The Secret Origins of 16 Popular Albums and Songs from The 90s
In looking back at my most recent output for Micro-Chop, I realize I’ve been covering a lot of material from the 90s. This was a crucial decade for me — a time when my interest in music went from appreciation to obsession. I saw one of the golden eras of rap, more insane dance records than I can remember, and the rise and fall of the mislabeled and misunderstood grunge movement. Some music critics seem to have a degree of cynicism for the 90s, but I loved the music then and continue to love it now.
For reasons I can’t quite articulate, songs from that time period continue to have a strong emotional resonance. As a result, I’ve felt compelled to write a bunch of stories about the music I listened to then.
Below is a collection of 16 interesting backstories to popular 90s albums and songs. Links to the articles are included in each numbered point.
To the left is a playlist of the songs listed below and related influences/sample sources.
- An early Van Morrison record had a major influence on Beck’s Odelay.
- The Beastie Boys Check Your Head album started with pause-tape battles.
- CeCe Peniston’s “Finally” started out as a poem.
- Dave Grohl recorded the entire Foo Fighters debut in one week.
- DJ Shadow used turntable pitch control to layer samples on Entroducing….
- “Fu-Gee-La” was a rejected Fat Joe beat.
- Jade’s “Don’t Walk Away” inspired Q-Tip to make “Award Tour”.
- Mannie Fresh made “Ha” with an Emu-SP1200.
- Nas wanted to sample “Juicy Fruit” for “Life’s A Bitch”.
- The origins of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” go back to 1966.
- Pete Rock may have produced “Juicy”.
- Shanice wrote “I Love Your Smile” to cheer up Gulf War soldiers and their families.
- Snap!’s “Rhythm is a Dancer” sampled the synth in Newcleus’s “Automan”.
- TLC’s “Waterfalls” features vocals from CeeLo Green and a Paul McCartney interpolation.
- Tony D may have produced the original version of Naughty By Nature’s “O.P.P.”.
- Warren G sampled the opening of “Regulate” from a VCR and recorded the vocals in a closet.