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Don't Stop the Music (Rihanna song)

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"Don't Stop the Music"
A Caribbean woman with dark hair is standing on a spotlight, wearing a white dress. The words 'RIHANNA' is on the top 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
Released September 7, 2007 (2007-09-07)
Format
Recorded
Genre Dance-pop
Length 4:27
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s) StarGate
Rihanna singles chronology
"Hate That I Love You"
(2007)
"Don't Stop the Music"
(2007)
"Take a Bow"
(2008)

"Don't Stop the Music" is a song recorded by Barbadian singer Rihanna, released worldwide on September 7, 2007 as the fourth single from her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007). The song was written by Tawanna Dabney and its producers StarGate, with Michael Jackson receiving 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'". Rihanna and Jackson were sued by Cameroonian musician Manu Dibango, who claimed that the hook originated in his 1972 song "Soul Makossa".

"Don't Stop the Music" is a dance song that features rhythmic devices used primarily in hip hop music. The song was critically acclaimed, with many music journalists praising its sampling of the "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" hook. It received a number of accolades, including a Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance Recording. The song reached number one in more than 10 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, and Switzerland. Reaching number four on the UK Singles Chart, it was certified gold 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), it 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 which 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 recorded a cover version of the song as the second single from his 2009 album, The Pursuit.

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 and Michael Jackson.[a][2] Tim Sturges and Phillip Ramos provided additional production for the song. "Don't Stop the Music" 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]

The song samples the line "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" from Jackson's 1983 single, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'".[3] In February 2009, Cameroonian musician Manu Dibango filed a lawsuit claiming that "Don't Stop the Music" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" used the 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 for Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music to be "barred from receiving 'mama-say mama-sa'-related income until the matter is resolved".[4]

"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.[5][6] On September 7, an EP of "Don't Stop the Music" was released via the iTunes Store in territories including Australia, Italy, New Zealand and Spain. The EP contains the Wideboys Club Mix and instrumental and album versions of the song.[7] 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.[8] The following month, it was released as a CD single in France.[9] Def Jam Recordings furnished the song to contemporary hit radio stations in the United States on January 13, 2008,[10] and to rhythmic contemporary stations a week later.[11] Nine remixes, including the album version of "Don't Stop the Music", were released on May 14 to digital outlets in territories including Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Spain.[12]

Composition[edit]

"Don't Stop the Music" is a four-minute, 27-second dance song.[3][12] According to Sony/ATV Music Publishing's digital sheet music, it was written in the key of F minor in common time, with a moderate tempo of 123 beats per minute.[13] Rihanna's voice ranges from F3 to A4.[13] The syncopated song samples a variety of layered rhythms,[3] with hip-hop rhythms and a heavy bass drumbeat predominating.[3][3] The sampled "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" was added to the arrangement for a "pulsating musical structure".[3]

Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine compared "Don't Stop the Music" to Rihanna's 2006 single, "SOS".[14] According to Fraser McAlpine of BBC's Chart Blog, Rihanna's vocals on the song sound like 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."[15] McAlpine compared the verses' vocal melody to that of Aaliyah's 2000 single, "Try Again", and the chorus to that of Madonna's 1987 single, "La Isla Bonita". He concluded, "The backing track is pure four-to-the-floor trance. It's like Eric Prydz all over again."[15] 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".[16][17][18]

Critical reception[edit]

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

The song received generally-positive reviews from music critics, with many praising its "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" hook. Tom Breihan of Pitchfork Media called "Don't Stop the Music" "an amazing bit of euroclub insanity combined with synth and bass".[19] According to Breihan, the hook from Jackson's 1983 song "come[s] in and seamlessly blur[s] into the track's overpowering beat".[19] Nick Levine of Digital Spy called the song "brilliant and unwitting",[20] and said that "Don't Stop the Music" was the best single with a Jackson writing credit since his 1997 "Blood on the Dance Floor".[20]

