Hit Parade

We Invented the Remix Edition

How the remix came to mean a myriad of things—from disco DJ extensions, to New Wave reinventions, to J.Lo’s rap pretensions.

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Episode Notes

When you hear the word remix, what do you picture? A club DJ packing the dancefloor with a 12-inch disco bop? A house or hip-hop beat thrown onto a pop song? A rapper teamed up with a singer to give her some “edge”? Maybe even a totally new song with the same name as the old song—and not much else?

Remix has come to mean all of these things: Rethinks. Reboots. Reinventions. Re-recordings. When Sean “Diddy” Combs titled an album We Invented the Remix, he was saying a remix can be virtually anything, and anything goes. And chart-topping stars have taken so many liberties—from George Michael and Mariah Carey re-recording their vocals … to Jennifer Lopez passing off a totally new song as a “remix” of an unrelated song … to Katy Perry calling in rappers to jump on a remix and get her song to No. 1.

Join Chris Molanphy as he explains how we got here: “The Sound of Silence.” “The Reflex.” “Tom’s Diner.” “I’m Real.” “Despacito.” “Old Town Road.” All remixes that scaled the charts by flipping the script and throwing out the rule book.

Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch.

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About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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Host

  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.

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