Don't Stop the Music (Rihanna song)

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"Don't Stop the Music"
Rihanna, wearing a white dress, stands in a spotlight. The word 'RIHANNA' is on the top left of the cover written in green letters. Under it are the words 'DON'T STOP THE MUSIC' in a white color.
Single by Rihanna
from the album Good Girl Gone Bad
ReleasedSeptember 7, 2007 (2007-09-07)
Recorded2007
Studio
GenreDance
Length4:27
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)StarGate
Rihanna singles chronology
"Hate That I Love You"
(2007)
"Don't Stop the Music"
(2007)
"Take a Bow"
(2008)
Music video
"Don't Stop the Music" on YouTube

"Don't Stop the Music" is a song recorded by Barbadian singer Rihanna for her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007). It was released worldwide on September 7, 2007, as the album's fourth single. The song was written by Tawanna Dabney and its producers StarGate. Michael Jackson also received a songwriting credit for the sampling of the line "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" from Jackson's 1983 single "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". Both Rihanna and Jackson were sued by Cameroonian musician Manu Dibango, who asserted that the hook originated in his 1972 song "Soul Makossa". "Don't Stop the Music" is a dance track that features rhythmic devices used primarily in hip hop music.

Many music journalists praised the sampling of the "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" hook. The song received a number of accolades, including a Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance Recording. "Don't Stop the Music" reached number one in nine countries, including Australia, France, Germany, and Switzerland. In the UK, it reached number four on the singles chart and it was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The single peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs charts. Certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), as of 2015, it has sold more than 3.7 million copies in the US.

Anthony Mandler filmed the song's music video in Prague. In the video, Rihanna and her friends sneak into the back of a candy store that contains a secret club, and she parties with club-goers. The singer performed "Don't Stop the Music" at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards and the NRJ Music Awards in 2008, and included it on her Good Girl Gone Bad, Last Girl on Earth, Loud and Diamonds World Tour set lists. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) recognized it as one of the most-performed songs of 2009. English recording artist Jamie Cullum released a cover of the song as the second single from his 2009 album The Pursuit, and his version charted in several European countries.

Development and release[edit]

An African man wearing glasses is smiling
Manu Dibango sued Rihanna and Jackson for using his "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" line without permission.

"Don't Stop the Music" was written and produced by the Norwegian production duo StarGate, with additional songwriting by Tawanna Dabney. Michael Jackson received a songwriting credit for the sampling of the line "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" from his 1983 single "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin".[2][3] Tim Sturges and Phillip Ramos provided additional production for the song. It was recorded at Battery Studios in New York City and Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles by Mikkel S. Eriksen and Al Hemberger. Phil Tan and Josh Houghkirk mixed the single, and StarGate provided vocal production and instrumentation.[2]

In February 2009, Cameroonian musician Manu Dibango filed a lawsuit claiming that "Don't Stop the Music" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" used the "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" hook without his permission. According to Dibango, the line is from his 1972 single "Soul Makossa". Agence France-Presse reported that Jackson admitted that he borrowed the line for "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and settled out of court. When Rihanna asked Jackson in 2007 for permission to sample the line, he allegedly approved the request without contacting Dibango beforehand. Dibango's attorneys brought the case before a court in Paris, demanding 500,000 in damages and asking for Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music to be "barred from receiving 'mama-say mama-sa'-related income until the matter is resolved".[4] The judge ruled that Dibango's claim was inadmissible: a year earlier, a different Paris-area judge had required Universal Music to include Dibango's name in the liner notes of future French releases of "Don't Stop the Music", and at the time of this earlier court appearance, Dibango had withdrawn legal action, thereby waiving his moral right to seek further damages.[5][6]

"Don't Stop the Music" was the fourth single from Rihanna's third album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007). Before its release, two promotional remixes of the song (Solitaire's More Drama and the Wideboys Club Mix) were added to digital outlets in Canada and the United States on August 7, 2007.[7][8] On September 7, an EP of the single was released via the iTunes Store in some countries including Australia, Italy, New Zealand and Spain. The EP contains the Wideboys Club Mix and instrumental and album versions of the song.[9] That day, "Don't Stop the Music" was released as a CD single in Germany with the same material as the EP and the song's music video.[10] The following month, it was released as a CD single in France.[11] Def Jam Recordings provided the song to contemporary hit radio stations in the United States on January 15, 2008, and to rhythmic contemporary stations a week later.[12] Nine remixes, including the album version of the song, were released on May 14 to digital outlets in territories including Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Spain.[13]

Composition[edit]

