Joy by Apollo 100 featuring Tom Parker (Mega, 1972)

A man who was dead for 222 years wrote a big Top 10 hit in 1972. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring was reimagined and performed in a pop rock arrangement by multi-instrumentalist, Tom Parker, and got a new generation of kids interested in classical music. But it wasn’t even his idea. That’s right. He stole it from a band named British Jigsaw [later Jigsaw], who did a cover of Joy on their debut 2 years before Tom’s version.

I miss instrumental pop songs on the radio. It takes something special to capture one’s ear for 3 minutes without words. They really started to die off in the 80s, but during the 70s you could still have a big hit or at least be an ‘unsung hero’.

Eventually Tom gave the rock treatment to other well-known classical composers such as Chopin, Grieg, Beethoven & Mendelssohn, but couldn’t manage to get another hit up the charts, but without a musical identity or ability to tour, the studio band disintegrated.

Tom would then go on to spend the rest of his life being mistaken for Elvis’ manager.