SBD/August 7, 2012/Olympics

Please Don't Stop The Music: Venues Serve As Soundtrack For London Games

A walk around Olympic Park is a “non-stop musical mystery tour -- all part of a boisterous music policy that aims to keep spectators pumped up,” according to Jill Lawless of the AP. The music is “inescapable -- but for visitors and staff, mostly welcome.” The music for Games venues is “predominantly British,” and it is “arranged into playlists to suit the mood.” So-called “Heritage” sports such as tennis, rowing and equestrian get a suitably “classic” soundtrack, “encompassing Adele, The Rolling Stones and orchestral Led Zeppelin.” Meanwhile, “extreme” sports such as boxing and BMX cycling get “'high octane’ accompaniment,” like the Foo Fighters. There have been some complaints “that pounding soundtracks are distracting from the competition,” but most visitors "seem to like the tunes." LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton said the organization did “tone it down a bit” after the first night of track and field events. But he insisted that the musical selection "was popular with everyone but purists.” Deighton: “There are people of course who would prefer complete silence and focus and concentration on the athletes.” Lawless writes "three songs have been impossible to escape" at these Games. David Bowie's "Heroes" has been "adopted as the British team's anthem," while "Gold" by Spandau Ballet is the BBC's "song of choice for medal-winners." Vangelis' theme from "Chariots of Fire" is played "loudly and often in all sorts of venues” (AP, 8/7).

HOW SOON IS NOW?: The GUARDIAN's Michael Hann noted musician Morrissey has “sent an open letter to members of his fanclub attacking the ‘blistering jingoism’ of the Olympic Games.” This comes “just a week after he criticised the Olympics on stage in Manchester -- for not including the Smiths in the opening ceremony music.” Morrissey said that “far from providing a focus of national unity and good cheer,” the Olympics have “created a situation in which ‘the spirit of 1939 Germany now pervades throughout media-brand Britain.’” He “implored his fans: ‘WAKE UP WAKE UP’” (, 8/6).
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