"Don't Stop the Music" is a four-minute, 27-second dance song,[3][13] written in the key of F minor in common time, with a moderate tempo of 123 beats per minute. Rihanna's voice ranges from F3 to A4.[14] The syncopated song samples a variety of layered rhythms, with hip hop rhythms and a heavy bass drumbeat predominating. The sampled "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" was added to the arrangement as a complementary throbbing motif.[3]

Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described "Don't Stop the Music" as having a bouncy feel similar to Rihanna's 2006 single "SOS".[15] According to Fraser McAlpine of BBC's Chart Blog, Rihanna's vocals on the song sound as if she recorded them to a different backing track, "then gave them to some nerdy beatmatcher with an extensive collection of dark electro and classic pop."[16] McAlpine compared the verses' vocal melody to that of Aaliyah's single "Try Again", the chorus to Madonna's "La Isla Bonita", and the base track to Eric Prydz-style trance music.[16] After the release of Rihanna's single "Only Girl (In the World)" in 2010, many critics compared its composition and structure to "Don't Stop the Music".[17][18][19]

Critical reception[edit]

A man wearing blue cap and red shirt is smiling
"Don't Stop the Music" was praised for incorporating the hook from Michael Jackson's single, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'".

Music journalists praised the sampling of the "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" hook. For Pitchfork Media's Tom Breihan—who characterized "Don't Stop the Music" as "an amazing bit of euroclub insanity combined with synth and bass"—the hook from Jackson's track smoothly blends into the song's powerful beat.[20] Nick Levine of Digital Spy called "Don't Stop the Music" "brilliant and unwitting",[21] and said that it was the best single with a Jackson writing credit since his 1997 "Blood on the Dance Floor".[21] PopMatters' Quentin B. Huff wrote that "the Michael Jackson-sampling 'Don't Stop the Music', inspires the type of tail feather shaking you can only produce when you're chanting, 'Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa'".[22]

McAlpine called Rihanna's vocals "emotionally removed, a little distant and naughty, but a smidge melancholy and tearful".[16] According to a New York Times reviewer, in "Don't Stop the Music" Rihanna "[found] exuberance in a ... severe techno beat".[23] In 2012, Billboard ranked the song 13th on its list of "Rihanna's 20 Biggest Billboard Hits" of all time; they wrote, "we defy you to get the hook from this pounding 2007 dancefloor favorite out of your mind."[24]

"Don't Stop the Music" won the Best International Song award at the 2008 NRJ Music Awards.[25] It was nominated for Single of the Year at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, losing to the Jonas Brothers' "When You Look Me in the Eyes".[26] The song was nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 50th Grammy Awards, losing to Justin Timberlake's "LoveStoned/I Think She Knows".[27] At the 2009 Kids' Choice Awards "Don't Stop the Music" was nominated as Best Favorite Song,[28] losing to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)".[29] At the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Pop Music Awards, ASCAP recognized it as one of 2009's most-performed songs.[30] "Don't Stop the Music" was a winning song at the 2009 BMI Pop Awards.[31] In 2014, David Drake of the magazine Complex called the single "one of the earliest shots fired in the mainstreaming of dance music" compared with typical 2007 top-forty fare.[32]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Don't Stop the Music" debuted at number 94 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in the issue dated December 8, 2007,[33] and peaked at number three on February 16, 2008, becoming Rihanna's fourth top-three single.[34] It topped the US Dance Club Songs chart (Rihanna's sixth number-one single),[35] reached number two on the Pop Songs chart[34] and number 74 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.[36] "Don't Stop the Music" had sold 3.7 million digital copies in the US as of June 2015, and has been certified four-times platinum from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[37][38] The song reached number two on the Canadian Hot 100, remaining on the chart for a total of 52 weeks. It was Rihanna's second song to reach the chart's top three, following "Umbrella".[39]

In Australia, "Don't Stop the Music" debuted at number 22 on February 3, 2008.[40] After three weeks, on February 24, the song peaked at number one and remained there for four weeks. It was Rihanna's third number-one single in the country, after "SOS" and "Umbrella",[40] remaining on the chart for 27 weeks. "Don't Stop the Music" charted at number 12 on the 2008 year-end Australian Singles Chart.[41] In 2015, the song was certified five times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales of over 350,000 digital copies.[42] The single debuted at number 31 in New Zealand on October 12, 2007. After fluctuating for four weeks, it peaked at number three for a week and spent a total of 22 weeks on the chart.[43] "Don't Stop the Music" was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) in April 2008 for sales of over 7,500 digital copies.[44]

