When I was a little kid ( as opposed to now, when I am a taller and older kid) I used to get all nostalgic about the Olympics theme music. As the end of the games approached, I would mourn the loss of that stirring brass section. Of course, now I realize that I’ll hear it again in two years and should focus my attention on other things, but I still harbor affection for the theme and therefore decided to do some research on its origins.
Apparently John Williams is responsible for some of the music used in Olympic broadcasts. His bit is entitled “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” and was composed for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. HOWEVER. In 1996 his piece was combined with a previously used theme, “Bugler’s Dream” from Leo Arnaud‘s Charge Suite, which had been used for Olympics broadcasts since 1964 and which is considered more well known than Williams’ music. Also the medley blends suspiciously well. Just. Saying.
“Bugler’s Dream” was evidently commissioned in 1958 by Felix Slatkin (Leonard Slatkin had a father! Who knew?) as part of the album Charge! ABC was the first to use the music for the Olympics, and also employed it as the theme for Wide World of Sports. When NBC obtained the broadcast rights to the games in 1988 they briefly went with different music, but brought “Bugler’s Dream” back in 1992, where it has been firmly ensconced in our ears and brains as the official music of the Olympics ever since. (I can’t believe 1992 was a long time ago now.)
Here it is, Arnaud and Williams. No wonder the French don’t like us.