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Before the Charts

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Some older "hits" based on classical themes

1910 - Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan had success with "That Mesmerizing Mendelssohn Tune", ragtime tribute to Mendelssohn's "Spring Song".
1915 - Alice Neilsen had a 'hit' with the oft-recorded sentimental standard "Home Sweet Home", which featured in the 1823 British opera Clari by HR Bishop. The tune was also used by Donezetti in his opera Anna Bolena in 1830.
1916 - Columbia Mixed Double Quartet recorded "America (My Country 'tis of thee) - these lyrics to "God Save The Queen" were written in 1832.
1921 -  "Song Of India" adapted from the Rimsky-Korsakov "Chanson Indoue" from the opera "Sadko" performed by (amongst others) 1921 - Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, In 1937 by Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra, and a hit in the USA in 1953 for Mario Lanza.
1928 - "Laugh Clown, Laugh" by Fred Waring And His Pennsylvanians includes a brief melodic tribute to "Vesti La Giubba" from I Pagliacci by Leoncavallo.
1934 - "What A Difference A Day Made" became a hit for the Dorsey Brothers, and in the UK (#6 - Oct.'75) for Esther Philips. Originally a song called "Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado" by Maria Grever (1884-1951).
1938 - "Martha" - adapted from "M'Appari" in the Friedrich von Flotow opera "Martha" a hit for Larry Clinton and his Orchestra and singer Bea Wain.
1939 - "Our Love" melody adapted from Tchaikovsky's "Romeo And Juliet" performed by Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and vocalist Jack Leonard.
1939 - Glenn Miller's "Moon Love" adapted from the second movement of Tchaikovsy's Fifth Symphony, with vocal by Ray Eberle.
1939 - Based upon the Mozart "Piano Sonata in C" - "In An Eighteenth Century Drawing Room" became a hit for the Raymond Scott Quintet.
1939 - "Let's Dance" by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra was based upon the 1821 Weber composition "Invitation To The Dance".
1939 - Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Jack Leonard again, this time with "The Lamp Is Low" adapted from Ravel's "Pavanne For A Dead Princess".
1940 - A melody inspired by the Tchaikovsky "Andante Cantabile String Quartet", Connee Boswell scored a hit with "On The Isle Of May".
1941 - Harry James on trumpet scores a hit with "Flight Of The Bumble Bee" based upon the Rimsky-Korsakov piece.
1942 - Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra's "Daybreak" - melody is from the "Mardi Gras" movement of Ferde Grofe's semi-classical "Mississippi Suite".
1945 - "Till The End Of Time" - Perry Como and Carmen Cavallaro sold over a million copies and was adapted from Chopin's Polonaise in A Flat.
1945 - Freddy Martin and his Orchestra had a hit with a pop-classical adaptation from a melody of Rachmaninov's famous Second Piano Concerto, also known lyrically as "Full Moon And Empty Arms" - later recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1946.

1946 - "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows"  by Perry Como was based on Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu in C# Minor.

1947 - Sophocles Papas Ivanovici's "Danube Waves Waltz" adapted to "The Anniversary Song" by Al Jolson.
1949 - "You're Breaking My Heart" adapted from Leoncavallo's "La Mattinata" - 'modernised' by US singers Vic Damone, Buddy Clark and the Ink Spots.
1950 - 27 weeks on the pop charts for an adaptation of "O Sole Mio" as "There's No Tomorrow" by Tony Martin.
1950 - Adapted from the 18th century French melody "Chanson de Marie Antoinette", Guy Mitchell had a big hit with "My Heart Cries For You".

1950 - "No Other Love" by Jo Stafford was based on Chopin's Etude No. 3 in E Opus 10

1951 - Mario Lanza's "Loveliest Night Of The Year" from "Over The Waves" Waltz by Juventino Rosas (1868-1939).
1952 - "Valencia" Lyrics added around 1926 to Jose Padilla's (1889-1960) "La Bien Amada", in the revue "Great Temptations" gave a hit to Eddie Fisher.

(Thanks to "Home Maid" for these)

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