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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

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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