The Music: Hits, Misses
Boyle's soundtrack was a wild ride through U.K. pop history that shortchanged the British invasion.
Well, at least now we know what's on Danny Boyle's iPod. And NBC commentator Meredith Vieira's, too. What an incredible playlist. I'm talking about Boyle, who paid tribute or nods (and the occasional wink) to five decades of mostly British artists and music in various segments of the Opening Ceremony. Vieira, if NBC co-commentator Matt Lauer was correct, is mostly into the British invasion: She was so into "Satisfaction" that, in an open-mic moment, she sang "and I tried … " before she caught herself. Hey, as Lauer had told her earlier, there were only a billion people expected to be tuning in.
The Boyle soundtrack (which he put together with Underworld, an electronica duo who worked with him on Trainspotting), was like a Pandora station gone mad, from the snippet of the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" in the opening montage to a live "Tubular Bells" in the surrealistic tribute to the National Health Service to Arcade Fire's take on "Come Together."
Boyle managed to sweep through 50 years of pop, but I'll focus on Meredith's Music: the '60s. The segment was too short, especially considering the impact of The Beatles and the musical invasion they triggered in 1964. Maybe it's because Boyle was only 7 when the Fab Four appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. For whatever reason, he kicked off the '60s with Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight." That's 1977, dude. But at least Clapton began in the '60s. After a bit of Charlie Chaplin and "La Violetera" (From the 1860s? I'm telling you, that Boyle is eclectic!), he brought on dancers for "My Generation," "Satisfaction," "My Boy Lollipop" (by ska pioneer Millie Small), "All Day and All of the Night" and "She Loves You." But five songs to represent dozens of writers and artists who helped transform pop music? Really?
At least Boyle came full circle for the finale with Sir Paul McCartney. His "The End"/"Hey Jude" medley was perfectly imperfect; imperfectly perfect. Just like the preceding Olympic extravaganza.