Apollo 100 was a short lived 1972 group of studio musicians who were put together by multi-instrumentalist and arranger Tom Parker. The band was also known as Apollo 100, featuring Tom Parker. The group consisted of Parker on keyboards, ex-Tornados drummer Clem Cattini, guitarist Vic Flick (of “James Bond Theme” fame), guitarist Zed Jenkins, percussionist Jim Lawless, and bassist Brian Odgers. The band’s first recording on Mega Records was the hit song “Joy,” based on Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” which peaked at #6 on The Billboard Hot 100 chart. Subsequent singles “Beethoven 9,” “Valleys,” “Mendelssohn’s 4th,” “Classical Wind,” “Custer’s Last Stand,” “Listening to Mozart” & “Orange Blossom Special” did not chart and the band broke up in 1973. The song “Joy” is still a favorite song on 1970’s oldie radio stations. Other Apollo 100 songs: “Hall of the Mountain King,” “Danse Macabre,” “Reach for the Sky,” “Air for the G String,” “Libido,” “Tamara,” “Exercise,” “Telstar,” “Nut Rocker,” “William Tell,” “Amazing Grace,” “Besame Mucho,” “I Will Return,” “Matthew and Son,” “On the Rebound,” “Lady Madonna,” “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” “A Walk in the Black Forest,” “Soul Coaxing,” “Tapestry,” “Melody on My Mind” & “Nabucco.”
Origins of Apollo 100
Apollo 100 was a short-lived British instrumental act in the 1970s whose members composed of studio musicians. It was formed by multi-instrumentalist and arranger Tom Parker (from Newcastle, northeast of England). A talented musician, you could say that Parker was a child prodigy; by age six he was already playing the piano. By his teens Parker was already performing in jazz clubs in London. During the 1960s he worked as a session musician, as well as became one-time member of The Animals.
Aside from the piano, Parker could also play several other instruments including keyboards, clarinet, saxophone, trombone and trumpet.
In 1972 Parker formed Apollo 100, and recruited several new other members that consisted of Zed Jenkin (guitar), Jim Lawless (percussions), Clem Cattini (drums), Vick Flick (guitars) and Brian Odgers (bass). Cattini had previously played on recordings of The Kinks, The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, The Mersys, Lulu, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield, Jeff Beck, Donovan, Bee Gees, Nirvana, etc. Vic Flick, on the other hand, had contributed his memorable guitar riff in “The James Bond Theme.”
Apollo 100’s only hit with “Joy”
The group released their debut single, “Joy” from their self-titled first LP. “Joy” was inspired by Sebastian Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring but was otherwise augmented with percussion and bass for a more contemporary pop feel. It became a big hit, climbing up to #6 spot on The Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song would be featured in the soundtrack of several films including Boogie Nights, One Day In September and The 40-Year Old Virgin.
Later in 1972, Apollo 100 released their second LP, Master Pieces along with the second single, “Telstar.” Neither album nor single gained much attention compared to the band’s previous effort. The following year Apollo disbanded. Despite that, 70s AM radio listeners still fondly remember the tune that they probably grew up with.