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Most people with access to a television were tuning in to the London Olympic opening ceremony on July 27. As expected, the ceremonies included cameos and performances from many famous British celebrities, with the most famous of the rockers clearly being Sir Paul McCartney.
McCartney showed his true Olympic spirit by putting on an unforgettable performance, complete with his biggest hits. The 70-year-old Beatle opened with “The End” and transitioned into “Hey Jude,” which the audience completely ate up. Despite the huge library of songs to pick from, “Hey Jude” was clearly the correct song choice, as the entire Olympic stadium crowd – audience and athletes from around the world - sang along.
If it were any other performer, I would suggest that it was likely his largest singalong he’s ever conducted, but considering the Beatles’ unparalleled fame, I have a feeling McCartney’s experienced a stadium of tens of thousands of people singing his songs before.
So what does it cost to score a legend like McCartney for the Olympics? Less than you might think. McCartney reportedly agreed to perform at the opening ceremonies for a mere one pound, equivalent to $1.57 in American money. That is not a typo. McCartney actually wanted to volunteer his service for the opportunity to represent his country and give back to it, but a contract and payment for services is an Olympic requirement, hence the low payment.
The “Isles of Wonder”-themed opening ceremonies, organized by Danny Boyle (who is also responsible for Slumdog Millionaire), featured a soundtrack of more than 70 British hits, including The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,”the Beatles’ “She Loves You,” and a modern-day celebrity Dizzee Rascal singing “Bonkers.”It is believed that Rascal and other performers such as Emeli Sande and Mike Oldfield also performed for an extremely nominal fee.
A complete compilation of the music from the opening ceremonies, titled A Symphony of British Music: Music For The Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, will be available on the internet August 12.
Other British celebrities who made appearances in the opening ceremony included Daniel Craig (as James Bond), Mr. Bean with a hilarious Chariots of Fire spoof, and the matriarch herself, Queen Elizabeth II.