Monday, June 23, 2008

Are you already listening to classical music, but didn't know it?

Why do I think classical music is a vibrant and important format? Well, if you're not an aficionado, you might not realize how much classical music you ALREADY listen to!

Classical music in movies and popular songs

Classical music has been used hundreds of time in popular movies. Check out these amazing lists of classical music in movies (here's another). But even if you never to the movies, there are over five dozen popular songs that copy from classical music. Some examples:

1. (1960) "It's Now Or Never" by Elvis Presley - based on 'O Sole Mio.

2. (1972) Pictures at an Exhibition by Emerson, Lake and Palmer - entire album based on the work by Modest Mussorgsky, with two original pieces ("The Sage" and "The Curse of Baba Yaga"), and a live cover of Nut Rocker" featuring Clavinet

3. (1963) "Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter From Camp)" by Allan Sherman - based on Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" from La Gioconda.

4. Gershwin's "Summertime", by Sidney Bechet, - quotes from Verdi's's "Miserere" from Il Trovatore.

5. (1983) "This Night" by Billy Joel - uses Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata as the basis for the chorus

6. (1993) "Go West" by the Pet Shop Boys, emphasized the original Village People version's chord progression from Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major

7. (1999) "Love of My Life" by Dave Matthews and Carlos Santana on the Supernatural album. Main theme is a nearly literal quotation of a theme in the 3rd symphony of Johannes Brahms, with some rhythmic changes.

8. (1975) "Could It Be Magic" by Barry Manilow - inspired by Chopin's Prelude In C Minor (Prelude #20: Largo)

9. (1945) "Till the End of Time," words by Buddy Kaye and Ted Mossman, popularized by, among others, Perry Como - based on Frédéric Chopin's "Polonaise In A Flat"

10. (1967) "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum - (loosely) based on J.S. Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3, Air (commonly known as Air on a G String) and Cantata 140 "Sleepers Awake".

11. (1976) "Night on Disco Mountain" by David Shire - disco version of Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, featured in Saturday Night Fever

12. (1996) "Don't Look Back in Anger" by Oasis - chorus chord progression borrows from Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major.

13. (1965) Diane and Annita's "A Groovy Kind of Love" is heavily based on the Rondo movement of Sonatina in G major, op. 36 no. 5 by Muzio Clementi.

14. (1976) Eric Carmen's "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" is based on the third movement of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2.

15. (1958) "Catch a Falling Star" by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance - based on a theme from Brahms' Academic Festival Overture

16. (1959) "Once Upon a Dream" in the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty - based upon a waltz in Tchaikovsky's ballet Sleeping Beauty.

Top 100 most popular pieces of classical music in contemporary culture

The rating is done by based on music made famous in movies, commercials, cartoons, songs, video games and ringtones. Here's the top 10 list, and belove that is a musical countdown of the entire list.
Beethoven 5th Symphony
Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Bach Toccata And Fugue
Rossini William Tell Overture
Pachelbel Canon In D
Strauss Blue Danube
Orff O Fortuna
Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra
Offenbach Infernal Galop

For the whole regularly updated (and sortable!) top 100 list visit

Classical music in commercials and other places

The Most Popular Classical TV Themes in the Universe

Ever wonder which television program or commercial made which piece of music popular? This album has most of them: Did you know that the Disney Cruises commercial used Monty Python's Flying Circus Theme, which is Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals? Or that Looney Toons used the Flying Dutchman Overture?

To keep abreast of news and interesting links on Classical Music, visit or subscribe to @Classical_Music on Twitter. Want an RSS feed of just Classical Music posts? Here you go!

1 comment:

  1. Love the concept at ! Thaks for the link :) Came here from your Twitter.