Some say that sampling was invented in the early 1980s, when digital technologies came into practice and hip hop emerged. Others argue that the roots of sampling go back to the 60s, when musicians started to create loops with tape recorders. In fact, the history of this technique goes back even further. The French composer Pierre Schaeffer manipulated recordings already in the late 40s.
However, most pioneers of sampling weren’t using preexisting recordings in such an undisguised manner as hip hop did years later. This leads us to thesis that the true godfather of sampling is Dickie Goodman. The producer from New York invented a specific kind of novelty record that became known as “break-in” in the late 50s. Goodman assembled snippets of contemporary hits and intertwined them with the leading voices of his own recordings. His songs are basically interviews with popmusic answering.
In the spring of 1956 Goodman went into the studio with his songwriting partner Bill Buchanan for the first time. Their debut single, The Flying Saucer Part I & II, is a satirical comment on the UFO craze happening back then. The recording is arranged along a string of samples of Elvis, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others. Occasionally, the sources are quoted in a twisted way. Chuck Berry is introduced as Huckle Berry and The Platters as The Clatters:
The Flying Saucer went straight up to #3 in the Billboard Charts. Soon after, Goodman and Buchanan became subject of what appears to be the first trial in pop history dealing with illegal sampling. 17 record companies sued Goodman and Buchanan for copyright infringement, but interestingly the musicians won the case, as the jury considered their work a parody and thus acknowledged it to be an original work of art.
After several single releases Goodman split with Buchanan and focused on halloween novelty records in the early 60s. Later he reinforced his break-in technique to comment on current incidents. The single Luna Trip, released in 1969, is an alleged interview with Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin und Michael Collins about the landing on the moon. The answers are given by James Brown, Johnny Cash, Al Kooper, The Stones and others:
In the early 1970s Goodman commented on political and economic affairs with songs like Watergrate and the Energy Crisis. In addition to the work under his own name, he also functioned as a producer for other acts, among them a psychedelic outfit called The Glass Bottle. In the last years of his career Goodman acquired a certain reputation as movie parodist. He made fun out of blockbusters like Superfly, Shaft, Jaws, King Kong, E.T. and Star Wars.
Even though Goodmans records were exclusively funny, the ending of his career is rather sad. The godfather of sampling commited suicide in 1989.