When Paul’s Boutique was released on July 25, 1989, it landed with a thud. After the obnoxious frat-boy fun of Licensed to Ill, fans were confused by the complexity of the new record and the lack of hits like “Fight for Your Right to Party.” “Hey Ladies” was the only thing that approached expectations.
The record cost the band a lot of early fans–and almost their record deal.
Now, though, we look back on Paul’s Boutique as a masterpiece, a record that was years ahead of its time. And knowing what we do about the cost of sampling–PB was made during the mostly lawless Wild West era–the chances of making an album like this today is pretty much zero. If one were to try to clear all those samples in today’s marketplace, it would cost anywhere from $300,000-500,000. No one can afford that.
To illustrate that, Open Culture found this video that goes through the 150+ samples found on the record. Truly astounding.