The owner of music's most influential sample is finally getting paid

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The owner of music's most influential sample is finally getting paid

The "Amen break" is arguably the most important 6 seconds of music ever recorded. With the popularization of sampling, the 4-bar drum solo (originally from The Winstons' 1969 track "Amen, Brother") become a mainstay of early hip hop, before being sped up and chopped to become the breakbeat that defined jungle, drum 'n' bass and techno music. Despite it featuring in many, many successful tracks, The Winstons never received any royalties for use of the sample, something that a new crowdfunding campaign is hoping to fix. A GoFundMe page tilted "The Winstons Amen Breakbeat Gesture" is looking to raise as much money as possible for Richard L. Spencer, The Winstons' lead vocalist and "Amen, Brother" copyright holder.

Spencer has always maintained he and his fellow band members deserve compensation for use of the sample. In a 2011 interview, he lamented that Gregory Coleman, the drummer that played the famous break, "died homeless and broke," and urged musicians that had found success using the sample to give something back. After just a day, the total raised by the campaign stands at over $4,500 -- just a fraction of what the sample has earned others, but not a bad start.

[Image Credit: Rare Funk on 45]

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