Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Olympia" by Sergio Mendes

Song#:  1858
Date:  04/07/1984
Debut:  77
Peak:  58
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Mendes' career came back into the spotlight when his 1983 self-titled pop-oriented LP spawned the #4 hit "Never Gonna Let You Go." Sung by Joe Pizzulo and Leza Miller, the song would spend four weeks atop the AC chart. With that success, Mendes decided to stay in the pop/AC arena and recorded his next LP Confetti. This first single got things started and it once again featured the vocals of Joe Pizzulo. Unfortunately, the tune wasn't attracting listeners and is stalled at #18 at AC while remaining in the lower half of the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  I'm sure I've mentioned before that Mann and Weil (see below) are fantastic songwriters. However, it seems that writing a big-ass sporting anthem is not in their wheelhouse. Admittedly, it's a tough task to write a song for an event like this. It has to be inspirational, catchy, anthematic, and appealing to folks of all ages. It's rough. It's similar to trying to write a Christmas song that will turn into an annual classic. In either case, it can't be forced. It just has to be something that comes out or you were inspired to do. This just sounds manufactured to me. It has a slight lean towards a Jim Steinman epic, but it never really reaches that goal. It seems to check all the boxes needed in order to be an anthem (bombast, big vocals, effects, inspirational lyrics, a bright chorus with two words that can be yelled out, etc.), but checked boxes alone don't make a great song and this one misses the mark by a mile. I happened to come across a review of this song that said it "sounds like a beer commercial" and they are exactly right! Listening to it again, I though for sure a voice was gonna come in during the instrumental part saying "so crack open a Bud and toast your athletes - go 'Murica!"

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  This song was written by the famous team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. As the title suggests, it was written specifically for the 1984 summer Olympic Games that were held in Los Angeles. Apparently, the choir used in the background (credited as the Olympic Choir) was a gathering of around a thousand volunteers from local schools and churches. The video for the song even features a little historical segment about how the games originally came into being. Despite all the fanfare surrounding the games, the anthem fell flat. And for some reason, it was not included on the official soundtrack album for the games that featured songs by Toto, Foreigner, Christopher Cross, Loverboy, and others.


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