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1996: Viewers See Stars at the Atlanta Olympics’ Closing Ceremony

By Max / Published on Wednesday, 05 Aug 2020 00:47 AM / No Comments / 37 views

On this day in 1996, Olympians and spectators gathered in the Centennial Olympic Stadium for the close of the “Centennial Olympics” in Atlanta, Georgia — a celebration filled with a range of popular American music.

The closing ceremony, as with the opening ceremony, was produced by celebrated television director/producer Don Mischer, known for overseeing live coverage of the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys, Super Bowl halftime shows and other high-profile events.

The ceremony opened with the Atlanta Olympic Band, led by famed composer/conductor John Williams, performing his original work, “Summon the Heroes.” Boyz II Men sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

During the ceremony, Gloria Estefan sang “Reach,” the official theme song of the 1996 Summer Games. Stevie Wonder performed a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” And Gerogia native Trisha Yearwood sang an a cappella version of the song “The Flame” just before the Olympic flame was extinguished. 

The ceremony ended with an all-star musical tribute. Performers included Estefan, Wonder, Yearwood, Sheila E., Faith Hill, Bon Jovi, B.B. King, Wynton Marsalis, Little Richard, the Pointer Sisters, Tito Puente, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Michael Jackson.

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