In 1964, Louis Armstrong recorded a song for the musical Hello, Dolly!. The song is a little older, from 1835… Read the rest of this entry
In 1984, Linda Lewis released her disco record Class/Style (I’ve Got It). As a small girl, she performed with her father, which led to her first small roles. She played in the movie A Hard Day’s Night. In the seventies, she released several songs, and sung in the background for artists like David Bowie and Cat Stevens. The albums she made in the seventies selled the best, but this disco song only was a minor hit in the Netherlands. Enjoy
Linda Lewis- Class/Style (I’ve Got It)
When the classical composers like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and others wrote their compositions, they probably did not think about pop music. In fact, their music seems to be quite different from the modern pop music. Two worlds that will never meet? Well, not exactly…
One of the best known classical tunes probably is The Fifth Symphony by Beethoven. At least the beginning is iconic: ta-ta-ta-taaa…No wonder that it made its way to pop music. Walter Murphy used the whole song, and made a disco version out of it (which can also be heard in Saturday Night Fever), calling it A Fifth Of Beethoven. However, the first tunes are most used in pop music. Thicke (now Robin Thicke) used them to introduce his song When I Get You Alone. And the Electric Light Orchestra used them to make Roll Over Beethoven (original by Chuck Berry) some longer. Actually, they really rolled over Beethoven.
Listening to classical music inspired several artists. Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane listened to the Bolero from Ravel a few times, and wrote White Rabbit with the Bolero in her mind. If you listen closely to the song, you will hear the structure of the Bolero in it. It’s also no secret that Procul Harum used a part of Bach’s Air on the G-string for their composition A Whiter Shade Of Pale. Gary Brooker had been listening to a lot of classical music, and that’s why the text seemed to fit Bach’s song. A sort of combining, you could say. The same happened to Eric Carmen, who wrote All By Myself in small parts. As he was listening to Rachmaninoff, he thought it was useful for the verse. The only problem he encountered, was that the used part from the second piano concerto was not available in the public domain, as it was written in 1901. Luckily, he could make an arrangement with the Rachmaninoff estate to ensure it still could be used…
However, it is possible to copy entire melodies for your songs. The best example probably is Elvis Presley, who did it a few times. Love Me Tender, for example, was subject of copying: it used the melody of the traditional Aura Lee. Also the classical (Venetian) composition O Sole Mio was used. As Elvis heard it, he wanted an English text written for it, so he could record it. This song was called It’s Now Or Never, which brought Elvis to number 1.
There are, however, several less obvious cases. One of them is Alejandro by Lady Gaga. She used a part of Vittorio Monti’s Csárdás. It’s mainly inspired by the violin, which can be heard in the opening of the song. It proceeds throughout the rest of the song, though the dance beat is put over it. However, listen closely and you will hear Vittorio Monti’s composition. Another case of a dance beat which covers the classical music are the Pet Shop Boys with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. They can be heard in All Over The World, but they are hidden quite well. Try if you can discover them… More disco music: I Love Your Smile by Shanice is said to use a small part of Arabesque No. 1 (Claude Debussy).
A favourite to use is Pachebel’s Canon in D Major. The descending cords can be heard clearly in All Together Now by the Farm, starting right at the start and playing through the complete song. The same composition was used by Stock, Aitken and Waterman for Kylie Minogue’s I Should Be So Lucky. Another composition that Stock, Aitken and Waterman used for their songs is Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner. Its strings are used in You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) by Dead Or Alive…
Quite some music of the Beatles was inspired by classical compositions. Quite clear is the use of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, at the beginning of All You Need Is Love. A little less obvious are the instrumental parts at the end of the song: Glenn Miller’s In The Mood and Greensleeves (variations of Bach). Bach also inspired Penny Lane. Paul McCartney got the idea of adding a trumpet to the song after listening to the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2… More Bach: In Blackbird the guitar was inspired by Bourrée in E minor for lute. Especially the first four bars were used in the song. Also Beethoven was used for one of their songs: John Lennon heard Yoko Ono playing Moonlight Sonata, asked her to play it backwards, and as she did that, he wrote the rest of the song around it…
Of the great composers, Mozart has been missing. However, his Piano Concerto no. 21 has been used by Neil Diamond in Song Sung Blue. Probably a little more energetic than Mozart had meant it, and certainly not the thing Mozart ever could imagine, but it would be one of the biggest hits for Neil Diamond. Also a big hit, but some closer to the original: the song Russians by Sting. Writing about the tension between the USA and the USSR, Sting used Sergei Prokofiev’s Romance melody from the Lieutenant Kije Suite to accompagny his message. A last one, probably one you wouldn’t expect: Brahms in Silent Lucidity by Queensrÿche! His composition Lullaby can be heard in the song, played on a cello around 5 minutes and 26 seconds.
