London Games get an Olympian musical soundtrack

PTI London | Updated on March 12, 2018

At the London Olympics, Adele is served with tennis, Beyonce bounces around the basketball court and Queen’s We Will Rock You spikes up beach volleyball.

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.

Songs waft from speakers mounted on poles and from buskers dotted around the park. Half-heard snatches of music mix with the booming roar of the crowds coming from venues.

The music is inescapable but for visitors and staff, mostly welcome.

“It’s kind of ‘down with the kids’ music,” said volunteer Olympic worker Anna Letts, standing outside the main stadium.

“Poppy, modern”, no old songs. “When it’s 10 o’clock and you’re knackered,” or tired, “that comes on and it gets you going,”

Music drove the British Invasion in the 1960s and Cool Britannia in the 1990s, and it’s key to the way the island nation is projecting itself through these games.

Assembling a suitably Olympian soundtrack has been a crucial, complex task.

Director Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was packed with choice British cuts, from The Kinks to the Sex Pistols to Dizzee Rascal. Sunday’s closing ceremony promises “a symphony of British music,” with live performances by acts including The Who.

For games venues, organisers have a list of 2012 songs, as in London 2012, arranged into playlists to suit the mood. The music is predominantly British, but includes global stars including U2, Jay-Z and Britney Spears.

“Heritage” sports such as tennis, rowing and equestrian get a suitably “classic” soundtrack, classic, in this case, encompassing Adele, The Rolling Stones and orchestral Led Zeppelin.

Published on August 07, 2012

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