Mixtape: Big Beat Bonanza

It’s difficult to make a big beat playlist without it ending up being approximately 75% Fatboy Slim-related. From 1996 to pretty much forever, the man formerly known by the much more boring name of Norman Cook has been the most well-known practitioner of big beat. Soul, punk, and funk samples, a mountain of synths, a pile of bass, and everything always anchored by those big beefy breakbeats.


If you owned a teevee in the 1990s, at the inception of the “Hey, People Will Sell Us Any Song For This Ad” era, you really couldn’t have avoided big beat. Fatboy Slim’s “Right Here Right Now” urged you to buy Adidas, the Propellerheads really really wanted you to pick up a sweet new Jag, and Death in Vegas thought you should be shorn in Levi’s.

Big beat isn’t nearly as ubiquitous anymore, in part because it has been chopped apart and gobbled up by a lot of other dance styles, Fatboy Slim still does giant raves on beaches and at festivals, but I am not 25 any longer so I have no idea if those things are fun or just irritating. I do know that the 15 songs below are still some of my very favorites.

I tried to limit the Fatboy-related songs in order to make room for great tracks like Shirley Bassey (!!!) with the Propellerheads and cuts from a variety of artists on the Skint label, home to almost everyone who was anyone in 1990s big beat. Given that the mighty Mr. Cook remixes for everyone AND records under different names, he still ends up on here four times in various guises.

Still good for parties, still great for dancing around in your basement, still awesome for booming from your car speakers.

As always, both Spotify and Rdio playlists below. Click one of the playlists below and you’ll be cyber-transported over to the streaming service of your choice to get your listen on. Give up your email address for free listening or give up some coin if you hate ads and love mobile apps.

[Rdio users, you are shit out of luck when it comes to hearing Lionrock’s “Rude Boy Rock” as it isn’t on there. You also get a much longer, much more distortion-heavy mix of Humanoid’s “Stakker Humanoid.”]

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