10 Rock Star Albums Recorded With The London Symphony Orchestra

Rock Stars and London Symphony Orchestra

Photo: User:FA2010, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Our 10 Rock Star Albums With The London Symphony Orchestra article is a fun article that looks at some cool collaborations between rock stars and pop artists and the legendary London Symphony Orchestra. While there have been many rock and roll artists that have recorded either in the studio or live on stage with orchestras, there are not many that recorded with the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra. Bands like The Moody Blues, Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer are often incorrectly labeled as recording with the London Symphony Orchestra when it was actually the London Philharmonic Orchestra that those bands worked with. The same goes for bands like Metallica who worked with the San Francisco Orchestra, Procol Harum with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and many others who worked with various orchestra. However, a collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra in rock or pop is pretty rare.

The origins of the London Symphony Orchestra goes back to the year 1904 when the London Symphony Orchestra was founded in the city of London. Over the past century it has established itself as the world’s most famous orchestra. Many of the world’s most famous classical musicians and conductors have performed with the London Symphony Orchestra. At one point, the London Symphony Orchestra released a series of albums covering rock music. This article avoids those albums and presents the material that the London Symphony Orchestra recorded with actual rock stars and pop artists. It’s a list that’s mixed between complete live performances with a band or artist, one or two track appearances on a famous rock album, or albums that were recorded as a collaboration between the rock artist and the London Symphony Orchestra for a special album. What they all have in common is that they are extraordinary recordings that define the power of the  London Symphony Orchestra in taking the music of these brilliant artists to soaring heights.

# 10 – José Feliciano – In Concert With The London Symphony Orchestra – Live From The Royal Albert Hall

We open up our 10 Rock Albums Recorded With The London Symphony Orchestra article with the great artist Jose Feliciano and his wonderful live album recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. The album was released in 1973. The record contained some great Jose Feliciano originals as well as his legendary covers of songs from The Beatles, The Doors, The Mamas and the Papas and Bill Withers.

# 9 –Three Dog Night -Three Dog Night And The London Symphony Orchestra

While this album definitely missed the presence of Chuck Negron, it still stands as a fantastic recording of Three Dog Night songs with the rest of the band. This is not a live recording. The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London. It was released in the UK in 2003.

# 8 – Elton John – Blue Moves

Elton John’s double album Blue Moves stands as one of his most underrated albums of his career. Many die hard Elton John fans would argue that this was the last great Elton John album of the classic 1970s Elton John era. The London Symphony Orchestra played on two tracks on this classic album. It’s the first one that was so mind blowing. On side one of the record, the London Symphony Orchestra played on the track “Tonight.” It’s one of the most beautiful and saddest songs Elton John has ever written. The London Symphony Orchestra  also played on the album’s huge hit single “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.”

# 7 – Neil Young – Harvest

At number seven on our 10 Rock Albums Recorded With The London Symphony Orchestra list is Neil Young’s classic album entitled Harvest. The London Symphony Orchestra performed on the songs “A Man Needs a Maid” and “There’s a World” which were recorded at London’s Barking Assembly Hall. The arrangement and interlude on “A Man Needs A Maid,” will leave you breathless.

# 6 – Jethro Tull – A Classic Case

While the previous albums all were based on guest appearance by the London Symphony Orchestra, the album Jethro Tull is actually a London Symphony Orchestra album that featured members of Jethro Tull including Ian Anderson performing Jethro Tull music together. The album was released in 1985.

# 5 – Neil Diamond – Classic Diamonds

Neil Diamond’s  album Classic Diamonds recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra was a monstrous tribute to the music of Neil Diamond. The combination of the performance by Neil Diamond backed by the London Symphony Orchestra is just simply stunning. Do not miss the video below.

# 4 – Rick Wakeman – Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

Yes fans went crazy over this one. The legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman of Yes released the ultimate solo album of his career when he issued the album Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. The merger of Rick Wakeman’s intense keyboard work juxtaposed against the majestic performance of the London Symphony Orchestra’s massive sound made for one of the all time great progressive rock records ever released.

# 3 – Frank Zappa – London Symphony Orchestra

The original release of Frank Zappa’s album London Symphony Orchestra was issued in 1983. The album consisted of all instrumental music written by Frank Zappa to be performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. A second release was issued in 1987 based on more material that was recorded during  the same recording sessions used from the first album. The genius of Frank Zappa is on full display on this magnificent recording.

# 2 – Tommy

The performance of The Who’s album Tommy by the London Symphony Orchestra is similar in fashion to the was Jethro Tull’s  A Classic Case London Symphony Orchestra album. The London Symphony Orchestra performed the Tommy album with not just members of The Who but special appearances by Rod Stewart, Sandy Denny, Steve Winwood and Ringo Starr.

# 1 – Deep Purple – In Concert with The London Symphony Orchestra

We close out our 10 Rock Star Albums Recorded With The London Symphony Orchestra article with this fantastic recording that features Deep Purple and The London Symphony Orchestra. The album was released in 1999 on both DVD and CD. It also featured a great guest appearance by Robbie James Dio. Just listening to the London Symphony Orchestra play the riff to “Smoke On The Water,” is almost an out of body experience.


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