Lifestyle & Belief

Olympic Games closing ceremony features greats of British pop, young and old


General view of the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium in London, on August 12, 2012. A



The Games of the XXX Olympiad are at an end, with a closing ceremony combining such iconic British figures as Big Ben and Winston Churchill with new influences like One Direction and Prince Harry.

The BBC led the way in live blogging the event, directed by Kim Gavin.

As with the opening ceremony, British music played a starring role in the closing ceremony, ranging from The Beatles and The Kinks through pop supergroups of the '80s (Pet Shop Boys, Madness), '90s (Spice Girls), and noughties, to musical acts of the moment (One Direction).

The BBC described the ceremony as "a pure and fairly straightforward celebration of the last 50 years of pop." 

Early on in the ceremony, the athletes filed into the stadium to form the moshpit for live performances by George Michael (Freedom), Annie Lennox ("Little Bird") and DJ Fatboy Slim (medley included "Right Here, Right Now" and "The Rockafeller Skank"), Oasis (Wonderwall), Monty Python's Eric Idle (performing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"), Muse and (posthumously, via video tribute) Freddie Mercury. 

A standout performance late in the ceremony came from Russell Brand, singing atop a psychedelic tour bus in a nod to such popular bands as Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Stone Roses.

The opening scene of the ceremony performance was London waking to become a busy city in motion, with all the classic landmarks visible — Big Ben, the Eye, The Gherkin and the Tower Bridge — all set to "Read All About It" sung by Emeli Sande on a stage on the back of a truck.

Hundreds of other actors on stage wore clothes featuring pages from the famous Fleet Street rags, with prose from the great British writers and poets, from Byron to Shelley to Dickens, instead of newsprint.

The ceremony even doffed its hat at British fashion, with a parade led by British supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, and including — according to the BBC — "Lily Donaldson, Stella Tennant, Karen Elson, Lily Cole, Georgia May Jaggar, Jourdan Dunn, David Gandy ... wearing Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Kane, Burberry, Erdem, Victoria Beckham, Jonathan Saunders, Stephen Jones (headwear) and Paul Smith." 

Not everybody was impressed with the show.

Pop star Boy George tweeted his objection to an apparent reliance on lip-synching, targeting long-time rival George Michael's performance, according to

He later clarified: "Everyone f--- off! Like you, I helped pay for this charade and I will say what the f--- I f---ing like!"