Friday on My Mind: KEXP’s Favorite Olympic Opening Ceremony Songs

It’s Friday so it is time again for Friday on My Mind where we take the time to watch and talk about videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and KING 5 News. Today, the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies will be taking place, so we are looking at KEXP’s Favorite Olympic Opening Ceremony Songs.

The 3 hour 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies are taking place today in London, England and will be broadcast worldwide. This is despite the fact that the soccer competition already began earlier this week, which no one told me about AND they call it football!?! What the…

Some of the purposes of Olympic Opening Ceremonies are to showcase and celebrate the culture of the Olympic Host nation, and as well welcome the rest of the world to London and the 2012 Olympic Games. The 2012 Ceremony is going to be named “Isles of Wonder” and will include real farmyard animals in order to recreate the British countryside. Nothing says excitement like a stadium full of farmyard animals. I believe they call that a “rodeo” in America. All participating nations march in a parade and the Olympic Flame arrives and ignites the Cauldron, which then signals the beginning of the Games. This flame will continue to burn for the duration of the ceremonies.

Danny Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, and Trainspotting is serving as the Artistic Director of this particular opening ceremony. The Musical Directors are Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of Underworld. Thus making this the best opening ceremonies in history even before we’ve seen it. Boyle has gone to great lengths to keep the content of the ceremony top secret. A little over a month ago, Boyle’s playlist for the official soundtrack for the Opening Ceremony was supposedly leaked by the Telegraph. The Olympic officials would not confirm nor deny that the list was indeed the Boyle curated soundtrack, but the tracklist of 86 songs included Prodigy Firestarter, The Clash London Calling, and The Sex Pistols God Save the Queen. A highlight for sure will be the Queen in attendance as that song plays. Do you think she knows it’s not a positive song about her?

Through the years every Olympic game is complete with a theme song AND a really creepy mascot (put some pictures of creepy mascots here). Most, if not all, of these songs are performed at the opening ceremonies. All of them have their own mix of epic highs, cheesy lows, and all around over- indulgence. So let’s look at a few now…

Muse – Survival

Muse’s song Survival has been chosen as the official song of the 2012 Olympics. The rock trio were actually given the opportunity to carry the Olympic torch through their hometown of Teignmouth in Southwest England as the torch was making its way to its final destination in London. The song will be played throughout the games and in particular when athletes enter the stadium and during the run-up to medal ceremonies and the official video is really well done.

Björk – Oceania

Oceania was written and performed for the 2004 Opening ceremonies in Athens by Björk. The song was also the lead single off of her Medulla album. She performed the song for the 2004 Opening Ceremonies while wearing an intricate gown which overtook the entire stage as she sang the song. When she completed the song, the dress was the entire length of the stage and from an overhead view displayed a map of the world. Later people wondered why they booked Bjork in a dress the size of a stage, but by then it was time for the 2008 games.

Freddie Mercury & Dame Montserrat Caballé – Barcelona

Off of the album of the same name, Freddie Mercury’s “Barcelona” was selected as the official song of the 1992 Olympics. Mercury wrote the song to be performed with the Barcelona born operatic soprano Dame Montserrat Caballé. For this video, they performed the song in the Spanish city in celebration of Barcelona being chosen as the location for the 1992 Olympic Ceremonies. Mercury passed away seven months before the 1992 Olympic Opening ceremonies, but the song was used during the opening ceremonies and throughout all coverage of the 1992 Summer Olympics . This video should remind everyone, Freddie Mercury was arguably the best front man EVER.

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