The frontman of funk and soul group The Winstons has received a cheque for £24,000 after fans began a fundraising campaign to ensure the band were rewarded for creating one of the most sampled drum loops in musical history.
A six-second drum solo from The Winstons’ 1969 track ‘Amen Brother’ has gone on to be sampled hundreds of times over the subsequent five decades but the band has never received any royalties from the recordings. Oasis sampled the solo on ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ while a sped up version acts as the intro to The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’.
Other artists who have used the Amen Break, as it has come to be known, include David Bowie, NWA (on ‘Straight Outta Compton’) and, more recently, Tyler, The Creator. Whosampledwho.com estimates the solo has been used nearly 1,900 times.
The drum break can be heard below:
Fans of The Winstons decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to ensure that the band received money for their influential work. The campaign was led by British DJs Martyn Webster and Steve Theobald, who initially planned to raise £1,000.
The campaign closed in March this year and, earlier this week, The Winstons’ Richard Spencer received a cheque for £24,000.
Spencer posted a video on Facebook to thank those who had donated to the fund. “Thank you so much for this great contribution to my life,” he said. “Thank you very, very much. A-men!”
The band were unaware of the song’s second life and US law states that any civil and criminal cases must be filed within 36 months of the song being sampled, meaning the band missed their brief window to benefit financially.
Gregory Coleman, the original drummer, died homeless, while Spencer was working in the transit industry when he first learned about the sampling.