10 Popular Songs You Probably Don’t Know Were Inspired by Classical Music

From Muse’s Plug in baby to Beatles’s Because, here are the greatest examples of classical samples in modern popular music. We present the songs of pop artists were influenced by classical composers.

1. Beatles – Because / Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata

One day, Yoko Ono was playing Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata on the piano. After that, Lennon asked him to play the chords backwards. In conclusion, the chord sequence of “Because”, one of the touchstone pieces of the Beatles emerged. Who would have thought that Yoko Ono could have made such a contribution to the Beatles! In addition, in the soundtrack of the movie American Beauty, Elliott Smith sang this great work of the Beatles.





2. Muse – Plug in Baby / Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D mino

Prog rock emerged when well-educated classical musicians began performing rock music. You will come across classical music very often in the prog-rock world. Both in sound and mathematics, prog rock is heavily inspired by classical music. Here’s Muse – ‘Plug in Baby ‘guitar riff. Sound familiar?



3. Pachelbel – Canon in D / Maroon 5 – Memories

Pachelbel’s cello chord progression has inspired many musicians. Names like Kylie Minogue ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ and Oasis ” Don Don’t Look Back in Anger. For a more recent example: Maroon 5 – “Memories”



4. The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army / Bruckner – Symphony No. 5

The most memorable drum & bass riff in music history is inspired by Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony. Jack White was classically educated as a student, and although the rhythms here are slightly different, the inspiration is unquestionable.




5. Elvis Presley – It’s Now or Never / Eduardo di Capua – O Sole Mio

While composing this romantic piece that elevates the mood of the audience, Elvis was inspired by “O Sole Mio”.





6. Robbie Williams – Party like a Russian / Prokofiev – Dance of the Knights

Robbie Williams used Prokofiev’s melody exactly, as seen in choir episode in Party Like a Russian.




7. Barry Manilow – Could It Be Magic / Chopin – Prelude in C Minor No. 20

While composing, Manilow notices something as he discovers cool chord groups. What he was playing at that moment were the chords he heard in Chopin preludes. It is not difficult to notice the similarity at all.




8. Eric Carmen – All by Myself / Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor

“All by Myself”, inspired by the melody of Rachmaninov’s 2 piano concerto, and sung again by Céline Dion.




9. Beethoven – Pathétique Sonata / Billy Joel – This Night

Billy Joel said, “I have not forgiven myself for not being Beethoven” in an interview. After that Joel wove an opening melody from the second movement of Beethoven’s ‘Pathétique’ Sonata in his chorus for ‘This Night’.




10. Nas – I Can / Beethoven – Für Elise

Hip-hop and classical music are genres that are unrelated to each other and difficult to synthesize. However, a former rapper Nas transformed Beethoven’s “Für Elise” into a Rap sample.



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