Ostin Allegro's Pop meets the Classics
What's In and What's Out
What's on this site, what isn't - and WHY
What's interesting but didn't quite make it
To be included on the main page the pop music must have been:
What do I mean by influenced by? It is possible that the writer of a pop song has been "influenced by" a classic but that the influence was very subtle and he/she did not quote directly from or use a particular melody. My test would be that, if you listen to the pop song and can hear the quotation, then it's IN. If you can't, it's OUT. I'm sure there will be many borderline cases here. I have just had to rely on my own judgment.
For the main index, the line has to be drawn somewhere. All through the history of music, composers have "borrowed" material from other works. Classical music has always been adapted by others and popularised. It is even thought that many traditional folk songs that go back hundreds of years, were popularisations of the hymn tunes or chants that people heard in church on Sundays! I can't include all these!! This century, many classical pieces have been adapted for other uses. The list runs right through to the start of the rock and roll era. The difference at this point is that the sale of recordings, helped by the arrival of the 7 inch 45 rpm single, began to overtake that of sheet music. This resulted in the various "charts" and "hit parades" of the records that sold best. It is the intention of this web site to list (in the main indexes) those songs and instrumentals that found their way into these charts. I have taken the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (GBBHS) as the arbitrator. If it's not in here, it's not in the main list.
The GBBHS itself starts in November 1952 when the first ever chart (a top 12) was compiled for New Musical Express. The GBBHS moves over to the Record Retailer chart in 1960, and subsequently to the chart compiled by British Market Research Bureau in 1969.
There are probably hundreds of these - it would be too difficult to find all of them, but may be my next project!
This means I've missed out classics such as
"Straight" classical pieces that made it into the chart
Other "straight" songs from musicals
The Student Prince (Romberg and Donnelly - 1924) gave rise to a number of hits in the 1950s. The songs were mostly associated with the tenor Mario Lanza, and
Drinking Song (No 13 in 1955), I'll Walk with God (No 18 in 1955) and Serenade (No 19 in 1955) are probably the best known.
Film or TV Themes
Electronic Performances of Classics
These are mostly on albums and were not hit singles. E.g.
|Interesting but didn't quite make it|
Death Disco - P.I.L. (Public Image Limited) (1979)
This song has a recurring guitar riff that sounds a bit like the famous tune from Tchaikowsy's Swan Lake
Requiem - Slik (1976)
Of course - this Guitar Concerto did become a hit when it was used in the same year by Manuel and his Music of the Mountains
The Only Flame in Town - Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1984)
This song seems to have the same chord progression as Bach's "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring".
There is a keyboard break in the song which seems to borrow from Bach's melody, but is played at the wrong speed.
A song that is clearly based on this piece is the Beach Boys - Lady Lynda (No 6 in 1979).
Love Me Tender - Elvis Presely (1956,1987)
This song uses a the melody by George Poulton called Aura Lee, written in 1861 during the American civil war. Love Me Tender was also a hit for Richard Chamberlain in 1962, and Roland Rat Superstar in 1984!!
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