Tracing the Source of the Flute Sample in Arcade Fire’s “Everything Now”

You may have wondered where Arcade Fire found that catchy little flute bit–it’s a damn earworm, if we’re honest–in their song “Everything Now.” The answer is a song called “The Coffee Cola Song” by an artist, poet and writer from Cameroon named Francis Bebey.

Win Butler was rooting around in a record shop in London, thought it looked interesting and bought it. When he got home, he fiddled with remixing the song just for fun.

Meanwhile, his wife Regine, remembers hearing the song on the radio in Montreal when she was growing up—maybe, she thinks, on some college radio station. When she heard Win playing it, it brought back all kinds of memories and after discussing things with Win, he decided to give up on the remix and write an entirely new song.

It’s too bad that Bebey can’t hear what’s become of his flute bit. He died in 2001 at the age of 71. However, the actual player of the flute, Francis’ son, Patrick, is still with us.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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