In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number 68 on December 15, 2007.[45] After seven weeks on the chart, it peaked at number four.[46] In July 2013, the song was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of over 400,000 digital copies.[47] The single was 24 on the 2008 year-end UK Singles Chart.[48] "Don't Stop the Music" debuted atop the French Singles Chart on October 27, 2007, Rihanna's first number-one single on the chart. Remaining at number one for two weeks, the song spent a total of 34 weeks on the chart.[49] On the German Singles Chart, it debuted at number two on September 24, 2007. After two weeks, it reached number one, staying there for two consecutive weeks.[50] "Don't Stop the Music" was certified gold by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie for shipments of 100,000 copies.[51] It was successful on the Swiss Singles Chart, peaking at number one for five weeks.[52] The song reached number one in Austria,[53] Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium,[54][55] Hungary[56] and the Netherlands.[57]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was directed by Rihanna's regular director, Anthony Mandler,[58] and filmed in a nightclub in Prague, the Czech Republic.[59] The video was digitally released on iTunes on July 26, 2007.[60] It was uploaded on Rihanna's Vevo channel on YouTube on November 21, 2009.[61]

In the video, Rihanna and two friends arrive at a nightclub in a yellow taxi and enter a candy store where a boy is standing with his mother. Rihanna tells the boy not to tell anyone where they are going, and the singer and her friends sneak into the back of the store (where there is a secret nightclub entrance). The narrative is intercut with Rihanna singing the song against a wall and dancing in the club. After she enters the club, she checks her makeup in a restroom as she sings.

Rihanna returns to the dance floor for the chorus, dancing and singing with her friends. Her fellow club-goers clap along with the sample from "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". VH1's Christopher Rosa ranked the video 18th on his list of Rihanna's 20 sexiest videos: "This dance-by-numbers song gets a facelift with its brisk, energetic video featuring R as the undisputed queen of the clubs".[62]

Live performances[edit]

Rihanna in a white-striped, revealing outfit, dancing onstage
Performing "Don't Stop the Music" in Zurich during Rihanna's 2010 Last Girl on Earth Tour

"Don't Stop the Music" was the 14th song on the set list of Rihanna's 2007–2009 Good Girl Gone Bad Tour, her first world tour.[63] The singer's performance in Manchester was released in the United Kingdom through iTunes,[64] and is featured on the Good Girl Gone Bad Live DVD.[65] Rihanna performed "Don't Stop the Music" at the 2008 NRJ Music Awards in Cannes on January 26, 2008.[66] She sang the song at the 50th Grammy Awards on February 10, 2008 as half of a medley with "Umbrella" with American funk band The Time.[67] On June 20, 2008 Rihanna was a guest on NBC's Today Concert Series at Rockefeller Center in New York City, performing "Don't Stop the Music", "Umbrella" and "Take a Bow".[68]

After the 2009 United Kingdom release of her fourth album, Rated R, Rihanna gave a Nokia promotional concert at the Brixton Academy in London.[69] She performed songs from the new album, including "Russian Roulette", "Wait Your Turn" and "Hard" (the last of these sung with Young Jeezy).[69] Rihanna also performed "Don't Stop the Music" and other previously released songs, including "Disturbia", "Unfaithful" and "Take a Bow".[70] On December 4, 2009 the singer performed on The Release, MySpace Music's urban-music concert series. Rihanna performed her new material, mashed up with older songs including "Don't Stop the Music", "Live Your Life" and "Run This Town", against a background of stacked vintage televisions and silver mannequins.[71]

On February 1, 2010, Rihanna performed "Don't Stop the Music" and "Hard" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[72] She performed at the 2010 Kids' Choice Awards on March 27, 2010 in the Pauley Pavilion of the UCLA campus, singing "Don't Stop the Music", "Hard" and her 2010 single "Rude Boy".[73] To promote Rated R, Rihanna embarked upon the 2010–2011 Last Girl on Earth Tour (her second worldwide tour), where she performed the song.[74] In June 2011, Rihanna began the Loud Tour, her third major worldwide tour, where the single was twentieth on the set list.[75] She performed "Don't Stop the Music" at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend on May 24, 2012 as the thirteenth song on the set list,[76] with a giant onstage sphinx.[77] The song was on the set list for Rihanna's 2013 Diamonds World Tour, where she sang it as part of a medley with "S&M" and "Only Girl (In the World)".[78] She also performed the song at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in a medley with "Only Girl (In the World)", "We Found Love" and "Where Have You Been".[79]

Cover versions[edit]

