Classic Songs Created With The Iconic Roland TR – 909
(Guest Blogger) Classic Songs Created with the Iconic Roland TR-909 was written for SoundOracle.net by Mitchell "The Innovator" Tillotson, Music Producer.
Picking right back up from the last blog on the Roland TR-808, I thought it was only fitting we talked about the Roland TR-909. This drum machine did to House and Techno music what the 808 did to Hip Hop. Released in 1984, the 909 just like the 808 had its own unique sounding drum samples that didn’t sound realistic compared to actual drum kits sounds. Originally, the kick and snare were modeled by analog synth shaping; however, for the cymbals and hi-hats, there was a struggle. To solve this issue Roland decided to digitally sample actual cymbals and hi-hats. These samples were then compressed to 6 bits and made tunable for the users to manipulate.
The 909 found its niche when local Deejays in Detroit and Chicago got their hands on it and starting using it on their productions. The music they created was termed “House” music and ushered in a new genre of music in the late 80’s and early 90’s. One of the most notable producers in this emerging genre was Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers. His record “Can You Feel It” is regarded as one of the first House records. As time went on there would be a few records that would skyrocket the 909 into the commercial spotlight. Some of these included 1985’s “What Does it Mean” by Schoolly D, 1989’s “Pump Up the jam” by Technotronic, and probably most notably is 1990’s “Vogue” by Madonna. Below I have corralled some of the more iconic hit songs that have used the TR-909 in its production as well as recreated some of the groove using the updated TR-8. Enjoy
SCHOOLLY D - PSK - WHAT DOES IT MEAN 1985
Released in 1985, this classic Hip Hop song served as the inspiration for many other prominent Hip Hop stars to come, including the likes of N.W.A. and Notorious B.I.G, who did their own renditions of this classic track. Noted as the “First Gangsta Rap Track”, The Philly native would also go on to inspire the likes of LA Rapper Ice-T and help usher in the new hip hop genre of Gangsta Rap.
Schoolly D - What Does It Mean TR-8 – The Innovator Remake
Schoolly D- PSK, What Does It Mean? - Original
INNER CITY - GOOD LIFE 1988
Released in 1988, this classic House record uses both the TR-909 and the Casio CZ-5000 for instrumentation with vocals lent from singer, Paris Grey. This song helped to spearhead the House movement in the late 80’s and push the 909 sound into the new decade.
Inner City - Good Life TR-8 – The Innovator Remake
Inner City - Good Life TR-8 - Original
TECHNOTRONIC - PUMP THE JAM 1989
This Techno/House track shot to the number 2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts in 1989-90 and was later deemed triple platinum. This record has also had an immense impact on Pop Culture, showing up in TV Shows and even movies. Probably most notably in the 1996 movie Space Jam, starring NBA Legend Michael Jordan.
Technotronic - Pump The Jam 1989 – The Innovator Remake
Technotronic - Pump The Jam 1989 – Original
MADONNA - VOGUE 1990
Vogue was the first single off of Madonna’s second soundtrack album. The inspirations for the track were the vogue dancers Jose Gutierrez and Luis Xtravaganza from the Harlem “House Ball” Community. The song went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990 and brought the TR-909 and house music to the forefront commercially.
Madonna - Vogue TR-8 – The Innovator Remake
Madonna - Vogue TR-8 – Original
ROBIN S - SHOW ME LOVE 1993
This song was released in the U.S. in 1993 and took the dance floors by storm. Written by Alan George and Fred McFarlane, this song reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 the Dance Club Chart. “Show Me Love”, had great success and continued to push the House genre and the TR-909 into the mainstream spotlight. More recently elements of this song were covered in Kid ink’s 2013 hit “Show Me”.
Robin S - Show Me Love TR-8 – The Innovator Remake
Robin S - Show Me Love TR-8 – Original
Written for SoundOracle.net by Mitchell "The Innovator" Tillotson, Producer
Mitchell “The Innovator” Tillotson is a Music Producer, Musician, Songwriter, and Sound Designer hailing from the greater Baltimore area. Growing up as a Military Brat in the early 90’s and 2000’s and listening to producers like Teddy Riley, Rodney Jerkins, The Neptunes, and Timbaland, he fell in love with music at an early age. The recent Fullsail Music Production Grad and Navy Veteran grew up deejaying the local scenes in the Baltimore/DC areas and is now starting to take the music world by storm. Follow @iamtheinnovator on Twitter.