Incredible Bongo Band

Formed in 1972, the Incredible Bongo Band – AKA Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band – was a studio project formed by MGM Records executive and artist manager Michael Viner. Commissioned to provide the soundtrack to the 1972 film The Thing with Two Heads, Viner and his group of session musicians provided a funky, percussion-fueled collection of instrumentals for the film’s soundtrack. Being made up of session musicians, Viner used the cream of the crop when making Incredible Bongo Band records. Some of the many musicians involved on their recordings include Jim Gordon, Joe Sample, Dean Parks, Wilton Felder, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Glen Campbell, and Harry Nilsson. The musical experiment was so successful that the Incredible Bongo Band returned for two studio albums: Bongo Rock (1973) and Return of the Incredible Bongo Band (1974). The first album featured a unique version of The Shadows’ 1960 hit “Apache”. The Incredible Bongo Band’s version had a percussion break that became one of the most sampled breaks in history – it was used by Grandmaster Flash, MC Hammer, Boogie Down Productions, Nas, Madonna, Rage Against the Machine, Jay-Z & Kanye West, TLC, The Beastie Boys, and others. Another hit off the first album was a cover of Art Laboe and Preston Epps’ “Bongo Rock”, which was renamed “Bongo Rock ‘73”. Many other tracks on the band’s two albums have been sampled over the years, making the Incredible Bongo Band one of the most influential ‘unknown’ bands of modern times.

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