Hooked On Classics

December 2, 2011 by staff 

Hooked On Classics, Hooked on Classics was a series of record albums first introduced in 1981, toward the end of the disco era’s peak in popularity.

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 Walter Murphy’s A Fifth of Beethoven and the efforts of Waldo de los R?os.

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