McAlpine called Rihanna's vocals "emotionally removed, a little distant and naughty, but a smidge melancholy and tearful".[15] According to a New York Times reviewer, in "Don't Stop the Music" Rihanna found exuberance in a severe techno beat.[21] Quentin B. Huff of PopMatters said, "The song that follows, 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] In 2012, Billboard ranked the song 13th on its list of "Rihanna's 20 Biggest Billboard Hits" of all time.[23]

"Don't Stop the Music" won the Best International Song award at the 2008 NRJ Music Awards.[24] 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".[25] The song was nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 50th Grammy Awards, losing to Justin Timberlake's "LoveStoned/I Think She Knows".[26] At the 2009 Kids' Choice Awards "Don't Stop the Music" was nominated as Best Favorite Song,[27] losing to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)".[28] At the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Pop Music Awards, ASCAP recognized it as one of 2009's most-performed songs.[29] "Don't Stop the Music" was a winning song at the 2009 BMI Pop Awards.[30] 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-40 fare.[31]

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.[32] After two months on the chart the song peaked at number three on February 16, 2008, Rihanna's fourth top-three single.[33] It topped the US Dance Club Songs chart (Rihanna's sixth number-one single),[34] reached number two on the Pop Songs chart[33] and number 74 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.[35] "Don't Stop the Music" has 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).[36][37] 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".[38]

In Australia, "Don't Stop the Music" debuted at number 22 on February 3, 2008.[39] 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",[39] remaining on the chart for 27 weeks. "Don't Stop the Music" charted at number 12 on the 2008 year-end Australian Singles Chart.[40] In 2008, the song was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales of over 70,000 digital copies.[41] 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.[42] "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.[43]

In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number 68 on December 15, 2007.[44] After seven weeks on the chart, it peaked at number four.[45] In July 2013, the song was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of over 400,000 digital copies.[46] The single was 24th on the 2008 year-end UK Singles Chart.[47] "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.[48] On the German Singles Chart, it debuted at number two on September 24, 2007. After two weeks, it reached number one for two consecutive weeks.[49] "Don't Stop the Music" was certified gold by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie for shipments of 100,000 copies.[50] It was successful on the Swiss Singles Chart, peaking at number one for five weeks.[51] The song also reached number one in Austria,[52] Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium,[53][54] Hungary[55] and the Netherlands.[56]

Music video[edit]

A screenshot of Rihanna dancing in a club
In the music video, Rihanna is seen dancing in a club; VH1's Chris Rosa called her the "undisputed queen of the clubs".[57]

The song's accompanying music video was directed by Rihanna's regular director, Anthony Mandler,[58] and filmed in a Prague nightclub.[59] It was choreographed by Tina Landon, who had previously worked with Janet Jackson and did the dance visual for Ricky Martin's 1999 "Livin' la Vida Loca".[60] The video was digitally released on iTunes on July 26, 2007.[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 a sample of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". VH1's Chris 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".[57] For About.com, Bill Lamb called the video one of Rihanna's ten best.[60]

Live performances[edit]

Rihanna in a white-stripped, 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 fourteenth song on the set list of Rihanna's 2007–09 Good Girl Gone Bad Tour, her first world tour.[62] The singer's performance in Manchester was released in the United Kingdom through iTunes,[63] and is featured on the Good Girl Gone Bad Live DVD.[64] Rihanna performed "Don't Stop the Music" at the 2008 NRJ Music Awards in Cannes on January 26, 2008.[65] 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.[66] 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".[67]

After the 2009 United Kingdom release of her fourth album, Rated R, Rihanna gave a Nokia promotional concert at the Brixton Academy in London.[68] She performed songs from the new album, including "Russian Roulette", "Wait Your Turn" and "Hard" (the latter sung with Young Jeezy).[68] Rihanna also performed "Don't Stop the Music" and other previously-released songs, including "Disturbia", "Unfaithful" and "Take a Bow".[69] 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.[70]

