I’ve written about artists that take classical themes and transform them into modern music for singles and albums that actually perform well on the pop charts.
A perfect example would be Walter Murphy’s “A Fifth of Beethoven.” Here’s another.
More than 300 years after Bach, a group of studio musicians was formed by multi-instrumentalist and arranger Tom Parker who could play piano, other keyboards, clarinet, saxophone, trombone and trumpet.
At the age of six Parker was playing piano. In his teens he could be found performing in clubs in London. During the 1960s he was a session musician, and was a member of The Animals.
Parker’s group Apollo 100 released their first recording in 1972 that went to #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Number 6 on the Top 100? Not bad. So why not release another single from the same album that featured “Joy?” Made sense.
Someone decided to push the ensemble’s rendition of “Mendelssohn’s 4th Symphony (Second Movement).”
Let’s give a short listen to the classical variety.
Hmm. Could use a little pep you say?
OK Apollo 100…you’re on!
The ears of purists everywhere are bleeding.
So how did the Mendelssohn exercise do? Oy vey.
The 1972 record, released 50 years ago this month, made Billboard’s Hot 100, but got no higher than #94. and was only on the chart for three weeks. Apollo 100 broke up the following year.