Brazilian musician Eumir Deodato’s jazz funk version of Also Sprach Zarathustra, the theme from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is truly brilliant, but is it a cover version? It’s classical music – technically, an ‘orchestral tone poem’, apparently – so the music is written down and there to be interpreted and played by musicians however they choose. Anyway, cover version or not, it’s most definitely magnificent so I’m having it for the list.
Also Sprach Zarathustra was composed by Richard Strauss in 1896, inspired by Friedrich Nietzche’s philosophical novel of the same and used by Stanley Kubrick as the main theme for his hypnotic, sci-fi epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is where it came to most people’s attention including, presumably Deodato’s. His name may sound like the sort of trainers you’d get for under a tenner at Sports Direct, but Deodato is something of a legend as a musician, composer, arranger and producer who’s worked with Kool & the Gang, KD Lang and Bjork among many, many others.
Having flirted with the high-brow, mentioning the music of Strauss and the philosophy Nietzche, I’m now going to bring this post crashing down to earth; this is the album I know Deadoto’s Also Sprach Zarathustra from:
Yep, it was on a 12 Tops; Todays Top Hits album. For those unfamiliar with this particular range, it was a series of albums compiling (not very accurate) cover versions of contemporary hits, generally performed by session musicians. The series ran in the UK between 1972 and 1976 with each month featuring a different, provocatively dressed woman on the cover. There’s more on the series here, if you’re interested.
Now, all of this was way before my time, and I don’t remember how the May 1973 edition came into my possession, but I know why I’ve kept it to this day. No, not for the pouting lady in hot pants on a Honda, it’s for Deodato’s deliciously trippy, funk take on the 2001 theme.
Along similar lines, but with a distinctly more disco vibe that befits its 1977 release date, is Meco’s awesome Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk. Space-tacular!