On February 1, 2010, Rihanna performed "Don't Stop the Music" and "Hard" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[71] 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".[72] To promote Rated R Rihanna embarked upon the 2010–11 Last Girl on Earth Tour (her second worldwide tour), where she performed the song.[73] In June 2011 Rihanna began the Loud Tour, her third major worldwide tour, when the single was twentieth on the set list.[74] 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,[75] with a giant onstage sphinx.[76] 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)".[77] She also performed the song at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.[78]

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".[79] In 2011, the California indie pop duo The Bird and the Bee covered the song and posted it on SoundCloud.[80] South Korean recording artist Hyoyeon, part of the girl group Girls' Generation, covered the song during the group's 2011 tour.[81] Her version was included on their second live album, 2011 Girls' Generation Tour,[82] 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.[83] The song was performed by the Treblemakers in the 2012 film Pitch Perfect, and was included on its soundtrack.[84]

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
Released January 22, 2010 (2010-01-22)
Format Digital download
Length 4:49
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Martin Terefe
Jamie Cullum singles chronology
"I'm All Over It"
(2009)
"Don't Stop the Music"
(2010)
"Wheels"
(2010)

British singer and songwriter Jamie Cullum covered "Don't Stop the Music" on his 2009 album, The Pursuit.[85] Produced by Martin Terefe, the song was digitally released as the second single from the album on January 20, 2010.[86] Cullum's version substituted the original's electro-house groove with a "sinuous" acoustic bass and "brushed" drumming.[87] Cullum's version is in the key of C major and set in common time at 100 beats per minute. His voice ranges from C4 to F5.[13]

According to PopMatters' Will Layman, the piano builds the groove from soft to loud (a technique used by Herbie Hancock during the 1960s).[87] Adrian Edwards of BBC Music wrote, "Cullum's take on Rihanna's 'Don't Stop the Music' is best of all, where 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".[88] Cullum's version peaked at number two on the Ultratip chart in Belgium,[89] number 28 in the Netherlands[90] and number 58 in Germany.[91] A music video for the song was released on December 2, 2009 on Cullum's YouTube Vevo channel.[92]

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).[93]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[89] 2
Germany (Official German Charts)[91] 58
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[90] 28
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[94] 79

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Ireland[86] January 22, 2010 Digital download
Norway[95] January 25, 2010
United Kingdom[96]
Sweden[97] March 3, 2010
Belgium[98] March 15, 2010 Digital download (EP)
Luxembourg[99]
Norway[100]
Spain[101] March 16, 2010
Germany[102] April 2, 2010

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

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)[131] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Belgium (BEA)[132] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (ABPD)[133] Platinum 100,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[134] Platinum 15,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[135] Gold 6,194[135]
Germany (BVMI)[136] Gold 150,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[43] Gold 7,500*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[137] 6× Platinum 120,000^
Sweden (GLF)[138] Platinum 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[46] Gold 400,000^
United States (RIAA)[37] 4× Platinum 3,700,000dagger[36]

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

dagger Since May 9, 2013, RIAA certifications for digital singles include on-demand audio and video song streams in addition to downloads.[139]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Canada[5][6] August 7, 2007 Promotional remixes Def Jam
United States[140][141]
Australia[7] September 7, 2007 EP
Austria[142]
Germany[8][143]
CD single Universal
Italy[144] EP Def Jam
Netherlands[145]
New Zealand[146]
Norway[147]
Spain[148]
France[9] October 22, 2007 CD single Universal
United States[10][11] January 13, 2008 Contemporary hit radio Def Jam
January 20, 2008 Rhythmic contemporary
United Kingdom[149] February 4, 2008 CD single Mercury
Australia[12] May 14, 2008 Digital remixes Def Jam
Denmark[150]
Finland[151]
France[152]
Germany[153]
Netherlands[154]
New Zealand[155]
Norway[156]
Spain[157]
Sweden[158]
Switzerland[159]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]