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Friday, March 12, 2010

Music That Matters (Top 50 Movie Symphonies: #19 Chariots Of Fire (Theme) by Vangelis)

There are a few songs throughout my thirty years on this earth that have just stood the test of time with me since the first time I heard them. Songs of which include such a beautiful melody that always keeps me from clicking fast forward. At #19 on this list is one of those songs. It's been with me since I was I five years old, it's with me during elementary school, it's been with me during college, it's been with me during my wedding, and it's still very important to me now. Even though I have still never seen the 1981 Oscar Winning Movie of the same name of which the theme was created for, this classic movie theme composed by Greek musician Vangelis is considered not just by me but also by most movie lovers as one of the greatest movie themes of all time.

What made the song even more unique was that many questioned why a modern song using synthesizers would be the main score for a period piece. Chariots Of Fire took place in 1924 during the Summer Olympics, and a classical score from Elmer Bernstein or John Williams would have probably made more sense. Instead, a then unknown Greek composer named Vangelis was brought in to score the movie. Even though the song featured a synthesizer sound, you can also hear such an amazing inspirational piano melody throughout the song. The Chariots Of Fire theme was such a smash hit that after the movie left the theatres, the song was released as a single reaching #1 on the Billboard Top 100 Charts and staying on the charts for an amazing 97 weeks selling 3 million copies in it's first year alon. Not only was the song a monster success throughout the entire world, but it also earned Vangelis an Oscar trophy in 1981 for Best Film Score. Although Vangelis would later on score other movies including Blade Runner and Mask as well as tunes for the Olympics Games, he would never reach the success he had with Chariots Of Fire. This classic theme will always be synonymous with running in a race just like Gonna Fly Now from Rocky will always be associated with running up steps toward a monument or museum. At least the theme was always in my head when I ran track in elementary school, or running outside to clear my head.

The Chariots Of Fire theme was also used brilliantly in another movie. Remember the classic scene in National Lampoon's Vacation when the Griswolds finally reach Wally World? Although the parking lot was empty, Clark was so proud that his family were the first ones there. Using such illogical thought, Clark decided to park the car far away from the parking thinking that they would be the first ones in to the park, and also the first ones out. Clark and his son Rusty decide to race, and in classic slow motion action as they run in high spirits, the classic Vangelis tune is used making an already classic funny scene even more hilarious. And the best part comes when we find out the park has been closed for renovations. Classic!

Chariots Of Fire works on so many levels: a song that inspires you, a song to listen to while running on the treadmill at the gym, a song that makes you reflect on the past, and a song that defines goodness. Because the song has been with me for so long as one of my favorites, I used it on my wedding video when recapping the momentous occasion. Not only is it a classic movie theme, it's simply one of the most beautiful love melodies of all time.

Ladies and gentlemen... #19 Chariots Of Fire (Theme) by Vangelis

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