Sunday, February 12, 2017

"A Chance for Heaven" by Christopher Cross

Song#:  1939
Date:  06/16/1984
Debut:  91
Peak:  76
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  With the 1984 Summer Olympics being held in Los Angeles and the Eastern Bloc countries boycotting, it was a perfect opportunity to merge sports and music for a tie-in product. With Columbia Records on board and producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters (who recently did Flashdance and its soundtrack) overseeing the project, songs were requested from artists in various genres that would be used in the games' ceremonies, coverage, and TV spots, and included on the soundtrack album. The themes written were meant to represent a specific event. For Christopher Cross and his co-writers, Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, their job was to write a theme for the swimming events. They came up with "A Chance for Heaven" and the song was selected for single release a couple weeks prior to the opening ceremonies of the games. The tune floated around at AC getting to #16, but it sank quickly on Pop chart. Without a big single to promote it, the album fell flat and could only manage a #92 peak.

ReduxReview:  Besides the hopeful lyrics about the urge to win, I have zero idea what this song has to do with swimming. Especially when it says "one more mountain to climb." Seems like it would be more suited to a skiing event. Regardless, I have to say that for a song that was written to be a sporting theme, it's not too bad. I think the crowd noise at the bridge is kind of stupid and pointless and the weird modulation at the end was jolting and unnecessary, but it's not a bad tune from Mr. Mumbles. It's kind of a shame it got a little lost in the Olympic shuffle.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Although the album tanked and none of the pop songs became hits, there was one major musical bright spot that came from the '84 Olympics. Composer John Williams wrote "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" for the event. The powerful piece of music proved very popular and was widely used throughout the coverage of the games. Williams would also end up winning a Grammy for the composition. That could have been it for the piece, but it quickly became synonymous with American coverage of the Olympics and it has served as the main theme for the event since then. It is often used in conjunction with Leo Arnaud's "Bugler's Dream."


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