Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sliced Tomatoes, by Way of Countless High School Dances

Okay, so there’s been a lot of music lately. That’s just where I am. I’ve actually been performing the kind of sit-at-the-desk tasks that require casual distraction, so I’ve been listening to music, jumping on to weird YouTube playlists and seeing where they take me. Tonight, I happened across a fun surf rock-sounding track, The Just Brothers’ 1972 release “Sliced Tomatoes.”

I may not surf and I haven’t been to the beach in months, but I still dig instrumental surf rock. And I thought this was that. And I liked it until the realization hit me: It’s “The Rockefeller Skank.” You know — the Fatboy Slim song from She’s All That and just about every trailer for movies aimed at teenagers between 1998 and 2001? This song was unescapable for a period, and it has once again returned, only in older and less offensive form. The chord progressions in “Sliced Tomatoes” are exactly the same.

I double-checked on Who Sampled Who, that site I used to track down the Alison Moyet laugh, and I’m right: The song was indeed sampled by Fatboy Slim. So it’s not news to the music world, but I was still happy to have excavated this music fossil on my own.

One more random fact about a song you’d probably rather forget: Despite considerable commercial success, Fatboy Slim says he didn’t make any money off it. Instead, Fatboy Slim gave away a quarter of the profits to each of the artists he sampled: The Just Brothers (who are apparently considered an R&B group), Bobby Fuller (“I Fought the Law),” John Barry (“Beat Girl”) and Art of Noise (“Peter Gunn”). Random, that.

Okay, one more: According to Who Sampled Who, that other once-inescapable Fatboy Slim song, “Praise You,” contains a sample from a disco remix of “It’s a Small World” that Disney released back in the age when such things were popular.

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