Before everyone sampled Billy Squier's big riffs, we all enjoyed his 'Big Beat'
There are few ‘80s stories that I have tired of more than the fallout from Billy Squier's video for Rock Me Tonite and how it ended his career according to every DJ and ‘80s expert. We have not come to pile on Squier, but to celebrate him with forgotten rockers like The Big Beat.
It is true that Rock Me Tonite was the last Top 40 hit for Squier, but before the end there was the beginning and in 1980 Billy Squier released his debut album The Tale of the Tape that featured The Big Beat, which did not hit the charts. The video features Squier (once again) prancing around plus the patented guitar riffs that have been sampled by some of music's best known hip-hop artists such as Enimen, Kanye West, Puff Daddy and Jay-Z. The Big Beat has been sampled multiple times including Alicia Keys Girl On Fire and Jay Z's 99 Problems.
While the Rock Me Tonite video directed by Kenny Ortega (High School Musical) was a defining point in Squier's career, the truth is that his album sales had been declining since his triple platinum Don't Say No in 1981. Despite the Boston-native being dropped from his record company and not releasing any new material since 1998, it is estimated that Squier has made millions from the royalties of sampling.