Of course, there are many more examples to name. Please don’t hesitate to leave your suggestions (pop and classical composition)!
Minions. This summer, you can’t avoid them. They are everywhere. The cause for this all is the new movie around them: the minion movie. Is it worth to take a look when you don’t like minions, but you do like music?
The answer is definitively yes. The Minion Movie is full of small jokes, which will not be understood by children, but probably you will understand them. This varies from a small shot of a billboard with Nixon on it, to complete songs from the sixties. In the movie, you will hear songs by the Doors, the Kinks, the Beatles, and many more big artists from the sixties. In the first moments of the movie, you already will be confronted with the Turtles (Happy Together).
The music is not only there to be heard. You will also see a lot of visual jokes with music in them. The Beatles (well, er, their legs) do have a small role (and please notice that the VW Beetle has been replaced by a VW bus). You will understand that I’m talking about Abbey Road. Furthermore, a minion tries to put the Who and Jimi Hendrix in one (which works out quite well) and if you pay close attention, you will see the Blues Brothers in the public.
Apart from the many references to music (these are just some of them), there are a lot of references to movies. Yes, the Blues Brothers with their police car chase is there, just as the Ghostbusters, King Kong, Godzilla, and many, many, many more. James Bond, too (notice the music with Scarlett Overkill).
The Minions take the sixties, mix a lot of it together and that gives us a nice movie. Probably you will enjoy it more than your children will do, as they don’t understand all of the references. But mind you: the children are just happy to see the minions.
In 1967, the Bee Gees released the first single that would chart in the US. The song was written in the Polydor Studio’s, where a power cut took place. When they heard the elevator passing by, they thought of a text where something happens in a mine. It is also said to be inspired by a mining disaster in Wales. England thought it was a new song by the Beatles, but then undercover, and they played it a lot on the radio. This resulted in a number 12 position in the UK. In the US, it was number 14. Enjoy
The Bee Gees- New York Mining Disaster 1941
In 1959, the Isley Brothers recorded a song called Shout. They wrote it as a response to a song by Jackie Wilson, namely Lonely Teardrops. It reached 47 in the US, but was already covered a lot. Johnny O’Keefe took a chance in Australia, Joey Dee & the Starlighters went to number 6 with it, Lulu took it to number 7 in the UK, the Shangri-Las made a cover, as well as the Kingsman and many others. Even the Beatles, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen did a version of it! And the Trammps used it in 1975 as one of their first disco hits! Enjoy
The Trammps- Shout
Barclay James Harvest was a rock group with big successes in the seventies. They released the song Titles in 1975, on the album Time Honoured Ghosts. The song is entirely made out of Beatles songs, but not the texts: just the titles of those songs. The song was no big hit, but is the only song that I know of them. Enjoy
Barclay James Harvest- Titles
Yeah, I’m a big fan of the Beatles. Great songs (although the drugs could have been some lesser: Hey Jude is not exactly inspiring…) and great music. After the Beatles, all of the members went solo. John Lennon had a big hit with Imagine, Paul McCartney did some work with the Wings and Ringo Starr also did something (although his work is not really remembered). George Harrison had a big hit with My Sweet Lord, but I think this song is better. It was a cover from a sixties song by James Ray, and it actually isn’t about religion (which is rare for Harrison songs!). And it’s great to sing along to… Enjoy
George Harrison- Got My Mind Set On You
With adding the Beatles to the Hall Of Fame, I should not forget this band! Some say they are better than the Beatles, others say they aren’t. And that’s allowed. Fact is, that in the sixties, you were either fan of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. I am both, but the conflict has died down a bit. And that’s good, because I really can’t choose. The Beatles are nice boys, making nice songs, but the Rolling Stones are a bit more rough, but also make great music! Thinking about songs as Satisfaction and my personal favourite Paint It Black, I really can’t make up my mind which band is better. They both added something to music, and the Rolling Stones are still great. Rock on, and well deserved: a place in the Hall Of Fame!
It’s Sunday. A day to relax and to think about the world. There’s a very good way to think about the world. If you listen this song, and especially to the lyrics, you have enough stuff to think about for a whole life. Maybe this is the song which fits the world best. John Lennon might have seen the world the way we have to do. A teacher on my school has the text on the wall, in a frame. He couldn’t be more right. Think about
John Lennon- Imagine