Hooked on Classics  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Hooked on Classics was a series of record albums first introduced in 1981, toward the end of the disco era's peak in popularity. The series was disliked by many classical music purists, not least because of the background beat, but had the positive effect of reviving interest in classical music among a new generation. However, interest and sales waned after the initial album.



Louis Clark, former arranger for Electric Light Orchestra, conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing a collection of very recognizable extracts from classical music pieces played over a continuous beat (sometimes an overtly disco fast beat, sometimes a slower and more subtle rhythm, always produced by a LinnDrum) that linked the segments together. This is called the Symphonic Rock or Orchestrated Rock genre, like London Symphony Orchestra did in its Classic Rock series but with fewer electronic effects.

The first three albums in the series were a significant commercial success. Hooked on Classics peaked at number 4 on the U.S. Billboard albums chart, remaining on the chart for 68 weeks. It was certified platinum. Hooked on Classics II peaked at number 33, staying for 41 weeks. It was certified gold. Hooked on Classics III reached number 89, and was on the charts for 14 weeks.

The first cut of the initial album was a very successful single, reaching Number 2 on the UK Singles Chart and Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late-1981/early-1982. At least two more "Hooked on Classics" albums were produced by Louis Clark in 1982 and 1983, as well as some other "Hooked on..." albums on subjects such as swing music. The series was still running as late as 1988, when "Hooked on House" placed classical music extracts against a synthesized bassline and house-music-style drum pattern. In 1989, the orchestra released Mixed-Up Classics, dropping the Hooked On... name but recognizably continuing the same style of medley.

Contemporary efforts to combine classical music with contemporary arrangements included efforts by composers such as Walter Murphy, Eumir Deodato and Waldo de los Ríos.

In 2011 Hooked On Classics was brought back 'live' to the stage by Andy Smith & Musicosity with Louis Clark conducting the English Pops Orchestra, featuring players who recorded on the original album.

Brazilian release

Hooked On Classics first release in Brazil was in 1981 under Som Livre label. The record company also released Hooked on Classics II: Can't Stop The Classics. Later it was reissued by CID Entertainment in vinyl, cassette and CD formats in 1988, including the third volume of the series. During the 1990s the same discs were reissued again by the label Kives, a record company specialized in cover and tribute albums of famous artists, such as Roxette, Madonna and Duran Duran. In the 2000s the first three albums from the series were digitally remastered and CID Entertainment again reissued the albums. None of the Brazilian reissues include the credits information except all vinyl releases.

Track listing

  1. Hooked On Classics (Parts 1 & 2) - 5:06
  2. Hooked on Romance - 6:42
  3. Hooked On Classics (Part 3) - 6:02
  4. Hooked On Bach - 5:59 (All music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach)
  5. Hooked On Tchaikovsky - 5:29 (All music composed by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky)
  6. Hooked On A Song - 5:11
  7. Hooked On Mozart - 4:09 (All music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
  8. Hooked On Mendelssohn 4:25
  9. Hooked On A Can-Can - 4:56

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hooked on Classics" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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