Saturday, May 25, 2024

Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” Also a “Lonely Girl” from 1970


Alicia Keys’ new hit “Girl on Fire” is catchy, catchy, catchy. But like a lot of Keys’s songs, it comes with ingredients from past hits. The credits do include a nod to “The Big Beat” by Billy Squiers, upon which the whole drumline is apparently based. There’s another sample that doesn’t seem to be credited anywhere unless I’ve totally missed it. In the middle of the song, Alicia sings a couplet or so from Eddie Holman’s 1970 classic “Hey There Lonely Girl.” The song was written by Leon Carr and Earl Shuman, who are both gone to rock and rock and roll heaven.

“Hey There” was first recorded by Ruby and the Romantics in 1963. But it was Holman’s wonderful recording that became a once in a lifetime hit. Keys only uses two seconds of the original, but it helps make her record. It’s not the same as when she remade The Main Ingredient’s “Let Me Prove My Love to You” into “You Don’t Know My Name,” but it’s still prominent for anyone who grew up during the classic era of R&B.

Do they teach this sampling stuff at Juilliard?

Hey There Lonely Girl:!

Girl on Fire (“Hey There” at 2:26)

A list of some of Alicia Keys’s samples:

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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