Bootlegs, mash-ups and re-edits have always featured in dance music. They can sometimes even eclipse the original records that inspire them.
For DJs, they are a great first step into production, not least because they idea for them often comes simply from simply playing around with acapellas and samples in front of audiences. Typically a DJ throws an acapella over an instrumental in front of a crowd, realises how well the tracks works go together, and decides to make the mashup as a track.
Here are five bootlegs that became smash hits, to inspire you to dig into your own acapellas and instruments and see what may be waiting there for you to discover.
5 Smash Hit Mashups
1. The Source – You Got The Love (12″ Eren Bootleg Mix)
Mashing the acapella of Candi Staton’s obscure 1986 track “You Got The Love” with an instrumental version of the Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle house song “Your Love”, this was made in the studio by DJ Eren Abdullah, from a mashup he originally performed live in his DJ sets. It became a worldwide smash hit and has inspired many versions since.
2. Steve Angello & Laidback Luke feat Robin S – Show Me Love
Back in 2008, Steve Angello & Laidback Luke released a track called “Be”, which was then used by Hardwell to create a viral mashup with Robin S’s worldwide smash hit “Show Me Love”.
Learn from Luke: Laidback Luke’s Bootlegs, Mashups & Re-edits Course
The mashup inspired Steve Angello & Laidback Luke to produce and release their own take on the idea, which was a global hit and remains one of the best-known tracks by the pairing.
3. Fragma – Toca’s Miracle
Back in 1998, German trance producers Fragma has a club hit with an instrumental track called “Toca Me”. But a year later, DJ Vimto took the acapella of Coco Star’s 1996 sing “I Need A Miracle” and placed it over the instrumental, and an instant worldwide hit was born: “Toca’s Miracle”.
4. Bassheads – Is There Anybody Out There?
“Is There Anybody Out There?” by Bassheads is a full-on mashup/bootleg, mixing a lot of original production with its sampled sections.
Read this next: 7 Apps For Making Quick Re-edits, Mashups & Bootlegs
It opens with the Pink Floyd song of the same name, before using of samples from Afrika Bambaataa’s “Just Get Up and Dance” mashed up with an energetic guitar riff originally from The Osmonds’ “Crazy Horses (re-recorded for the commercial release, for legal reasons).
5. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – People Hold On
In 1989, British dance band Coldcut recruited singer Lisa Stansfield to add vocals to a track called “People Hold On’, which was a hit.
But when producers Dan Bewick (who I interviewed on my podcast) and Matt Frost married it with samples from the radical Armand Van Helden remake of Tori Amos’ “Professional Widow” in 1996, it charted higher than the original version, becoming a worldwide smash hit.
Dance music by its nature is built on reinventing tracks so they work better on the dancefloor. With today’s DJ gear, it is easy to grab an acapella and an instrumental, and using features like beat sync and key sync, to come up with versions of songs that may be unique to you and your DJ sets. It’s a skill well worth cultivating.
And should you want to learn how DJs and producers get from those first ideas to finished tracks that they can play in their DJ sets (which is such a great way to stand out from the crowd), do check out the course we’ve made with Laidback Luke that blows the lid on how re-edits, mashups and bootlegs like the above are made. Click here to learn more about the course.
Do share in the comments underneath any others that you think are worth our attention, too…