David Bowie is an English musician and a major figure in the world of popular music. He moved to Switzerland in 1976 and, among other things, began an intensive self-improvement course in classical music and literature. One of the genres he plays is Art Rock, a subgenre of rock strongly influenced by avant-garde and classical music.
Hayashi Yoshiki is a famous Japanese musician, songwriter, composer and record producer. He is the leader and co-founder of the heavy metal band X JAPAN and his personal career includes two classical studio albums and a classical tour.
Sufjan Stevens is a well-known American singer, songwriter and musician. He studied oboe at a music school and is strongly trained in baroque and classical music. Some of the musicians he listens to are Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and Grieg, who is a great Norwegian romantic composer. He enjoys a little bit of opera, but mostly baroque opera and vocal cantatas.
Joni Mitchell is a Canadian musician, singer, songwriter and painter. When younger, she would often join in town parades with her father's band and other children. Many of her childhood friends were taking music lessons, and she would tag along to their performances, where she developed her first classical obsessions: Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Chopin and Beethoven.
Regina Spektor is a Russian singer, songwriter and pianist. She grew up listening to classical music and studied classical piano in New York until she was 17. Spektor was originally interested in classical music only, but later became interested in hip hop, rock, and punk as well. Her songs are heavily influenced by those genres.
Tarja Turunen is well known as a professional classical lead singer, but best known as the former lead vocalist of the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish. In 2007, she released My Winter Storm, an album featuring various styles, including symphonic metal with classical “operatic” lead vocals.
X JAPAN is a Japanese heavy metal band which achieved breakthrough success in 1989 and drastically changed the musical scene in Japan. Their songs are heavily influenced by classical music, as their leader and composer is also a classical pianist.
Jethro Tull is a British rock group which incorporates elements of classical music, folk music, jazz, hard rock and art rock to their songs. They had several members over the years and many of them brought classical influences to their songs, including their leader Ian Anderson.
Rhapsody of Fire is an Italian symphonic power metal band that takes heavy influence from early classical and, in particular, baroque music.
Joanna Newsom is an American harpist, pianist, vocalist and songwriter. A lot of her songs are lengthy and baroque and require a certain amount of effort from the listener. She composes them on a classical harp.
Pink Floyd is an English rock band formed in London. They are one of the most musically influential groups in the history of popular music. Their songs are sophisticated and often considered Art Rock or Progressive Rock, which are styles strongly influenced by classical music.
Freddie Mercury is best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen. He was influenced by classical music and would often listen to Chopin and Mozart. He was also into the world of opera.
Amy Lee is an American singer, song writer and classically trained pianist. She is the co-founder and lead vocalist of the rock band Evanescence and cites influences ranging from classical musicians such as Mozart to modern artists.
Muse is an alternative rock band often associated with space rock and progressive rock. Their music currently mixes sounds from genres such as classical music, electronic music, hard rock and many others. Their album, The Resistance, is heavily influenced by classical songs.
Evanescence is an American rock band heavily influenced by classical music. Lacrymosa, a song for their album The Open Door (2006), incorporates the Lacrimosa sequence from Mozart’s Requiem (1791) throughout the song and its main inspiration is the film Amadeus.
Kanye West is an American rapper, songwriter and record producer. He drew many of his early string samples from classical string ensembles and cites classical music, among other things, as an influence to his songs.
Nightwish is a famous symphonic power metal band from Finland. They make extensive usage of keyboards and instruments normally found in classical music similar to symphonic metal. Their songs also follow extended formal structures while making large use of orchestral elements.
Ritchie Blackmore was the guitarist of the famous rock band, Deep Purple. He studied classical guitar when young and started experimenting with musical figurations borrowed from classical music in the early 1970s. He has brought new life to music of the Baroque and classical periods.
Deep Purple is an English rock band considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock. Many of its members are classically trained.
Walter Murphy is an American composer, arranger, pianist, musician and songwriter. His disco hit “A Fifth of Beethoven” samples Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 (Ode to Joy).
Ozzy Osbourne is an English heavy metal vocalist and songwriter. He often opened his shows with Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”. One of his best known songs, Mr. Crowley, features many of the Baroque musical styles during the 17th century.
Bright Eyes is an American indie rock band. Their song Road to Joy borrows several elements from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy).
Jem is a Welsch singer, songwriter and record producer. Her song “They” borrows elements from Bach’s Prelude in F minor from Book II of the Well-Tempered Clavier.
Nas is an American rapper, songwriter and actor. His song “I can” is inspired by Beethoven’s famous Fur Elise.