The "Generic Middle Eastern Riff"

This seems to be a bit of a recurring musical motif in P-funk music (one of many, of course). It started with You Scared the Lovin’ Outta Me, on Harcore Jollies. The main guitar riff from that song is a melody we all know and have all heard, and we all knew it before we were ever fans of p-funk. It’s ubiquitous and turns up all over the place in pop culture. What’s its origin? Does it have a name? I have always thought of it as the “Generic Middle Eastern Riff”. It conjures images of snake charmers and belly dancers.

It turns up a couple of years later in Roto Rooter by Bootsy, then in slightly altered forms (but, I believe, still based on the original riff, correct me if I’m wrong), in Thrashin’ by GC on Some Of My Best Jokes Are Friends (1985) and then more recently, the horn riff from You Can’t Unring the Bell on Shake the Gate (2014).

Are there any other instances I’m missing?

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I had to look it up myself, apparently it’s hundreds of years of old. Check out this great blog post.


:point_up:t3:It’s also traditionally known in the west as the (cliched?) “snake charmer” riff… geddit!?! it’s a musical joke!?!
consider the topics of the first two tunes you mentioned… PS.A clue “You scared the love” is a song about premature ejaculation!!!:metal:t3:

:point_up:t3:He’s got his SNAKE in his hand they call him the clean up man… “Roto-Rooter Troubleshooter… And away goes trouble down the drain!”

:point_up:t3:Funny I don’t really hear the riff as clearly in ‘Thrashin’ but maybe who knows after all it’s a song about “Bombs” and they are some of the biggest Phallic symbols there are… Boom!:metal:t3: