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Mashups: Oldies Meet 80s Meet Top 40 Pop

Updated on August 23, 2017

Mashups: DJs Bring Classics to New Listeners

DJs take songs and blend them together. Mashup artists are DJs that take that idea three or four steps farther: instead of stopping and starting songs in sync they play them at the same time for a wide variety of effects. Such mashups bring songs to kids in clubs who might otherwise never have heard the oldies and 80s gems that DJs bring into the mix with current pop and dance hits.

Also known as bootlegs or booty for short, mashups use the the instrumental track from one song and the vocals from another to create unexpected and dance-able music. Some of the best mixes include classical music or folk music from around the world laid under modern pop or hip hop songs. Others take a classic song from Motown or The Beatles and mash it with classic rock or techno. You never know what you'll find when you're looking for a new mashup!

If my word isn't good enough, try this piece from National Public Radio about Adele's Rolling in the Deep and how mashups and remixes made it #1! You can find plenty of mashes at The Not-Pop Jukebox, including my Mashup of the Month series.

An Example: Walrus of Choice - The Beatles vs. Fatboy Slim

For a perfect example of a mashup that combines an oldie with a recent song in a fun and funny way, I offer you Faroff and his mash of The Beatles' I Am the Walrus with Fatboy Slim's hit Weapon of Choice. In this case, there's a mashup of video for the two songs as well, something that people donate their time and talent to produce. Have a watch and then keep reading!

DJ, party, turntable, mixer, knobs
DJ, party, turntable, mixer, knobs

Why Mashups Mean More Exposure for Bands

Or, How DJs Give Artists a Wider Audience

I write about mashups on my blog often. Usually it's because a particular favorite of mine has found its way into a fantastic mix with some Britney Spears or Rhianna song that I don't even know. In one memorable case, a favorite disco song--Boogie Wonderland from Earth, Wind, and Fire--got mashed by DJ Earworm with an 80s hit I loved, Midnight Star's Freakazoid and another song I've never been able to identify from someone named Miss Kitten. The results show, for me, precisely what is amazing about mashups and the community that makes them: Bootie Wonderland.

But what do the artists of the original songs think? As you may imagine, their reactions run the gamut from flattered support and appreciation to cease-and-desist orders. Most often it's not the singers or bands themselves that DJs run afoul of, it's the record labels that released the music.

To me, it's the same argument as whether music bloggers are good for the industry as a whole or if they are pirates trying to make a buck off someone else's work. (Disclaimer: I'm a music blogger. I don't make money from my blog and I don't post songs for download.) If I hear a great song, whether on someone's blog or as part of a fantastic mashup, how much more likely am I to search out more from the artist? In my experience, many times more.

Ten More Mashups to Make My Case - DJs Mash Everything from Classical to Klezmer

I've selected a set of mashups that showcase what talented DJs can do with great songs. Some combine not just two but several songs to create something wholly new. Take, for instance, Eazy E and Johnny Cash in Folsom Prison Ganstaz. Then we go to Go Home Productions and The Jackson 5 versus Nirvana in Smells Like Rockin' Robin followed by DJ Morgoth's Ace of Spades Feel Good, in which Motorhead takes on Gorillaz.

Then we get a little wilder: My Life on This Crazy Train Sucks, So What?. Dan Mei and Marc Johnce mash Ozzy Osborne, Daft Punk, Kelly Clarkson, and P!nk into a great mess of beats. DJ Schmolli gives us Shut Up Brooklyn Sandman with The Beastie Boys, The Ting Tings, and Metallica. DJ Lobsterdust took two 80s hits from utterly different genres and made Knock Out Eileen and 'way back in 2007 Loo & Placido mixed the Jackson 5 with The Clash to get Should I Stay or Should I Boogie.

Ludachrist took Ray Parker, Jr. and his lawsuit-inducing Ghostbusters theme and made the dangerous Ghost Busta Rhymes. Party Ben took two new songs, from Vampire Weekend and TI & Rhianna, and made Live Your Life Punk. I closeout this list with Intergalactic Robot Rock and The Beastie Boys versus Daft Punk. The intro for this one lasts over a minute but at least the video is there. The other (really great) version I found included just a black screen.

