Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pop Songs Based On Classical Works: An Open Spotify Playlist

This playlist consists of pop songs and the classical works they borrowed from.

To me some of the best examples are Paul Simon's American Tune, one of my favourite songs, which borrowed a tune from Bach's St Matthew Passion(OK Bach got this hymn from someone else and used it multiple times but this is probably the most famous one), The Orb's dance classic Little Fluffy Clouds, which sampled Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint, Elvis' Can't Help Falling Love, which is based on Martaini's aria Plaisir d'amour, and Ella Fitzgerald's My Reverie, which took the tune from Debussy's Rêverie. I have collected 23 pop songs, so 46 tracks in total. For more information you can check out this wikipedia page.

Here is the Spotify playlist: Pop Songs Based On Classical Works. It's an open playlist so you can add tracks to it yourself. If you're going to add songs which sampled classical music, please only include songs in which the classical samplers is an important element, as Kelis' Like You in this playlist which sampled Mozart's famous Queen of the Night aria through out the whole song, on the other hand, Beatles' Revolution 9 won't qualified because of its one second sampler of Sibelius Symphony No.7. And please follow the format that I use: Put the pop songs before the classical tracks. Two more simple rules:

1, Mika's Grace Kelly is not allowed:)

2, No Pachelbel's Canon In D either. Reason? Watch the video below:

See full playlist below, or just click the link above to load it into your Spotify and browse from there. Happy weekend and happy listening.

Paul Simon – American Tune
Bach, JS : St Matthew Passion BWV244 : "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden"
The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds
Ensemble Modern – Electric Counterpoint - Fast
Tony Bennett – Stranger In Paradise
Paavo Jarvi – Prince Igor, Polovtsian Dances: Dance II
Elvis Presley – Can't Help Falling In Love
London Symphony Orchestra – Martini: Plaisir d'amour
Kelis – Like You
Mozart : Die Zauberflöte : Act 2 "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen"
Barry Manilow – Could It Be Magic
Evgeny Kissin – Prelude No. 20 in C Minora
Mario Lanza – And This Is My Beloved - From Kismet
Borodin Quartet – String Quartet No.2 In D Major: Notturno: Andante
Tony Martin – Here
Kurt Eichhorn & Lucia Popp – Rigoletto: "Caro Nome" (Verdi)
Della Reese – Don't You Know?
Rolando Panerai – La Bohème: Quando me'n vo soletta
The Toys – A Lover's Concerto
Gustav Leonhardt – Minuet in G major, BWV Anh. 116
Van Cliburn – Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18: Adagio sostenuto
Jem – They
Glenn Gould – Prelude & Fugue No. 12 in F minor, BWV 881: Praeludium
Eric Carmen – All By Myself - Digitally Remastered 1997
Annie Lennox – A Whiter Shade Of Pale
BWV 140 - Wachet Auf, Ruft Uns Die Stimme: Choral: Zion Hört Die Wächter Singen
Frank Sinatra – I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
Yundi Li – Chopin: Impromptu No.4 in C sharp minor, Op.66 "Fantaisie-Impromptu"
Eric Carmen – Never Gonna Fall In Love Again
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra – Symphony No. 2 in E minor Op. 27: III. Adagio
Monty Python – Oliver Cromwell (Monty Python Sings)
Martha Argerich – Polonaise No. 6 in A flat 'Heroic' Op. 53
Ella Fitzgerald – My Reverie
Zoltán Kocsis – Debussy: Rêverie
The Crew Nuts – Mostly Martha
Orchestra – Martha (1997 Digital Remaster): M'appari tutt'amor
Perry Como – Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom)
The Philadelphia Orchestra – España
Jo Stafford – No Other Love
Murray Perahia – 12 Études, Op. 10: Étude No. 3 in E Major
Patti Page – All My Love
Daniel Barenboim & Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Ravel : Bolero
Xzibit featuring Dr. Dre – Symphony In X Major - Explicit Version
Ton Koopman – Bach, JS : Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G major BWV1048 : I Allegro
Janet Jackson – Someone To Call My Lover (Single Edit)
Francine Kay – Gymnopedie No 1 (Satie)


