Who Sampled True by Spandau Ballet?


In the early 1980s, the British band Spandau Ballet released the iconic single ‘True’. The song quickly became a global smash hit, reaching the top of the charts in both the UK and US.

It is one of their most beloved songs to this day and has been covered by many artists over the years. But who was behind its instantly recognisable sound?

The answer is that ‘True’ was heavily sampled from another song, ‘Glow’ by British synth-pop group Heaven 17. The two bands had a close relationship – Spandau Ballet were signed to Heaven 17’s record label and often collaborated together musically. It was Heaven 17 who suggested sampling their own track for ‘True’, which Spandau Ballet eagerly accepted.

The sample at the heart of ‘True’ is recognisably Heaven 17’s ‘Glow’: a four-note synth line that has become one of the most iconic musical samples in history. After some minor changes to fit it into Spandau Ballets arrangement, Heaven 17 agreed to let them use it in exchange for a percentage of royalties.

Since then, ‘True’ has been sampled countless times by artists from all genres including hip hop acts such as Dr Dre, Jay-Z and LL Cool J. Its unmistakable melody has become so embedded in popular culture that it is almost impossible to imagine pop music without it.


In summary, ‘True’ by Spandau Ballet was heavily sampled from ‘Glow’ by British synth-pop group Heaven 17. The four-note synth line at its heart is one of the most iconic musical samples in history and has been used countless times by many different artists since its release in 1983.