Freddie Matthews writes from London: The 2012 London Olympics have done wonders for many British acts and an American one as well. You wouldn’t think it for one second but stand by for a re-making of a classic song by the US hip-hop legends, Public Enemy.
I’ve never been a fan myself. Maybe I just didn’t get their musical style and approach, but the Long Island, New York music immortals, Public Enemy hit the US music scene in 1982. The first album came out in 1987 and amazingly the band continued for the last 30 years. Thirteen albums later with a new one planned for release by the end of 2012, the song Harder Than You Think has been re-worked and remixed and utilised for the soundtrack of Channel 4 as the theme for their Paralympics campaign coverage. As a result, this remix of Public Enemy’s 5-year-old song turned it into a huge hit with UK music fans. The release coincides with the band’s 25th anniversary since the debut album. It’s their 17th top 75 entry in the UK and their 10th top 40 hit, coming alost 15 years after their last UK hit, He Got Game. Channel 4 have created a whole new market place audience for Public Enemy and not just for this remix either. By working with a classic, this fresh new audience will delve into the band’s back catalogue and why shouldn’t they? But as for me, I just don’t believe all the hype.
So what of the British acts who’ve seen resurgence in album sales? The London 2012 Olympic opening and closing ceremonies did wonders for many of the music acts involved. To say ‘no’ to an appearance was a massive record sales blunder but there were individuals who did just that. It’s just been announced that former Oasis member and Noel Gallagher turned down an opportunity to play at the event. He was due to walk on to the stage playing an acoustic guitar and ‘miming’ to his classic Wonderwall. However, he declined, saying that he doesn’t mime for anyone, including a worldwide audience of billions. As we’ve reported previously, his daft brother Liam’s band filled his shoes, although rather badly, instead.
The Arctic Monkeys have a surprise hit with their cover version of The Beatles classic Come Together. It peaked at number 21 in the UK official singles chart, their highest entry since 2009. Was that a little bit of an embarrassing statistic for the once most talked about British indie band? I should think so.
The 2008 Mercury Music Prize winners, Elbow, performed two songs at the closing ceremony: Open Arms that was taken from their excellent most recent album, Build A Rocket Boys, and the song they’re best known for – One Day Like This. As a result of this Olympic performance the latter achieved its highest UK chart position ever, peaking at No.4, far superior to its original 2008 position of No.35. Elbow’s sales were also reported to have increased by over 150 per cent after this Olympic performance and it was all perfectly timed for the release of their new Dead In The Boot album also. It just goes to show that fat men can sing and be revered internationally.
Simon Cowell’s bland 5 piece boy-band, One Direction, also graced us with their overly in demand presence at the Olympics closing ceremony. You may remember them on the back of an HGC flatbed truck. Somehow in less than one year One Direction has sold over 8 million singles, 3 million albums and over one million DVDs. So no wonder they were up for a sales boosting performance of their biggest single to date What Makes You Beautiful. It really didn’t matter how stupid they looked, that the truck was driving so fast that they struggled to stay standing, that their trousers were around their knees and you could see their underpants – but that is still the fashion trend these days among the low IQs.
Then there’s Edinburgh’s R&B & Soul singer/songwriter, Emeli Sande. Her real name is Adele but for the obvious reason that Britain already has a hugely successful singer called Adele, Emeli Sande used her second name instead as her stage name. Before gaining her personal notoriety as a performer, Sande wrote songs for both Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle. Do we have to mention that she’s Cowell’s favourite songwriter?
At the Olympics’ closing ceremony Emeli Sande performed the third part and continuation of a former UK No.1 for her and Professor Green called Read All About It. ‘Read All About It’ (Part 3) is reminiscent of an Adele song. Just one simple and beautiful vocal and a piano. Amazingly it reached a peak position of No.11 in the UK singles chart within just 12 hours of the performance. The song was already on her debut album and was instantly available to be downloaded.