Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Eis Eis, Baby

Media Moment: Late Show With David Letterman
Queen Related: Under Pressure riff

You know, back in 1990 I was annoyed when Robert “Rip” Van Winkle flagrantly sampled John’s bassline for Ice Ice Baby, but—twenty years later—I’m even more frustrated as it’s become metonymy for anything to do with “ice” in popular culture.

My theory was proven correct on Letterman the other night when his guest was Shannon Eis (pronounced like “ice”), who was explaining this year’s new toys. As she was introduced, bassist Will Lee played the opening riff to Under Pressure . . . er, I mean, Ice Ice Baby.

I suppose I could forgive Van Winkle’s free ride if he had gotten permission to use the sample before releasing the song. At least Queen and Bowie would have made it official. But he didn’t. He appropriated it, told everyone that he added an extra note so it was his, then recanted a while later saying that his original remark was just a joke.

Brian did say during an interview on Rockline back in 1991 that they were going to “sue his white ass off.” Perhaps Abba has Queen to thank for getting royalties from Madonna who sampled Dancing Queen a few years ago.
Photo from the Sun-Herald

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