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August 13, 2012 by David Gillaspie


At the end of the day (a quite English saying that sounds even better with the proper accent) the biggest stage in world sports got smaller.

The Olympic Games carry a promise to all sports fans: fair competition, but more on that later.

The Games carry a new message after last night’s closing ceremonies. As big as the event looms around the globe, it’s not big enough to draw the greats of English rock and roll.

Here at DeeGees B&B we don’t expect our British brothers and sisters to go Frankenstein and did up the dead for one last tour, but how else can you explain the death head of John Lennon constructed while a choir sang ‘Imagine?’ The Beatle that wasn’t the Cute One died in 1980.

His songs will live forever, but do we need the temporary sculpture to remind us who he is? Not when his work stands the test of time. Beethoven is still Beethoven without the reminder. You know who it is after a few notes.

Da, Da, Da, Duuhhhh? Beethoven. Same with the Beatles.

Moving through rock royalty means celebrating the Mods? On scooters? Okay, then bring out The Who. John Lennon couldn’t show up to sing his song, but the Who aren’t all dead. No one asks for a new Keith Moon drum solo. Roger Daltry? Pete Townsend? Where were you, on the road from Brighton to Soho playing pinball?

Or was it NBC?

English music is world music, which makes sense when you think of how much of the world England influenced when they were at the top of their game. Everyone with a battery powered radio has heard a tune. And any celebration that includes Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ needs more than the original drummer in the band to show up. Even Ringo Starr would have been better. At least he’s got the name recognition.

What was missing?

It’s called a front man. Their names are David Gilmore and Roger Waters, neither named Pink. Guys, aren’t the Olympics a big enough audience? Did you know a young ginger haired singer would do your song for you? If there was a time to build that death mask for a band it was then, and the man was Syd Barret.

Seeing and hearing a Pink Floyd song during the Olympics would have gone a long way in bringing this fan back to the Pink base after seeing The Wall concert. I’m not there yet.

Cover bands doing great copies were disappointing, but not as much as an original band reuniting. The Spice Girls weren’t on my playlist during their climb to best selling girl band of all time. I wondered why. After last night I stopped wondering. When I think of all-girl bands, the list begins and ends with The Supremes.

I’d rather hear Baby Spice sing Baby Love than her greatest hits.

The notion of stand-ins performing songs for mythical bands feels as awkward as athletes claiming legendary status for events they won under the question of performance enhancing drugs.

Remember, we’ve been burned before. From East German women in the past with more male characteristics than Ryan Seacrest, to the gender confusion over South African athletes and which dressing room to use, the big winners don’t always keep their titles.

I’m talking to you, Usain Bolt. You are tall, you are fast, and you are going under a microscope at the highest magnification. And you’re not helping yourself.

This quote comes from the head of the International Olympic Committee and nydailynews.com:

“If you look at the career of Carl Lewis, he had (four) consecutive Games with a medal,” Rogge said. “Let Usain Bolt be free of injury, let him keep his motivation which I think will be the case … Let him participate in three, four Games, and he can be a legend.”

When Rogge’s quote was brought back to Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter didn’t attack Rogge. He went instead at Lewis, who had suggested recently that the Jamaican athletics program failed to include adequate drug testing – a commonly-held belief among many track observers.

If adequate drug testing means suspending athletes who test positive for banned substances, and Jamaican athletes other than Bolt have been banned or suspended, then it’s working a little.

From Bolt in the same story:

“I think a lot of these guys who sit and talk, especially Lewis, no one really remembers who he is, so he is just looking for attention,” Bolt told the Associated Press. “I am going to say something controversial right now: Carl Lewis, I have no respect for him. The things he says about the track athletes is really downgrading. For another athlete to be saying something like that about other athletes.”

Let’s hope Usain Bolt’s gold medals stand the test of time, as well as the test of urine, blood test, and BS test. He’s already failed the self-promotion test. One man mugging for the camera before, during, and after races then calling out another athlete for an attention grab is too funny.

I want to believe he’s the real deal as much as I wanted to believe the original English musicians would show up at the closing ceremony and do their songs. One was a disappointment. The other would be too sad for words.

If the script for the closing ceremonies had come from DeeGee’s B&B, the last act on the Olympic stage would have been Eric Clapton doing Robert Johnson’s ‘Crossroads.’ It’s fitting for the festivities and those to follow:

I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Asked the lord above for mercy, save me if you please.

I went down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride.
I went down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride.
Nobody seemed to know me, everybody passed me by.

I’m going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
I’m going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
You can still barrelhouse, baby, on the riverside.

You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy willie brown.
You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy willie brown.
And I’m standing at the crossroads, believe I’m sinking down.

Usain, please don’t come back and tell us you went down to the BALCO crossroads and sold your soul to the devil for Olympic gold.

Say it ain’t so.

(also posted on oregonsportsnews.com)


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