Sunday, March 14, 2010

ROCK Sex: "APACHE", HipHop's Sacred Secret Beat! - Bongo Band > Bambaataa > EVERYONE EVER

ROCK Sex is vibing tribal.

"Apache" is one of the most sampled songs in Rap history.

But the song has a crazy 50 year history that covers Surf, Psychedelia, Electronic, Funk, and especially HipHop.



America was big on Westerns in the 1950s. Flush with wealth and power in the wake of WWII, it mythologized its roots in endless films and television series. The driving theme songs of these became staples in Rock'n'Roll guitar bands in the late '50s and early '60s.

"Apache" was written by brit Jerry Lordan, inspired by the 1954 film of the same name. It was first publicly performed on tour by BERT WEEDON.

BERT WEEDON -"Apache" (1960)

The UK guitar greats THE SHADOWS opened for Weedon on that tour and adapted the song to their style. The bold use of atmospheric echo and stocatto twang helped set the template for Surf music. This song is Dick Dale before Dick Dale.

THE SHADOWS -"Apache" (1960)

While that was a big splash in England, in America it was a big hit for a danish guitarist named Jorgen Ingmann. Listen to the amazing use of electronic effects throughout. Joe Meek must have been thunderstruck.

JORGEN INGMANN -"Apache" (1961)

The song was now a Rock standard; check out Los Pekenikes of Spain (1961), the inevitable response by The Ventures (1962), a vocal version by Sonny James (1962), and the fuzzrock biker-theme king Davie Allan And The Arrows (1965).

But what would happen if you crossed "Apache" with Captain Beefheart's "Dropout Boogie"? We've often wondered and now we'll know.

EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND -"Apache Dropout" (1970)

Or if you made an all-Moog electronic take?

HOT BUTTER -"Apache" (1972)

Enough people were doing variations of it that no one could have suspected the impossibly far-reaching impact of this particular Latin-Funk-Rock expansion on it.


But DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and other DJs in mid-'70s New York did. It was a secret weapon in their vinyl arsenal as they used its beats to pump up block parties and clubs in the dawning days of HipHop. Bambaataa would disguise the labels of his records so no one could swipe his sources. But eventually the word got out and the first Rap single to pave the path was...

SUGARHILL GANG -"Apache" (1981)

When Sugarhill Gang yells, "Hot butter popcorn", it is a shout-out to the Moog band, HOT BUTTER, (see above) and their hit "Popcorn". That toast has since become a running joke in Rap songs, from Funky Four Plus 1 to The Beastie Boys.

But nothing compared to the infinite reach of Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache" itself which has become the source of 78% of the songs for the past three decades. Okay, that's not strictly true, but a massive amount of them!

Like who? Samplers include West Street Mob, Full Force, LL Cool J, 2 Live Crew, Grandmaster Flash, Bomb the Bass, MC Hammer, Neneh Cherry, Run-DMC, Dan the Automator, Young MC, C+C Music Factory, The Blow Monkeys, Tone Loc, Blur, En Vogue, Boogie Down Productions, Mick Jagger, Stereo MC's, TLC, David Bowie, The Notorious B.I.G, Beastie Boys, The Future Sound of London, Faith Evans, The Prodigy, Luscious Jackson, Moby, David Arnold, Rage Against the Machine, Amy Winehouse, The Roots, Mike Patton and X-Ecutioners, M.I.A., Guru, Raekwon, Madonna, Jay-Z and Kanye West, Panteras Negras, Willy Moon, and your cousin. To name only a few.

But, you're asking, what if The Shadows, Jorgen Ingmann, Davie Allan, and The Incredible Bongo Band all jammed together on "Apache" at Sugar Hill studios? Well, here's two members of Portishead to answer that musical question.

THE JIMI ENTLY SOUND -"Apache" (2002)

Point out the samples when they blast out at your next party (and they will), and impress your friends!

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-"AMEN Break" - How 6 Seconds From 1969 Propels All Modern Music

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