During the sixth season of the dance reality-television series America's Best Dance Crew, the dancers Phunk Phenomenon performed a Charlie Chaplinesque music-hall version of "Don't Stop the Music".[80] In 2011, the California indie pop duo The Bird and the Bee covered the song and posted it on SoundCloud.[81] South Korean recording artist Hyoyeon, part of the girl group Girls' Generation, covered the song during the group's 2011 tour.[82] Her version was included on their second live album, 2011 Girls' Generation Tour,[83] which was released on April 11, 2013. In October 2011 Rihanna joined L.A. Reid at his home in the Hamptons to help him judge male contestants for the first season of the American version of The X Factor, where contestant Philip Lomax performed a stripped-down version of "Don't Stop the Music" for Rihanna and Reid.[84] The song was performed by the Treblemakers in the 2012 film Pitch Perfect, and was included on its soundtrack.[85]

Jamie Cullum version[edit]

"Don't Stop the Music"
The top features a white background and the words 'JAMIE CULLUM' and 'DON'T STOP THE MUSIC' in black letters. Underneath is an exploding piano.
Single by Jamie Cullum
from the album The Pursuit
ReleasedJanuary 25, 2010 (2010-01-25)
Length4:49
Label
Songwriter(s)
  • Tor Erik Hermansen
  • Mikkel S. Eriksen
  • Frankie Storm[b]
  • Michael Jackson
Producer(s)Martin Terefe
Jamie Cullum singles chronology
"I'm All Over It"
(2009)
"Don't Stop the Music"
(2010)
"Wheels"
(2010)

English singer and songwriter Jamie Cullum covered "Don't Stop the Music" on his 2009 album, The Pursuit.[88] Produced by Martin Terefe, the song was digitally released as the second single from the album on January 25, 2010.[89] Cullum's version substituted the original's electro-house groove with a "sinuous" acoustic bass and "brushed" drumming.[90] His rendition is in the key of A minor and set in common time at 100 beats per minute, and his voice ranges from C4 to F5.[14]

According to PopMatters' Will Layman, the piano builds the groove from soft to loud (a technique used by Herbie Hancock during the 1960s).[90] Adrian Edwards of BBC Music wrote that Cullum's version of "Don't Stop the Music" is one of the best songs on The Pursuit, and that "the novel production techniques and his broken-voiced pleading to his girl on the dance floor would blend well in any night club with strobe lighting and the clink of glasses at the bar."[91] Cullum's version peaked at number two on the Ultratip chart in Belgium,[92] number 28 in the Netherlands[93] and number 58 in Germany.[94] A music video for the song was released on December 2, 2009 on Cullum's YouTube Vevo channel.[95]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Production – Martin Terefe
  • Mixing – Thomas Juth
  • Engineer – Dyre Gormsen
  • Vocals, Piano and Arrangement – Jamie Cullum
  • Bass – Christopher Hill
  • Drums – Brad Webb
  • Electric piano – Martin Terefe

Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Pursuit (Decca Records).[86]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[92] 2
Germany (Official German Charts)[94] 58
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[93] 28
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[96] 79

Track listing and formats[edit]

Notes
  • a^ Released as separate digital singles in both United States and Canada via iTunes.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording[edit]

  • Recorded at Battery Studios, New York City and Westlake Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California.

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Good Girl Gone Bad (Def Jam Recordings, SRP Records).[2]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[42] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Belgium (BEA)[150] Gold 15,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[151] Platinum 60,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[152] Platinum 15,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[153] Gold 6,194[153]
Germany (BVMI)[154] 3× Gold 450,000^
Italy 105,000[155]
Italy (FIMI)[156]
(since 2010)
Gold 25,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[44] Gold 15,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[157] 6× Platinum 150,000^
Sweden (GLF)[158] Platinum 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[47] Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[38] 4× Platinum 4,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Canada[7][8] August 7, 2007 Promotional remixes Def Jam
United States[159][160]
Australia[9] September 7, 2007 EP
Austria[161]
Germany[10][162]
CD single Universal
Italy[163] EP Def Jam
Netherlands[164]
New Zealand[165]
Norway[166]
Spain[167]
France[11] October 22, 2007 CD single Universal
United States[12] January 15, 2008 Contemporary hit radio Def Jam
January 22, 2008 Rhythmic contemporary
United Kingdom[168] February 4, 2008 CD single Mercury
Australia[13] May 14, 2008 Digital remixes Def Jam
Denmark[169]
Finland[170]
France[171]
Germany[172]
Netherlands[173]
New Zealand[174]
Norway[175]
Spain[176]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson received a writing credit as a result of using the line "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa", which can be heard on his 1983 single "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"[1]
  2. ^ Tawanna Dabney is credited as 'Frankie Storm' for the Cullum version of "Don't Stop the Music" as documented in the official booklet of The Pursuit[86][87]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]