Monday, 30 December 2013

Record Sleeve Athletics (7): Giorgio Moroder - Reach Out (1984 Olympics Track Theme)

Previously in this series we featured 'The Runner' by the Three Degrees, produced in 1979 by Giorgio Moroder. Moroder was responsible for another slice of athletics action in 1984, with 'Reach Out', the 'track theme' for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. It got to number one in the German charts.

The record sleeve for the 12" extended dance mix features an abstract design of athletes seemingly, well,  reaching out. The music is pure mid-1980s, cheesy synth sounds matched by power ballad lyrics (written by Moroder and sung by Paul Engemann): 'reach out for the medal...  reach out for the gold, Come play to win, never give in... You are standing on the edge of history,  So let the games begin,  may the best man win' etc etc.

Of course the track featured on the 'Official Music of the 1984 Games' album (thanks to 80s Soundtracks for details). There was also theme tracks for other events, such as swimming, gymnastics and the marathon.

01 Leo Arnaud - Bugler's Dream
02 Loverboy - Nothing's Gonna Stop You Now (Team Sports Theme)
03 Giorgio Moroder - Reach Out (Track Theme)
04 Bob James - Courtship (Basketball Theme)
05 Christopher Cross - A Chance For Heaven (Swimming Theme)
06 Toto - Moodido (Boxing Theme)
07 John Williams - Olympic Fanfare & Theme
08 Quincy Jones - Grace (Gymnastics Theme)
09 Bill Conti - Power (Power Sports Theme)
10 Foreigner - Street Thunder (Marathon Theme)
11 Herbie Hancock - Junku (Field Theme)
12 Philip Glass - The Olympian-Lighting of the Torch
13 Sergio Mendes - Olympia (bonus)

It was the fanfare commissioned from John Williams that was actually heard the most, his "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" being played at every medal ceremony in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

See previously in this series:

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Run Run Rudolph: a Christmas run in Hilly Fields

And lo it came to pass that in the depths of the dark midwinter, people came together and looked forward to brighter days to come. As the shortest day passed, they celebrated with their festivals of light, candles and new birth. Saturnalia, Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas... they ate, drank, gave gifts, prayed and performed their various rituals. Oh and they ran around a muddy park in South London on Christmas morning!

81 people turned out yesterday morning for a special Christmas Day Hilly Fields 5k parkrun. Santa hats and the odd set of reindeer antlers were much in evidence (as they were on the 21st December for the last regular Saturday run before Christmas).

As discussed in previous post here about running and the history of Hilly Fields park, there is a modern stone circle there which runners pass as they struggle up one of the two main hills on this circuit. In the middle of it is a stone calendar slab/sundial which marks the Winter Solstice. No doubt if future archaeologists were to come across this they would wonder whether there was some ritual significance in people running round the park in a clockwise/sunwise direction at this time of year, turning from east to west like the sun in the vicinity of a solar temple!

photo from Everything Lewisham

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Morrissey and Marr: The Running Smiths [updated - Marr in 'Hand in Glove' running injury]

Morrissey's 450+ page 'Autobiography' has a few surprizes, but the biggest revelation for me was his apparent prowess as a teenage athlete. In between seeing Mott the Hoople, David Bowie and Lou Reed, the young Stephen Patrick won medals running in the 100m and 400m for St Mary's Secondary Modern School in Manchester - although given his otherwise miserable time at the school he quips that 'I was actually running from St Mary's'.

Morrissey reminisces: 'my Saturdays are marked out by solitary excursions to woe-begone stadiums in child-gorging Gorton or dishearteningly dented Denton. I am obliged to make my own way, and I am obliged to feel honored and to dream of the 14-second dash, or the one-minute 400... Frozen amongst the pugilistic roughnecks whose kits don't fit, I await the starting pistol, always relieved to let loose on a grey granite track with its wet chalky smells'.

Unfortunately Morrissey doesn't throw any light in his book on his encounter with fellow indie athlete Billy MacKenzie of the Associates, other than confirming that they met.

In recent years it has been Morrissey's former songwriting partner in The Smiths who has been making all the running. Johnny Marr ran a  credible sub-4 hours time in the 2010 New York City Marathon

As I mentioned before, The Smiths' 'Is it really so strange' does include a lyric pertinent to running.

Update 12 March 2014:  Johnny Marr is still running, and broke his hand last week after taking a tumble and has had to cancelsome gigs as a result-  'The guitarist and singer fell while he was out running in London last week, and now has his hand in plaster (see picture above).In a statement issued to NME, Marr said: "I was running pretty fast and just went straight over. I banged my shoulder and then realised my hand was in a bad way. Obviously we’re hoping there’s no long term damage."

Marr displays his running injury last week

Update, 27 September 2014:  Johnny Marr interviewed by John Harris in The Guardian: 'What now assists his frantic work rate, it seems, is an exacting exercise regimen, built around at least four long-distance runs each week. “When I go out, I do 10 miles. If I’ve got decent time between a soundcheck and a gig, I’ll do 15, sometimes 18. I try and time my run so I finish 20 minutes before a gig, and I’m hopping around.”