Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Bach together with other composers have inspired many songwriters to include parts or whole melodies from popular classical pieces. Record companies hope that the familiarity of some of these pieces will provide the ‘hook’ in making a popular hit record. Some songs simply ‘borrow’ classical melodies, revamp them and compose new lyrics such as Elvis‘s It’s Now Or Never from the Italian classic O Solo Mio, his biggest selling record of all time. Keith Potger of The Seekers ‘borrowed’ the familiar theme from Beethoven’s ‘Ode To Joy’ to compose a rather twee, Emerald City. And Walter Murphy simply re-iterates the familiar riff of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony for his coy A Fifth Of Beethoven. More imaginatively, some composers take the classical underpin and develop into a tour de force such as Gary Brooker‘s A Whiter Shade of Pale or Eric Carmen‘s soaring All By Myself.



  • Annie’s Song – John Denver
  • A Groovy Kind Of Love – Phil Collins
  • A Whiter Shade Of Pale – Procol Harum
  • Somewhere – P J Proby
  • It’s Now Or Never – Elvis Presley
  • All By Myself – Eric Carmen
  • Stranger In Paradise – Four Aces
  • Light My Fire – The Doors
  • Emerald City – The Seekers
  • A Fifth Of Beethoven – Walter Murphy
  • Asia Minor – Kokomo
  • A Lover’s Concerto – The Toys