I seek out and listen to a lot of music in different styles. The other day I was introducing myself to Booker T and the M.G.'s and heard something familiar in “Comin’ Home Baby”, one of the songs from their 1962 debut album. This is a song written by Ben Tucker the previous year and covered by many other artists at the time, including Mel Tormé and Herbie Mann. Anyway, I recognized the main descending riff from two other, completely different songs in my collection: the 1967 “I’m A Man” by the Spencer Davis Group (also famously covered by Chicago), and Vik Sharma’s “Wacky Racers” from the soundtrack of the 2010 TV series An Idiot Abroad. Both Spencer Davis and Vik Sharma used the riff in completely different songs (and, from what I can tell, without crediting the source).
I was wondering what other original riffs from popular music have been widely reused, and thought the SDMB would be a good place to collect and discuss examples. Note that I’m not talking about covers of entire songs, nor about medleys, nor about sampling of existing recordings, but rather taking a riff or snippet of a melody from one song and rerecording it in a completely different song. Since I’m sure this isn’t an entirely uncommon occurrence I thought we might restrict the discussion to cases where a riff has been copied at least twice, as in the “Comin’ Home Baby” example above.