Music and sport might not have always been the best bedfellows. You need only look as far as a raft of questionable World Cup anthems (New Order and John Barnes notwithstanding) to see that sports-focused songs can become a bit of an uncomfortable exercise. However, the Olympic bug has firmly gripped a number of British acts, with the cream of Team GB's troubadours preparing their fare for London 2012's impending athletic feast.
Not only do Danny Boyle's and creative director Kim Gavin's opening and closing ceremonies (respectively) promise a Brit-studded line-up of musicians, but both events are releasing albums... well sort of, as music the bookending spectaculars will be available on iTunes just minutes after each one finishes. Underworld's music for the Opening Ceremony will be available as Isle Of Wonder: Music For The Opening Ceremony Of The London 2012 Olympic Games (which will also be out physically from 6 August), while the Closing Ceremony will be on the virtual racks as A Symphony Of British Music - Music For The Closing Ceremony Of The London 2012 Olympic Games.
Opening ceremony director Boyle is no stranger to colliding music and vision to breathtaking effect, and after Underworld's movie-defining moments soundtracking Renton and co with Born Slippy and Dark & Long (Dark Train) in Trainspotting, its no wonder he recruited the duo again for tonight's pageant.
Other musical details about the ceremony remain scant, despite several 'leaks' apparently confirming the appearance of a grab-bag of British acts past and present. Paul McCartney has confirmed that he will be belting out Hey Jude, while Arctic Monkeys are also rumoured to be involved and even Glastonbury is getting in on the act, with the festival being recreated for the "green and pleasant land" segment of the ceremony.
At the other end of things, Gavin's closing ceremony (12 August) is also the subject of much speculation as to who will sing the London games' swansong, with the list of rumoured acts including One Direction, Ed Sheeran, George Michael and The Spice Girls, so far. The Who have confirmed their involvement, with Roger Daltrey recently explaining "We've recorded a piece of music which I think is a fabulous ending for the Olympics," while Muse have also admitted they'll be at Stratford too.
The Devonshire trio have to be there really, their song Survival - from forthcoming album The 2nd Law - is London 2012's official song, something television audiences around the globe are set to become very familiar with indeed (actually, probably the same 30 seconds of it over and over again)... that's unless they're watching the BBC who have commissioned Elbow to create their own instrumental theme, First Steps - not that frontman Guy Garvey is bothered about not getting to put his vocal stamp on proceedings, telling us that it allows for the song to "belong to everyone who hears it". Generous to a fault that Guy Garvey.
Still Auntie isn't the only one with their own theme tune, whole sports have opted for their own jingles too. The entire sport of Cycling will enjoy The Chemical Brothers's (clearly this was before the country at large discovered Mod Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins and his love of Weller) Velodrome, which both slyly winks at Kraftwerk's Tour De France (see what they did there?) and hearkens back to the Brothers' own pre-Dig Your Own Hole sound. Elsewhere Hot Chip have also prepared a krautrock inspired tribute to table tennis, How Do You Do?, which even boasts beats from a ping pong ball.
Still it's not just the TV and Olympic sports that are benefiting from Olympic music. As previously announced the BT London Live live gigs will be taking place in Hyde Park, a stone's throw from the triathlon and marathon swim events.
All four home nations will be represented in a super-sized gig which coincides with the lighting of the Olympic Flame tonight, with England's Duran Duran, Northern Ireland's Snow Patrol, Wales' Stereophonics and Scot Paolo Nutini all performing.
There will also be two daily performances on the Visions stage in the park, while in Victoria Park the likes of Alexandra Burke, Soul II Soul and Norman Jay are all performing throughout the games. A full list of shows can be found at Btlondonlive.com.
Oh and that band Blur - who are on our new cover - are headlining the Closing Ceremony Celebration Concert back at Hyde Park on 12 August. New Order, The Specials and Bombay Bicycle Club are also playing.
So there you have it. As Morrissey would never observe, there's more to the Olympics than sport you know...
Laurie Havelock @Havelockthedane
10:37 AM | 27/07/2012
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