A History of the Roland TR-808 Drum Machine Featuring Examples of 16 Legendary Beats

Captain Pikant, who previously looked at the minimalism of Kraftwerk, dove into the percussive history of the Roland TR-808, the iconic drum machine that was introduced in 1980. To show its wide influence, he cited and played 16 distinct and recognizable drum patterns created with the 808 using a modern sequencer.

The Roland TR-808 is the most famous and influential drum machine ever created. Today we’re looking at its history – and we’ll do so by showing you 16 of our favourite 808 patterns, spanning across four decades and beginning with its birth in 1980.

Included in this list are Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “1000 Knives”, Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere”, Skinny Puppy’s “Dig It”, Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, Daft Punk’s “Technologic”, and Childish Gambino’s “Sweatpants”, just to name a few.

History of the 808