The year 1970 was the 200th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. Miguel Rios created the first rock version of a classical song with his 1970 'Ode to Joy' from the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Rios recorded the song in English, Italian and Spanish.
A&M Records signed Rios for the U.S. Canada, Australia, England, the Far East and Scandinavia. A&M Records of Canada broke the single "A Song of Joy" in Canada and Detroit, Michigan. At the time, record labels in Canada had a difficult time breaking records because radio station music directors used the U.S. music charts as a guide to programming.
Rios was signed to Hispavox, S.A. of Madrid Spain (part of United Artists Music Group) and A&M in the U.S. obtained the rights from United. Time magazine reported, "At first," says one company executive, "no one exactly went wild over it. But we kept listening, and we realized we had something very special." A&M in the U.S. rush-released the album in July 1970 because of the success of the single.
In 1970, the single "A Song of Joy" was ranked as the #29 Top Single in Australia.
On March 27, 1971, Billboard reported that "A Song of Joy" had sold over three million copies worldwide. Eventually the song sold over four million copies. It sold over one million copies in Germany.
- Song of Joy Biggest Selling Spanish Disk. Joaquin Luquo. Billboard, March 27, 1971.
- Spanish Disks Break in Canada via Waldo & Migue. Ritchie Yorke. Billboard, November 20, 1971.
- Go-Set Charts
- Owed to Joy. Time, July 13, 1970.