A word of warning: some of these songs and modern music videos include risqué lyrics, dance moves, and outfits. If you're sensitive to those sort of things or you're not allowed to see an R-rated movie please don't click on them.

39 Songs Mashed into One - DJ Tools Make Mashups Fun to Watch, Too

In case you doubt that DJs perform these amazing mashups live, here's an example recorded live. It's like watching a pianist except the keys all have different song bits attached to them. This happens to be from a young man named Madeon who was seventeen at the time. See if you can identify some of the songs. The full list of all thirty-nine is in the video description on YouTube.

Unexpected Combinations Make Mashups Fun! - Rap, Pop, Oldies, and Classical Come Together

Who'd have thought Fergie and Queen would work so well together? Eminem and The Eurythmics? What about Metallica and Michael Jackson? Mashups bring wildly different artists together and show you that great music is just that...and that sometimes a terrible song can be made fantastic. Remember, some of these pop songs and rap videos include language and images that may not be appropriate for youngsters.

If you only pick one to watch, make it Marvin Gaye versus The Pixies, a song the latter has promoted to their fans.

Are Mashups Copyright Nightmares? - Do DJs Rule or Drool?

Mashups are popular world-wide but some people cry foul when they hear two songs combined into a new creation. Videos are routinely yanked from YouTube for copyright violation. Some artists love them and some take offense at their music being made into something wholly different. Now it's your turn to have your say: what do you think of mashups?

Mashups help expand musical taste and benefit the music industry as a whole.

A Prime Mashup Example from FAROFF - Five Songs, No Waiting

Where else could you find Michael Jackson performing with Stealers Wheel, Nirvana, Def Cut, and Franz Ferdinand? Only in mahsups, my dears.

More Than Two Songs Means More Fun - Multi-Track Mashups to Delight Your Ears

I started this mega-mashup section with DJ Schmolli's No Good Cockeyed Tiger as proof of the concept (and my title). It's songs from three decades, starting with both 80s rap and rock, mixed and blended to create something wholly new. It's also a huge banger of a song.

I've included a portion of Loo & Placido's masive Retro Future Shock, this piece with a mere four songs mashed together. DJ Schmolli combines thirteen songs from five decades to make Rock of Ages, Ithaca Audio starts with the Shaft and Imperial March themes and turns them into Don't Hold Back (Just Push Things Forward) with seven other songs, and FAROFF only needs five tunes to make mashup gold with Mash Together.

Go Home Productions was no to be outdone so he added (I Am the) Trampoline (to the Other Side). And then there's DJ Earworm, who takes the Billboard Top 25 of each year and turns it into a song called United States of Pop. New! 2012 has just been posted: Shine Brighter.

Let me know what you think about mashups in general, the examples I've given in particular, and whether you have a favorite that's not listed. Had you heard of mashups and what DJs around the world are doing before? Please drop me a note with any feedback. Thank you!

Are Mashups New to You? - Love 'em or hate 'em?

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    • Not-Pop profile image

      Not-Pop 5 years ago

      @Lemming13: I definitely agree that mashups can bring attention to songs that people may never have otherwise heard. I certainly am exposed to a lot of crazy songs I would missed. And thanks for posting about Shimmy Shimmy Martians. I'm dying to find it, now!

    • Lemming13 profile image

      Lemming13 5 years ago

      I've come across some wonderful mashups, and sometimes they have brought artists to my attention I hadn't heard before, so I have gone out and bought their original music - so I think they can benefit everyone. There was an amazing one which was called Shimmy Shimmy Martians, and a hilarious cross between Shakira and the Bee Gees which I put in my ipod; everyone who watches them loves them.

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 5 years ago from Detroit

      They are not to my taste, but let people be creative.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I like to see music being pushed, being innovative. A good mashup is a good piece o music.