Whether you like it or not classical music is the real deal. Thousands of modern 20th and 21st century songs are inspired by it. But because of our lack of music knowledge, we consider these brilliant songs to have just come out of the minds of our favorite contemporary artists. I’m not accusing them of doing anything wrong here, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just that finding out their actual source of inspiration makes us admire their theoretical background on one hand, but decreases the magic revolving around them on the other. Here are 8 famous songs inspired by classical music pieces.
1. Radiohead – Exit Music for a Film and Chopin – Prelude No. 4 in E Minor
These are basically identical. Radiohead’s piece has got some modern vibes added on the way, but the theme is identical. Both are very beautiful and emotional songs. You can listen to Radiohead’s version here and to Chopin’s here. I must admit the fact that I prefer Radiohead’s. It’s just perfect.
2. Lady Gaga – Bad Romance and Bach – The Well Tempered Clavier
This association in more difficult to make than the previous one, that’s for sure. But nevertheless once you find the resemblance it’s fascinating. And this is definitely not the kind of thing you’d consider to be a simple coincidence. It’s impossible. Here you are: Lady Gaga and Bach.
3. Jem – They and Bach – Prelude in F minor
Jem’s debut single, They, remains her best selling single worldwide and is basically Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Prelude in F minor, spiced up with a jazzy feel and a jazzy interpretation. It’s nice to know Bach is still hitting it big nowadays, as he definitely seems a common and safe recipe for success. You can listen to Jem here, and to Bach again, here. The resemblance is incredible.
4. David Shire – Night on Disco Mountain and Mussorgsky – Night on Bald Mountain
Trust me the thing with the night present in both titles is the least obvious resemblance. Nevertheless, taking a classical piece and turning it into disco music is quite an accomplishment. The night should have been turned into something else I think, just to clear out the tracks. Here they are, the disco version and the classical one.
5. Sting – Russians and Prokofiev – Romance from Lieutenant Kije
We all know Sting is a real artist, that’s why we can’t blame him for this. In his case it sounds more like a tribute, but still, I wouldn’t have bothered me to know this before falling in love with his song. Here’s the original classical version.
6. Janelle Monae – Say You’ll Go and Debussy – Clair de Lune
I don’t particularly consider Janell Monae the artist of the century, but it’s Debussy I want you to listen to. He is considered to be the first modern composer. And his music bursts emotion. Here are both versions: Janelle’s and Debussy’s.
7. Elvis Presley - It’s Now Or Never and Eduardo di Capua - O Sole Mio
Also known as the Cornetto song, O Sole Mio, meaning oh, my Sunshine, is probably the most famous opera piece in the world. Giovanni Capurro wrote the song’s lyrics and the melody was composed by Eduardo di Capua. While stationed in Germany, Elvis Presley heard Tony Martin’s version and recorded his version upon discharge.
8. Nas – I can and Beethoven – Für Elise
Nas and Beethoven might seem like a strange marriage, but somehow, it worked. NAS samples the theme from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Für Elise. For a NAS song that promotes the message of “I know I can / Be what I wanna be / If I work hard at it / I’ll be where I wanna be,” Beethoven seems a match made in Heaven.