Alt Classical: Cover Tunes

Featured Video Play Icon

Nothing Else Matters – Apocalyptica (Metallica)

Repost from 2014

When I was a child, my parents listened almost exclusively to classical music –it was years before I realized their radio could tune in other stations!  As I reached middle school, however, I finally discovered pop music, and never looked back.

Recently, however, I’ve become a fan of what’s often called “alt classical” music –music which combines the vitality and freshness of pop music sensibilities with the sophistication and classic instrumentation of classical.

This week I’ll be looking at some of my favorite classical covers of popular music.  String and piano covers of pop music are nothing new –but it takes real talent to elevate the music rather than create elevator music.  These performers rose to the challenge.

Two classically trained pianists take on Michael Jackson with Billie Jean – Anderson and Roe (Michael Jackson)


My favorite track by the Turtle Island String Quartet is their absolutely transcendent reading of the Beatles’ “Because” –but I couldn’t find any publicly accessible audio, so here’s their version of Hendrix’ “Hey Joe”:

I’m not a huge hard-rock/heavy-metal fan, but the Scandinavian cellists Apocalyptica bring out the melody richness hidden underneath the clashing guitars of many a heavy rock hit, most memorably in their cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” (above).

I also have to admit –I do have a fondness I can’t shake for at least one of the old schmaltz classics:

Love is Blue – Paul Mauriat

Other strong performers with a classical take on popular music include YouTube sensations 2Cellos and ThePianoGuys, both of whom have lengthy (and frequently updated) catalogs available on YouTube and iTunes.

The Piano Guys “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

More Michael Jackson (2Cellos – “Smooth Criminal”)

2 thoughts on “Alt Classical: Cover Tunes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *