Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Song Doesn't Always Remain The Same

While we Americans are gearing up for the baseball post-season, some of us praying the Cubs will finally get back in the World Series at least (Dodgers be damned), our Canadian neighbors have other things to worry about. They are about to make a choice that will affect their lives for generations to come.

Oh, and they'll choose a new prime minister in less than two weeks, just like we do next month.

Until that somewhat important decision, millions of Canadians will actually decide what will be the new theme song for Hockey Night in Canada, an institution that is truly part of Canada's soul, even more than Monday Night Football here in the States.

This is really a big deal, and here's why: the CBC decided not to retain the rights to the old theme, which is called "The Hockey Anthem". This theme has been around for 40 years, and millions of people connect the music with the game itself.

But this is the punch line....CTV bought the rights to the song, and plans to use it for its hockey coverage on TSN, its cable network, and the next Olympics in 2010. Can you imagine something like that happening here? Probably not, but it has.

When ABC was the Olympic Network, it used "Bugler's Dream" as its opening theme. That was composed by Leo Arnaud as part of an album. This was soon used by NBC when it took over Olympic coverage, although it also used a little bit of the 1984 Summer Olympic fanfare, too. Was there shock that NBC used ABC Olympic music? Of course not. ABC didn't own that music, but used it when it had the chance. NBC just followed.

It's just interesting that hockey fans would be surprised to hear a piece of music used by someone else, after it's conected so strongly with a national hockey telecast. It's probably the only example anywhere.

What's more, the search for a new theme for Hockey Night in Canada is so important, it nearly overshadows the upcoming national election. It's like scheduling the finals of American Idol, or even Dancing With the Stars, the night before Election Day. In this case, the final choice for the HNiC theme will be on the 9th, just five days before the national election. They'll have all five semi-finalists presented by the weekend, then pare it down to two in time for the final vote a week later. Personally, my choice is "Sticks to the Ice", composed by a young teen from Toronto. If he doesn't win, CBC should at least use the music for some reason before CTV buys that, too.

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