Wednesday, 7 March 2012

About F1 intro music

Sky announced today that the intro to their new F1 coverage would be the song (or rather, a fairly crap remix of it) Just Drive by Alistair Griffin, which was originally written 2 years ago for the BBC's 2010 end of season montage. Slower paced, emotional sounding tunes are always fine for end of season montages, as they tend to get you all nostalgic and teary-eyed about the end of the racing year, but for an intro? Not so much. 

As I said on Twitter earlier, for me, F1 intro tunes should be something rip-roaring (I jokingly suggested Survivor's Eye of the Tiger, although Sky could do worse); something to get you fired up for the race ahead; something to get your stomach churning and blood pumping. Just Drive, as a song, is just a bit... insipid. It's music you could easily ignore if it was playing in a supermarket, a lift, or a mid-morning local radio show.

It is FACT that The Chain is the greatest of all F1 intro songs, and this shall never be topped. Anyone who disagrees is A Stupid. The BBC used this from 1979 up until 1996, when ITV took over the coverage, and have been using it again since getting the rights back at the beginning of the 2009 season. 

Surely there cannot be an F1 fan alive who doesn't get butterflies in the pit of their stomach when that bass line kicks in? 

During the ITV years, 1996 to 2008, we had a varied array of dance-type intro themes, including ones by Jamiroquai and Apollo 440 (I don't know who they are). The Jamiroquai one from the late 90s is one I look back on with nostalgia now, as it reminds me of Michael and Eddie versus Mika and David. This was possibly my favourite era of the sport, so I shall always think of it fondly.

ITV's last effort was Lift Me Up by Moby, in which he asked us to lift him up and then mumbled something or other about wanting a banana. Maybe. I generally forgot how much I detested that tune due to the HORRIFIC images used in the opening titles, such as David Coulthard looking 'suave' in a tux beside an in-no-way-cliched casino wheel; an unnamed woman with a snake crawling over her shoulder - and the disturbing winking face of one Lewis Hamilton. Moby intro = dreadfulness itself. However I can forgive this intro as they were happier years to be a Massa fan, and at least back then once the theme music was dealt with I knew I was probably settling down to a Massa pole/win *sob*

I'm not sure if it's the same in other sports, but F1 fans do seem to place a lot of importance on 'their' intro (is it just because we as a fandom tend to be a bunch of obsessive weirdoes?) so it's annoying that going by the general reaction on Twitter, Sky seem to have gotten this one wrong. If they're going to have a song that sounds a bit like Feeling A Moment by Feeder, why not just go the whole hog and use the real song. Again this isn't a track I am particularly a fan of, but it's been used to great effect in this fanmade video about F1.

What would I choose? Well, I have a predilection for 80s glam, classic rock, and er... German industrial metal, so you really don't want to go by my suggestions. But there's been some great songs used over the past few seasons by the BBC and, such as Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones (great if you want an atmospheric intro), and She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult. 

They may not be the most contemporary of songs, but the BBC have made fantastic use of a 35 year old Fleetwood Mac track, so there's no reason why Sky couldn't plump for something a bit older also. Whatever they had chosen would not have been as iconic as The Chain, but if Sky are in this for the long haul, they could have at least tried to choose something with the potential to become so.


  1. This song has been the start of F1 in my head for over a decade now.

    Listen to it from the very start and picture the cars lining up on the grid one by one with a cut to a low level camera focused on the cars from the end of the straight and you will know exactly when the lights go out when you listen to this.

    This would be what I would choose :-)

  2. ...I even knew which bit would be playing when Ralf shot up into the air at the first corner/T-boned his team mate/hit various walls etc.

    I forgot to mention there had to be some serious heat haze during the build up at the start.

    I need a director!

    1. And yep I could totally tell which part of the song the lights would go off.

  3. That's bloody brilliant! Get onto Sky now.