Take 2 — London Calling
London rocks out at the Olympics
Just as at most sports arenas in America, at the London Olympics, pop music is regularly pumped in over the PA systems before and after games and during breaks in the action. For some sports, like basketball and volleyball, short snippets of songs are dropped in after a basket or point to help pump up the crowd or used as commentary for a missed goal or in tight situations (Queen/Bowie’s “Under Pressure” anyone?). But music was just as much a part of the action in tennis at Wimbledon, although in a much more muted fashion between matches.
Music is also piped in all around the grounds of Olympic Park, so that at any given time, hundreds of thousands of people are all milling around and humming Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at the same time.
Apparently, London 2012 organizers have put together an official playlist of 2,012 songs to be used at Olympic venues. London organizers have received much criticism for the music, but we have enjoyed it, especially as the music has skewed generally in a British indie-pop sort of way. While there have been far too many volleyball spikes and handball goals that got a shot of Maroon 5′s super-cheesy “Moves Like Jagger” and more than enough LMFAO and Black Eyed Peas, there have also been some nifty surprises:
- The handball player introductions for Russia and South Korea were backed by M83′s "Midnight City" – both moody and classy!
- During a break in the women’s basketball action, we were all invited to sing along to Oasis’ "Wonderwall." Just picture 10,000 voices going all out with “and aftahhh allllll, youahh my wondahwaaaahllll…”
- Anytime word broke that a British athlete had won a gold medal elsewhere, the PA system would play "Heroes" by David Bowie, which has become the unofficial anthem for Team GB.
- At the Olympic Stadium, songs included Brit favorites Adele and Florence and the Machine, but I never thought I would see the day when I would hear the Smiths "This Charming Man" blasted out for 80,000 sports spectators.
- Finally, while most events usually end with a blast of Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory,” the playlist continues as the crowd exits the venue. As we hit the exits at Wimbledon, Wembley Stadium, the Copper Box or anywhere else, the song that got my attention the most is the Kinks’ sublime love letter to the view from the Waterloo Bridge, "Waterloo Sunset."