From rocked-up instrumentals to lush countrypolitan ballads, a collection of pop gems inspired by the great classical composers.
At first glance the worlds of classical music and pop might seem diametrically opposed – the former signifying straight-backed refinement and the latter youthful rambunctiousness – but as these two-dozen tracks attest, there are occasions when these unlikely bedfellows have resulted in a harmonious union.
The great composers never shied away from taking inspiration from each other, so, too, have contemporary songwriters drawn from the well of memorable melodies, often to add gravitas or simply to enhance a song’s catchiness. From Elvis Presley to Lana Del Rey, Tony Bennett to Lady Gaga, this is nothing new.
“Classical Gassers” explores this unlikely meeting of the twain with recordings ranging from rocked-up instrumentals to lush countrypolitan ballads. While some are unabashed in their use of the composer’s original, others tread more lightly, gifting the piece a new dimension entirely.
Recorded between 1960 and 1971, this eclectic selection includes hits by Julie Rogers, James Darren, the Toys, Waldo de Los Rios, Love Sculpture and the Mindbenders, album tracks by Roy Orbison and Harpers Bizarre; and lesser-heard finds by the Cats, Renee St Clair, Lesley Miller and the Pulse.
While rock’n’roll may well have prompted Beethoven to roll over, it’s undeniable that the great composers knew a thing or two about writing great tunes: compositions that were often no less visceral in their day than the best of Chuck’s finely crafted rockers were in the 50s. That their popularity has endured across generations is testament to both longevity and adaptability, while audiences – perhaps unaware of a track’s lineage – continue to be drawn to these reinvigorations.