Classical music has certainly been known to provide the inspiration for pop hits. The three biggest adaptations/incorporations of classics in the 70s were the #1 “A Fifth of Beethoven” in the summer/fall of 76, by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band, and two songs that peaked at #2: Deodato’s take on Richard Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” in spring 73 and Eric Carmen’s “All by Myself” (Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2) three years later (Carmen also took the line from Rachmaninoff’s Symphony #2, third movement, for his follow-up, “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again”).
Another song with such a provenance is this week’s #15 tune (it’d get to #6). Apollo 100 was essentially a British studio creation. I first remember hearing this peppy, happy adaptation of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” in early 2005, after I bought a used copy of a CD of 70s instrumental hits (it also contains the Walter Murphy and the Deodato). It’s certainly possible it had been on the radio within earshot around the time I was turning 8, though. No pun intended, but it’s a joy; the fade-in is a nice effect.
5 thoughts on “American Top 40 PastBlast, 1/29/72: Apollo 100, “Joy””
We had both of A100’s albums on 8-track. I particularly liked their versions of the William Tell Overture, Hot Butter’s “Popcorn”, and Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King. The latter was retitled “Mad Mountain King.”
Of course, as a teen proghole, I got really used to hearing rockers do the classical thing, but when I was seven, this was pretty heady stuff.
Does “Could It Be Magic” (Featherbed>Barry Manilow>Donna Summer) count as a pop hit inspired by classical music?
My inclination is yes, even if the main melody doesn’t seem to come from Chopin–I overlooked this one as I was putting the piece together.