A Fifth of Beethoven – Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band – 1974

October 10, 2013

 Walter Murphy 2  One of the best known pieces of music from the disco era – Walter Murphy’s adaption of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – 1974’s, A Fifth of Beethoven.

Walter murphy 3flying under the radar

Walter Murphy is one of those guys who’s been around the music industry forever, but tends to get very little attention.

Walter was just 20 years old, when a friend introduced him to Doc Severinsen who was musical director of Johnny Carson’s, Tonight Show. He showed Doc some of the jazz arrangements he’d been working on. Doc liked them enough to have The Tonight Show Band play them.

Walter Murphy 4Walter made an early living out of writing advertising jingles (e.g. Revlon and Woolworths) and the occasional television series.


In 1974 (still only 22 years old), Walter was writing a disco song for a commercial. The commercial’s producer mentioned to Walter that it would be great for someone to update some popular classical music.

Walter grabbed hold of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and, being the height of the disco era, gave it a disco beat. And, the rest as they say…

An album under the same name featured a rendition of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee which peaked at #44 on the US singles chart. Three other albums followed. In 1982 a medley of Themes From E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) reached #47 on the US singles chart, and then, Walter’s hit career was over.

where’s walter?

Walter now writes music for television and movies (and the occasional jingle). His music has been included in, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Family Guy, American Dad, and the 2012 movie Ted.


Walter won Outstanding Music and Lyrics at the 2002 Emmy Awards for You’ve Got A Lot To See from Family Guy.

In 2012, he received an Academy Award for Best Original Song nomination for Everybody Needs a Best Friend, from Ted.

a fifth of beethoven fax

  • A Fifth of Beethoven was written by Walter Murphy and recorded by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band. Just before release, however, it was discovered that their already existed a Big Apple Band and so the artist name was changed to The Walter Murphy Band. The record company believed it had a better chance of being a hit if people thought it was by a band – despite the fact that Walter played almost every instrument. Eventually, they changed yet again, crediting the song solely to Walter.
  • Entering the US top 100 at #80, on May 29, 1976, A Fifth of Beethoven took 19 weeks to reach #1.
  • A Fifth of Beethoven appeared in the movie Saturday Night Fever and the movie The Stepford Wives.
  • A snippet of A Fifth of Beethoven is played during Chicago Bulls games, whenever the opposing team loses possession of the ball.
  • Robin Thicke’s 2002 song, When I Get You Alone, is based on A Fifth of Beethoven.

a fifth of beethoven – walter murphy – 1974 – video

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It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue – Graham Bonnet – 1977

October 18, 2012

Great song, great voice, great guitar solo – Graham Bonnet’s 1977 version of Bob Dylan’s, It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue, has it all!!

blast from the past

I was brushing my teeth! The song started up and I remembered it immediately… Graham Bonnet’s 1977 version of Bob Dylan’s, It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue, with that awesome guitar solo and wonderful lead vocal – I love this song and this version.

here, there and everywhere

Graham Bonnet has had an amazing careeer.  He’s performed as a solo artist, in a duet, and as a member of several hard rock and heavy metal bands including Rainbow.

His first efforts were with the 60s one-hit-wonder duet, The Marbles. Joining his cousin Trevor Gordon, they had a #5 UK hit with the Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb penned, Only One Woman.

When the Marbles split in 1969 Graham started on a lengthy solo career. Then, from 1978 to 1980 he was the lead singer with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.

bless ya bobby

It was with Bob Dylan’s song, It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue that Graham had his biggest hit. Prior to that, having disbanded The Marbles, he’d been writing advertising jingles.

He followed Baby Blue with another Bee Gees written song, Warm Ride, a song they had left over from the Saturday Night Fever project.

still going strong

And, would you believe it, Graham Bonnet, now living in Los Angeles, is still performing, 45 years after he formed his first band.

it’s all over now, baby blue fax

  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue was written by Bob Dylan in 1965. It featured on his Bringing It All Back Home album. At the time there was much discussion about just who Baby Blue was. Dylan’s never divulged the identity, maybe it’s all just made up?!
  • In a 2005 poll Mojo magazine readers rated It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue at #10 on the list of all-time best Bob Dylan songs
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue has been covered by many artists including; Joan Baez, Van Morrison and Them, The Byrds, The Animals, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, Marianne Faithfull, Bryan Ferry, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Echo & the Bunnymen, Hole, and The Grateful Dead.
  • Graham’s version was released in 1977 and made the top 40 in many countries. It did best in Australia where it peaked at #5.
  • Graham’s version of It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue appears on the soundtrack of the 2009 Peter Jackson film The Lovely Bones.
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue lyrics.

it’s all over now, baby blue – Graham Bonnet – 1977 – video