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Miscellaneous - The Olympics' Opening Ceremony

  by Jon Rogers

published: 24 / 7 / 2012

Miscellaneous - The Olympics' Opening Ceremony


In a double edition of 'Hitting the Right Note' Jon Rogers praises the opening ceremony of the the 2012 Olympic Games...

Generally the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, held in Wast London was pretty darn spectacular, wasn't it? Even a harden cynic like myself was suitably impressed watching it on the TV screen and, despite the odd mutterings of discontent from right-wing Conservative MPs, the common consensus seems to be a big thumbs up to director Danny Boyle who oversaw the whole thing. Then again with a budget of £27 million for a few hours' entertainment it had to be pretty spectacular. And it was not only a spectacle for the eyes, but also for the ears with a selection of toe-tappers from the great and the good (and admittedly, not so good) of British music. It certainly was an eclectic mix, bringing together a vast array of British musical talent. from the likes of Elgar's bombastic (and rousing) 'Land of Hope and Glory' to the punk bile of the Sex Pistols' 'God Save the Queen' and 'Pretty Vacant'. There was something for everyone as the ceremony gave the world a sort of musical history lesson into British music. There were the theme tunes to iconic British TV and radio shows such as 'EastEnders', 'Doctor Who', 'Coronation Street' and 'The Archers' all getting an airing. And with stories swirling around the media that secret agent James Bond would be featuring in some form or other, it wasn't surprising to hear Monty Norman's iconic theme blasting out. Similarly it wasn't too surprising to hear blasts of Handel as well as Vangelis' 'Chariots of Fire'. The second section was, largely, dedicated to the big-name bands of British rock 'n' roll. The Who, with 'My Generation'. The Rolling Stones got in on the act with 'Satisfaction'. Led Zeppelin was represented by 'Trampled Under Foot'. And The Beatles was an obvious crowd-pleaser. Up also were Queen, David Bowie, the Kinks... The list goes on. Rather more controversial inclusions were OMD's 'Enola Gay'. I'm sure a song about the nuclear strike on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II went down well with the Japanese. And just what were the Sugababes doing up there? There are plenty of girl bands in British musical history perhaps more deserving of a spot than a band whose line-up seemed to change every five minutes. Taking things a bit more left-field were the likes of New Order, the Specials and a cheeky nod of the hat to Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'Relax'. Plus towards the end the Arctic Monkeys did a run through of 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor'. Oh, and there was Coldplay too. And the latest batch of pop kids also got a mention with spots of Tinie Tempah, Dizzee Rascal and MIA. What other way could you end things than with a sing-a-long-a-Beatles, complete with arm waving, than with Paul McCartney leading the crowd with 'Hey Jude'? Shh... just whisper it but it wasn't his greatest performance, was it? Really, something for everyone, which is what such big events should do. Be inclusive and bring everyone together. And aside from the odd dissenting voice it pretty much did that. Admittedly, you can't possibly please everyone and a number of online message boards were full of the typical type of complaint which would basically consist of: "Why wasn't [insert name of favourite band and song] played?" Sure, I would have liked to have seen the Smiths included or Nick Drake or composer Jonathan Harvey or Joy Division... Or the Cure or XTC... The list could go on and on. Still, accompanied with a few drinks, you could play along seeing who could be the first person to name the song. Certainly at times - no doubt due to time restrictions - the songs seemed to fly by and it all often ended up sounding like one of those awful 'Stars on 45' (remember those?) compilations that were nothing more than a snippet of a musical refrain before moving on to the next one. You have to hand it to Boyle though. He pulled it off with the eyes of the world watching.

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