Tillis and “Coca Cola Cowboy” (1979); Lou Rawls disco soul wonder “You'll Never Find Another Love like Mine" (1976), Booker T. & The MG's “Green Onions...
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September 11, 2019 34 min
Let’s explore Fall Out Boy’s 2015 hit “Centuries” and the 1990’s indie-folk sample that influenced it’s fist-pumping pop-punk sound. What we geek out over in this episode: “Seinfeld” Theme Song, “Saved by the Bell - The College Years”, the Mother of the MP3, Fast Folk Musical Magazine, Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” (1967), DNA (band), Soul II Soul “Keep on Movin” (1989), “Tom’s Diner” 2015 remix by Giorgio Moroder ft Britney ...
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August 28, 2019 5 min
Enjoy this “ubiquitous” compilation of outtakes featuring hosts, Joe Watson and Toby Brazwell, which occurred during the making of Episode 28 “Bring the Noise” of Riffs on Riffs.  
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August 28, 2019 34 min
You don’t see much genre-mashing these days (sad face) so when metal group  Anthrax hooked up with hip hop pioneers, Public Enemy in 1991… history was truly made. Producing a fresh, thrashed-up take on Public Enemy’s 1988 single “Bring The Noise”, the collaboration spawned a hit single, a groundbreaking tour and a sound that would change heavy music. Joe & Toby get into the cross-pollination of rap-rock and the slew of sampling...
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August 14, 2019 46 min
Get into the smooth vibes of Charlie Puth singing “See You Again” (2015) and a very, very, very subtle Ray Charles sample used in this heart-melting song. What we geek out over in this episode: The legendary Ray Charles & American guitarist Lowell Fulson, BB King “Three O’Clock Blues” (1951), who sampled Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman” (1954)?, “Georgia On My Mind” (1930) Hoagy Carmichael & Stuart Gorrell, Percy Mayfield’s “Hi...
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July 31, 2019 34 min
This super hot episode takes the heat to another level with DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince and their mega hit “Summertime” (1991) with musical ties to a soul gang from the 70’s. What we geek out over in this episode: Kool & the Gang, Miles Davis, tubas!, “Despacito” (2017), Toby’s Slow Jamz Mixtape, Ruffles Potato Chips, the early years of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Mike Tyson, and story-telling raps on the mi...
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July 17, 2019 40 min
This epic episode is comprised of two music icons… Boston and Elton John! Joe & Toby explore the sounds of “More Than A Feeling” and the original sample taken from Elton’s 1973 hit song.  What we geek out over in this episode: Everything Elton John (a.k.a. Reg), bandmates Elton Dean and Long John Baldry (1966 Bluesology), Dr. Robotnik, lyricist Bernie Taupin, Tom Scholz & iconic band Boston, Polaroids & Hey Ya!, Mixolyd...
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