Reflecting on the Olympics theme songs of decades gone by offers little sign of a winning formula. There is no obvious considered ethos or guiding principles that link the eclectic choice of artists, who include José Carreras, Muse, Celine Dion, Björk and Giorgio Moroder, and who, in recent years, have been asked to deliver official songs commemorating the world’s greatest sporting extravaganza.
The latest Games – which start in Rio do Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday – have been promoted with the effective official anthem Os Deuses do Olimpo Visitam o Rio de Janeiro (Gods of Olympus Visit Rio de Janeiro). It’s an authentic, funky Latin groove that unites Brazil’s traditional samba schools and rousingly plays on national stereotypes.
So far so good – but another tune selected as an official anthem for the 2016 games is Katy Perry’s Rise, an anodyne electro-pop stomper cluttered with pointless samples of Olympics commentators and whooping crowds.
The most prolific – and therefore, we must conclude, most successful – Olympics theme songwriter is John Williams, the American film composer best known for his rousing scores to blockbusters such as Star Wars, Jawsand Indiana Jones.
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