Categories : Guilty Pleasures Music Reviews

 

Hooked On ClassicsHaving hit a little bit of music boredom with the more limited selections on my iPod Touch, I decided to bring out the iPod Classic which is loaded with over 11,000 audio files. I let it play on random and one of the things that came up was “Hooked On Classics – Part 1 and 2” from the original “Hooked On Classics” album by Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

I ended up taking the iPod off random and played the full album. It’s been a very long time since I last listened to it. I don’t remember when exactly I added the Hooked On Classics albums to my iPod as the last crash of my iTunes wiped out the date added for every track I added prior to December 10, 2008. In any case, I was happy I had it on my iPod to enjoy without having to dig out the CD.

I remember having worn out two cassettes of this album back in the early 1980’s. I loved it. To me it was all the good parts of classical music without so much of the really boring stuff. And I suppose a disco-esque drum track didn’t hurt either for helping keep those classics going at an upbeat pace. I remember Hooked On Classics being very popular when it was originally released in Canada. It was released on the K-Tel label which I always had some collections of popular music from them. Probably my favorite of which was “Raiders Of The Pop Charts” which capitalized on the Indiana Jones theme which was current at the time.

Hooked on Rock ClassicsIn my little trip down memory lane, I also decided to play “Hooked On Rock Classics” on my iPod as well. This one has never actually seen a CD release that I’ve been aware of. I had an old cassette of it, but it was too worn out to make MP3s out of it, so several years ago, I managed to find a still sealed LP copy of it on eBay, and bought it. The LP was in excellent condition so I was able to make MP3s out it for myself. And aside from a couple of tracks that I just don’t like, it’s a great collection. Perhaps because the songs on this collection aren’t public domain, and involve some royalties and licensing fees it’ll probably never see a proper CD release. But I’m glad I have it on my iPod for posterity sake. It was one of the tapes I loved to listen to in my childhood.

I didn’t actually get into the sequels to “Hooked On Classics” until after I had moved from Canada to the United States. I found them as I was really starting to find most of the music of the late 1980’s to be horrible and just not anything I wanted to listen to. So I soon added Volume 2, then Volume 3, and even Volume 4 which isn’t with Lewis Clark at all (and neither is the Hooked on Rock Classics collection for that matter). I never did get into all the other “Hooked On” variations that K-Tel produced to milk the hell out of the success of the first “Hooked On Classics.” I even have a CD of Lewis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra doing an album of ABBA songs. It’s not called “Hooked On ABBA” but I call it that.

The Hooked On Classics series helped introduce me to classical music, which I explored a bit more deeply during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s as I just wasn’t liking much of the popular music at the time. Rap and Grunge music were a complete turn off to me, so I was enjoying classical music and scores from films which were just like modern classical music to me. I discovered that I liked Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s work the best overall. And I also really like Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” So I owe the introductions to their works through Lewis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

I’m sure a lot of classical fans snub the whole “Hooked On Classics” thing as a disco-fied bastardization of the classics. Each “song” is a basically a “mash-up” of several compositions giving a sampler of the variety of work based either on a theme or a specific composer. I think it’s a great way to try out the classics and based on the elements liked, explore the full compositions later on.

I’ve always been impressed with orchestral music because I think it’s amazing to have so many people playing so many different instruments with the common goal of producing beautiful music. It’s really kind of a shame it feels like its becoming more of a dying art, perhaps the world needs another round of “Hooked On Classics” to revitalize the interest in the classics.

In any case, I was really surprised when I looked in the iTunes store that it’s an incredible bargain to get the “Hooked On Classics” collections. The have one called “The Hooked On Classics” collection which has the first three “Hooked On Classics” albums all for $11.99 (click here to get it). And if you want the albums individually, the first one is $5.99 (click here to get it) and each of the sequels is $3.99 (Click here to get them). You save $2 by getting them in the package.

“Hooked On Classics 4” is done by Ettore Stratta and The New World Ensemble instead of Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is also worth checking out. This collection focuses specificially on Baroque period music. It’s also $3.99 but since it’s not by Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, it’s not included in the “Hooked On Classics Collection” compilation, click here to get “Hooked On Classics 4”.

And if you prefer MP3 formatted files, Amazon also has the albums for download, but this is one of the few occasions where iTunes offers the better pricing. Amazon currently has them at $13.98 for the collection and $6.99 for each album individually, click here to buy from Amazon. And they also have CD versions in stock for $8.98 each. Click here to get CD versions from Amazon.com.

3 Responses to “Hooked On Classics – Blast From The Past”
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  1. Hi Ryan,

    I was listening to “Hooked on Instrumental”, and in the booklet was a little picture of Hooked on Rock Classics, a cd I’ve never seen before (and I think I have a copy of all the other “Hooked on”-cd’s. So I began to look for it on the internet and ended up on you blog. I wonder if it’s possible to send a copy of the Hooked on Rock-Classics medley’s?
    If I can send you something in return, just ask, maybe I have it in my collection…

    Greetings,

    Pol

  2. Hi Dave,

    Always glad to hear how someone found my blog. I never would have thought Meco would bring people to it. I do like the Hooked on Classics stuff, but not so much a fan of the Meco stuff. I do have a couple of their recordings in my collection (how can any Sci-Fi fan not have the Star Wars Meco theme?) but they don’t really interest me beyond what I already have. Thanks so much for the offer to point me in the right direction for more.

    Ryan

  3. Hey Ryan…
    I just came across this page while I was on a mission today to find the various Meco albums from the late ’70s in MP3 format (remember them? Star Wars, Encounters of Every Kind, The Wizard of Oz, Superman, Star Trek, etc etc) THANKS for the tip on the Hooked on Classics MP3s…guess where I’m going right now to get ’em??

    Drop me a private reply if the Meco stuff is also of interest to you and I’ll point you in the right direction.

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