Roland will celebrate the TR-808 drum machine’s 40th birthday this year.
The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, commonly known as the 808, was manufactured between 1980 and 1983, and the legendary drum machine has contributed to music from the likes of Beastie Boys, Marvin Gaye, and Public Enemy.
To celebrate the milestone, Roland have released a mini-documentary on Youtube entitled Building the Beat: Inside Legendary Roland TR-808 Tracks, featuring the likes of Carl Craig, Arthur Baker, A Guy Called Gerald, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. There’s also a Spotify 808 40-year playlist featuring tracks made with an 808, with music from Kanye West, Felix Da Housecat, and Jamie XX.
If you’ve ever dreamed of getting your hands on the real thing, as part of the celebrations, Roland have also made the TR-808 DAW plug-in free to download on Roland’s website for the whole of August.
Check out the playlist and the documentary below.
Earlier this year, the Roland TR-808 was inducted into the NAMM TECnology Hall of Fame.