Songs You Didn’t Realize Were Samples

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Remember “Whatcha Say” by Jason Derulo? Did you know that the entire melody was sampled from a 2005 folktronica rock song? That’s right, and there are so many more songs that we know and love that most of us have no idea actually came from preexisting tracks! Read on for some interesting and surprising examples.

“Whatcha Say” by Jason Derulo

The original: “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap

As previously mentioned, the pop and R&B singer Jason Derulo’s debut single, “Whatcha Say,” borrowed its iconic hook from another song! Unlike many other occasions of sampling, though, Derulo’s use of the melody sounds far enough removed from its original counterpart, with completely different genres and directions for the rest of the song.

Fun Fact: The original song, “Hide and Seek,” first gained traction when it was used as the backing track in the season two finale of the teen drama “The O.C.” in a scene you can watch here. The use of the song in that scene was so iconic that it even inspired a “Saturday Night Live” skit, which you can watch here.

“Windows Down” by Big Time Rush

The original: “Song 2” by Blur

Another shocker is that teen boy band Big Time Rush sampled a piece of a track by 90s rock band Blur — two very different sides of the genre spectrum. In a song originally written largely as a joke, the iconic hook goes from grunge to pop in its reuse.

Fun Fact: The members of Blur were actually credited as writers on the BTR song, along with a few other surprising names, including Blackbear and Mike Posner.

“Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X

The original: “34 Ghosts IV” by Nine Inch Nails

That’s right, “Old Town Road,” which was already wildly known for its combination of the country and rap genres, additionally sampled an industrial rock song in its chorus.

Fun Fact: Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails actually won a CMA award for his contribution to “Old Town Road.”

“Bad Things” by Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello

The original: “Out of My Head” by Fastball

This early MGK hit features Camila Cabello singing an interpolation — which is really just borrowing the melody of a song and rerecording it yourself rather than sampling it directly — from the 90s alternative rock hit “Out of My Head.”

“Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” by Ariana Grande
Video from YouTube

The original: “It Makes Me Ill” by NSYNC

Though Grande’s use of “My Favorite Things” in the creation of “7 Rings” is relatively well-known, another hit from the same album makes use of interpolation as well. “Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” features a rewritten line from “It Makes Me Ill” by NSYNC, the 90s boy band with whom she performed at Coachella with in 2019.

Honorable Mention: “Wind It Up” and “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani

Though not technically samples, both of these Gwen Stefani songs heavily feature melodies from Broadway musicals! “Wind It Up” features an interpolation of “The Lonely Goatherd” from “The Sound of Music,” which is Stefani’s favorite musical. Adding onto that, “Rich Girl,” which is one of Stefani’s most famous songs, is a remake of the Louchie Lou & Michie One song of the same name that adapted “If I Were a Rich Man” from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Do you know any other songs that could be on this list? Tweet us @VALLEYmag, to let us know your favorite songs with samples!


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