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by Dan Weiss

March 16, 2014

101 | Rock

Rock and Roll with a Choir

by Dan Weiss  |  March 16, 2014

By the time popular music reached the point of declaring itself "more popular than Jesus" (as famously stated by John Lennon), it was high time to make music that matched. Enter The Rolling Stones' classic "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and its then-groundbreaking boys' choir intro. From there, best-sellers Pink Floyd finally had their biggest hit with "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2," which made use of a similar device; Coolio's 1995-owning "Gangsta's Paradise" turned a sample of Stevie Wonder's ["Pastime Paradise"] into an even more grandiose tune; and U2 reached their critical and commercial apex shortly after bringing the congregation to "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Go big or go home, especially if you're the type of band that truly desires historical importance. Of course, sometimes ambitious alternative bands like to add a choir just for fun (Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Sacrilege," Blur's eight-minute career highlight "Tender") and so do rappers looking to expand their whole genre's boundaries (Outkast's landmark "B.O.B."). But it's no coincidence that major icons -- from David Bowie to Kanye West, Britney Spears to Neil Young, and the king and queen of pop themselves, Michael Jackson and Madonna -- have all dabbled in leading a choir through their tunes.

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