The beginning of the 1980s, a new way to market classical music came in the form of Hooked on Classics.
The series, released by K-tel Records, was disliked by traditional classical music fans, but embraced by other music fans and by mainstream radio.
Starting with the single of the same name, the tracks of the album were a mix of the well-known composers such as Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart, Handel and Gershwin, a pastiche of their best known works.
Performed by conductor Louis Clark (formerly an arranger with Electric Light Orchestra) and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the songs were played in an upbeat style, taking influences from disco.
This symphonic rock was perfect for radio thanks to the quirky and different way of producing the classical music. The single and album were released in October 1981, and did well, hitting number two on the British charts and top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 by February 1982.
The album peaked at number four on the Billboard Album charts, ahd stayed on the charts for 68 weeks, resulting in sequels – Hooked on Classics 2, Hooked on Classics 3 and Hooked on baroque, swing, romance, Mozart and Tchaikovsky among others.
But the first album’s domination was never equalled by the consequent albums throughout the 1980s, but the series continued to be produced.