On this day in music history: October 9, 1976 – “A Fifth Of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #10 on the R&B singles chart on October 16, 1976, and peaking at #13 on the Adult Contemporary chart on July 10, 1976. Written and produced by Walter Murphy, it is the biggest hit for the New York City born and raised musician and arranger. Inspired by studio band Apollo 100’s rearrangement of Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” (released as “Joy” in 1972 #6 Pop), Murphy creates a disco arrangement of the first movement of the composers famous Fifth Symphony. After being turned down by several labels, the record is picked up by Private Stock Records. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on May 29, 1976, it makes a long, slow climb up the chart, reaching the top nineteen weeks later. A year after its chart topping success, the song is prominently featured in the film and on the soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever”, which wins the Grammy Award for Album Of The Year in 1979. Murphy has continued to have success as a composer and conductor, recording under the name Uncle Louie for TK Records offshoot Marlin Records in the late 70’s (“Full Tilt Boogie”, “I Like Funky Music”), and writing the music for the Emmy award winning animated series “Family Guy” since its debut in 1999, as well as “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad”. “A Fifth Of Beethoven” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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