28 August 2004
Games people play
You remember the Olympics, of course: an R&B group who first charted with "Western Movies" (Demon 1508) way back in 1958 and continued to chart as late as 1966.
In 1984, the Games of the XXIII Olympiad were played in Los Angeles; Rhino Records, based in Los Angeles, decided to mock some of the official pomp and circumstance by issuing an LP called The Official Record Album of the Olympics (RNDF 207), which indeed leads off with "Western Movies" and includes most of the group's chart hits, including "Good Lovin'" (later redone by the then-Young Rascals) and "Big Boy Pete" (a Don and Dewey number which sort of inspired the Kingsmen's "The Jolly Green Giant").
And Peter Ueberroth, head of the L.A. Olympic Committee, was indeed wroth, and filed suit to have the Rhino album suppressed.
I mention this because this week, the IOC has had its jockstraps in a wad over a Bush-Cheney political spot that suggests that "this Olympics, there will be two new free nations," though the five-ringed logo is not present.
So now you can't even say 'Olympics'? How exactly do you trademark a word that has been in common useage for a thousand or so years?
Oh, and Ueberroth's lawsuit against Rhino? He lost. Richard Foos, one of the original Rhino Brothers, pointed out that the possibility of confusing their LP with the, um, "official" Olympics recording was slight indeed:
Anyone who could mix up an album cover of four pompadoured black men in 1950s gold rock 'n' roll suits ... with that of a nondescript package highlighted with Roman numerals [containing] such songs as "Grace (The Gymnasts' Theme)" is probably in such wretched shape that we have serious doubts that they could find their way into a record store.