  1. Some new entries:

    Scott Fitzgerald – If I Had Words
    Symphony No. 3, 'Organ' Op. 78: Maestoso_Allegro
    Captain Jack – Dream A Dream - Radio Mix
    Peer Gynt: In the Hall of the Mountain King
    Weezer – The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)
    Leonard Bernstein – Appalachian Spring: Doppio movimento (shaker melody "The gift to be simple")

  2. A couple more: "Natural" by S Club 7 (Faure's Pavane) and "Since Yesterday" by Strawberry Switchblade (finale of Sibelius 5). The chorus of the jazz standard "The Lamp is Low" (originally recorded by Mildred Bailey) is explicitly based on Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante defunte". The comments to have some quite nice suggestions, including "Love of my Life" by Santana, based on the lovely melody that opens the slow movement of Brahms 3.

  3. Thanks, just added them in. Love the Santana tune:)

  4. These two showed up on my iTunes shuffle right after one another.
    I'mma Shine by YoungBloodZ
    Marcello: Oboe Concerto In D Minor - 1. Andante E Spiccato

  5. Thanks, really cool sample. Added into the playlist. 78 tracks now:)

  6. The organ part of A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum is also inspired by a Bach piece : Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (BWV 140)

  7. The Toys (and others) "A Lover's Concerto", from Gustav Leonhardt "Minuet in G major", BWV Anh. 116
    The Doors' "The Severed Garden" is from Albinoni's Adagio In G Minor
    "Full Moon and Empty Arms" is from Rachmaninoff's 2d Piano Concerto
    Elvis Presley "It's Now or Never", from O sole Mio
    Elvis Presley "Can't Help Falling In Love", from Martini: Plaisir d'amour
    "Hello Mudah, Hello Fadah", from Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours
    Renaissance's "Song of Scheherazade", from Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade
    Blues Traveler's "Hook", from Pachelbel's Canon in D.
    "Natural" by S Club 7, from Faure's Pavane
    "Since Yesterday" by Strawberry Switchblade, from finale of Sibelius 5
    Paul Simon – American Tune, from Bach: St Matthew Passion BWV244 : "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden"
    Tony Bennett – Stranger In Paradise, from Paavo Jarvi – Prince Igor, Polovtsian Dances: Dance II
    Kelis – Like You, from Mozart : Die Zauberflöte : Act 2 "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen"
    Barry Manilow – Could It Be Magic, from Frédéric Chopin's "Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20".

  8. The Streets - Same Old Thing samples Dvořák's New World:

    "Just gets played and replayed in different ways..."

  9. Extremoduro (from 4:00): Dulce introducción al caos
    Bach: Cantata 147

  10. The Lover's Concerto, the original author of the Minuet is now attributed to Christian Petzold, not Gustav Leonhardt.

  11. Anyone else agree?:
    Debussy's Bergamasque:(4): Passepied - very similar passages heard in the Jam's "Going Underground": ".. some people might say that my life is in a rut ... "etc
    (see: from 2:15 onwards - repeats later at 3:07)

  12. There was a song based on Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca that I vaguely know but I can't recall either the title or the vocalist. The words I recall are, I believe:
    Looking back on my childhood
    I seem to cross an ocean,
    To a time la-la-la etc
    Can anybody help me to identify the pop song please? I think it is from the 1960's.

  13. Most of En Vogue's "Masterpiece Theatre".

  14. Fraternity Brothers and or The Diamonds recorded "Passion Flower of my heart" from Beethovens "Fur Elise"

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Here is one from the Netherlands.
    3 way tribute to Beethoven.

  17. There was an old woman's watch commercial on tv, maybe from the 90's, in wich they play a song that used the same melody from Herr unser Herrscher from Bach's "John's passion". Does anybody know the name of that song?

  18. The next decade brought in what is called as the novelty song characterized by humorous lyric combined with melodies that are simple yet catchy (i.e. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, California Girls, and Good Vibrations).
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  20. Hair Up (Justin Timberlake) and Peer Gynt.

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