Don’t forget the timeless soundtrack of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games: NPR
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Chariots of fire, the drama starring two British Olympic runners, was released in 1981 – 40 years ago this spring – and has left us with an enduring cultural treasure: its musical theme. The pulsating instrumental anthem invoked the will to make our dreams come true and served as the soundtrack for the world’s slow-motion racing activities for a generation.
The 1980s also gave the world another musical gift of Olympic proportions – this time for the real summer games: The official music of the XXIII Olympiad Los Angeles 1984. The less known album served, and serves, not only as a historical keepsake, but as the definitive collection of themes of sporting events and ceremonies designed for the occasion – including the debut of John William’s beloved and enduring composition, “Olympic Marching Band and Theme. “
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Lost to the vagaries of time and digitization and only available through fragmentary tracks and YouTube links, Official music was an ambitious venture, led by star Hollywood producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters, who played on the shiny, neon excess that the 1980s entertainment world had in its heaps.
The beginning of the album opens with the traditional âBugler’s Dream (From Charge Suite)â by Arnaud, followed by a swell of moody synthesizer. Then a male singer takes the mic: “You know you paid the price / you made all the sacrifices” and bam, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop You Now (Team Sports Theme)”.
The artist lineup was a who’s-who of ’80s musical legends and also Loverboy, each contributing in turn to a series of cut-out hymns: Toto’s “Moodido (The Match) (Boxing Theme), “The theme of the aliens marathon”Street Thunder (Marathon Theme), “by Bill Conti”Power (Power Sports Theme)“and” Reach Out (Track Theme) “by Editing Hall of Fame member Giorgio Moroder. What would equal, in 2021? Mike Dean’s skateboard theme? Lizzo on a flute solo in the middle from the theme of artistic swimming?
Music of the XXIII Olympiad wasn’t just wall-to-wall rock numbers – there are some notable genre-skipping oddities as well. Keyboardist and songwriter Bob James scored extra points for sampling basketball dribbling on the rebound “Courtship (basketball theme)“; Herbie Hancock mixes international instruments and rhythms in a post-” Rockit “composition of pure synth bliss for” Junku (Field Theme) “; Christopher Cross and Burt Bacharach have teamed up to write”A Chance for Heaven (Swimming Theme)“, who is as gentle as water and, oddly enough, is primarily concerned with climbing mountains in his lyrics.
But it wouldn’t be an ’80s production without contributions from Quincy Jones, whose digitally orchestral “Grace (Gymnastics Theme)” evokes the agile and swift movements of athletes. (The track also appeared as the B-side of 1985’s “We Are The World,” in case the Summer Olympics weren’t a global enough event for Quincy.)
The concept of unity was strong everywhere, both musically and in the artist’s sleeve notes printed on the back of the record sleeve. “I don’t see any event like the Olympics that makes us so aware of our shared humanity, of our common destiny,” wrote Philip Glass, who composed “The Olympian – Torch Lighting“, the album’s closing title. And he’s right. The Olympics provide an opportunity for the world to come together in competition and celebration – but there is one thing I hope we can all come together on. to be united: this album slams.