Into the Ear of Madness: Week 10 — The Olympics

Written by Into the Ear of Madness, Music, Popdose

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Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering.

The Olympics are coming up, folks, and what better time to take a look at Mr. Foster’s efforts in the games over the years?

David Foster boasts a proud Olympic history — he composed the classic pop instrumental “Winter Games” and conducted the orchestra during the ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988; he conducted alongside John Williams at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and provided a song for Celine Dion at that; he wrote Leann Rimes a tune for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and, finally, he stroke up the band with Andrea Bocelli’s “Because We Believe” at the closing ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Now the moment we’ve waited for is coming true
And our hopes and our dream will soon shining through
And the feeling we know is here to stay
And whatever may come, we’ll see it through remembering today.

If only, my friends, if only.

A lot of you will know that David Foster composed “Winter Games” for the Calgary Olympics in 1988. But very few are aware of the obscure vocal version that haunted Calgary for sixteen days and subsequently disappeared without a trace. I didn’t know it — I discovered by chance when I was searching for material for my Olympic post. A bloke on some freak forum opened his request with the following quote:

“Hi, after years of searching […] for a DJ or promo copy of David Foster’s “Can You Feel It?”…”

Thank God! I’m not alone. I’ll admit I felt pretty bad when I paid $40 for “The Keane Brothers” a few weeks ago, but this guy makes me feel better. I’m not saying I’m better than him or anything, it’s just… comforting to know he’s there.

Tony Banks provided the lyrics for “Can’t You Feel It,” and I sincerely hope he’s not that Tony Banks. Tony Banks, stoic man-wonder of one of prog-rock’s biggest pop bands, always hidden safely behind his keys, the sole evidence that Genesis didn’t turn into a complete sellout by the end.

I’m kidding, you guys, I’m only kidding.

Flashback memory! For the better part of 1989, I played three records on my brand new stereo: David Foster’s self-titled solo album from 1986, Tony Banks’ “Bankstatement” (1989) and Jan Hammer’s “Escape From Television” (1987). Best keyboard music there ever was. The best, I tell ya. Can’t beat them keytar solos by Hammer.

Sadly, I don’t have a copy of the vocal version of “Winter Games,” but I did discover this YouTube clip from the closing ceremony, and I’m so glad I did. I’ll tell you, there’s so much to cherish on this tape – the costumes, the moves, every single performance, it’s all kinds of awesome. Love Ben Stiller at the beginning (hey, there’s an idea for a Stiller character!), the vibrato chick with the fluffy hair, the third guy — the German rubberman or whatever that is — is probably my favorite. There’s my third-grade teacher… and is that Neil Diamond’s son at 1:10? Watch it, guys, just watch it. Seriously. I’m sure you won’t regret it.

CAN’T YOU FEEL IT? Apparently, some of these international singers won an international Coca Cola competition, and were thus offered a spot at the closing ceremony — which only goes to prove that one should never, ever trust a person who reads messages on the insides of soda bottle caps. Please bear in mind that I can’t verify this information — my sole source of information is a comment on YouTube.

Now the trumpets have sounded, and the drums are still
And you’ve vowed that you’ll do your best, and we know you will
We’re not here just to cheer for fame
But for honor and truth, that’s why we came
It’s not wheter you win what counts, but only how you play the game.

Here are a few sound samples to whet your appetite for the upcoming events in China. Or not:

1988: David Foster – “Winter Games,” Winter Olympics, Calgary, Canada
1996: Celine Dion – “The Power of the Dream,” Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, USA
2002: Leann Rimes – “Light the Fire Within,” Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City, USA
2006: Andrea Bocelli – “Because We Believe,” Winter Olympics, Turin, Italy

It goes without saying that David Foster thinks he’s a logical choice, and that he would love to do Vancouver in 2010 if someone asked him officially. No one has yet, though.