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Hot List Hits and Misses: The 808 Drum Machine and Don Piper

December 1, 2008 1:17 PM ET

The Hot List has been a Rolling Stone tradition since 1986. All this week, Rock Daily takes a look back at the people and trends that stayed smoking and the ones that cooled off. Today, we flash back a decade ago to 1998.

Hit: The 808 drum machine. Called out ten years ago because of a call-out in the Beastie Boys' "Super Disco Breakin'" and a swell of underground dance acts like Basement Jaxx bubbling up into the mainstream, the 808 was enjoying a revival and remains a go-to box for any hip-hop heads seeking a heavy, glitchy, scratchy drum sound. As Rolling Stone wrote, the 808 is "essentially the drum in drum-and-bass." Kanye West loves the 808 so much that he named his latest album after the machine.

Miss: Don Piper. Named "Hot Singer-Songwriter" because of his EP A Don Piper Situation, Piper was a self-described "mod" who channeled Harry Nilsson, John Lennon and Alex Chilton. Though he sparked a major-label bidding war (won by Capitol), his full length never got released on the label. Piper cotinues to release albums himself.

Related Stories:
The 2008 Hot List
Album Review: Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak

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Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

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