“Chariots of Fire” – The Movie, The Lyrics, The Music

It was great to see the opening of the Olympics 2012 this year, with plenty of swanky British creativity, and smart visuals going into the opening ceremony. The British have certainly pulled all the icons of British culture and tried to condense it. And that was the intention, where:

  • the stadium was envisioned to rise from the “ashes” of an old industrial site,
  • icons like Paul McCartney reminiscing about the days of the Beetles
  • actors like Rowan Atkinson playing the iconic antics of Mr. Bean
  • the theme song of “Chariots of Fire” being played.
  • The Queen and James Bond parachuting from a helicopter
  • and more …

Now, I tried to look for the lyrics to the song “Chariots of Fire” and found some interesting copyright issues. I had initially thought the music was from an old english hymn and especially since the movie “Chariots of Fire” had such strong themes about God and faith.

Apparently the theme music for the movie “Chariot of Fire” is just a tune with no lyrics, no words. Even though this tune has always been called “the song from Chariots of Fire” and without a doubt the movie made the tune popular, it has tried to dis-associate itself from the movie. This music has a name. It’s called “Vangelis”, and written by Greek composer¬† Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou. Thank you Evangelos.

Now, the only reason why this tune has some meaning to me is that its strongly associated in my mind to God and the Christian faith. It reminds me of a period of time when “Chariots of Fire” was sung in churches. Upon searching for the lyrics of that song, I found that they were apparently written by Pastor Jack Hayford in the 1980s. It is a great song, with great lyrics, and so Jack Hayford wrote to the copyright owners of “Vangelis” (the tune) to ask if the song/lyrics could be sung with the music. The answer was apparently “No”.

So what is left are 3 fragmented and excellent copyrighted pieces of work.

  1. The Movie “Chariots of Fire”
  2. The Song Lyrics “Chariot of Fire”
  3. The Music “Vangelis”

Each by itself (in my opinion) has diminished value. But when combined, its presents a strong and powerful message as intended by the creators of the movie “Chariots of Fire” and ultimately for its audience. Without the movie, the music means nothing. Without the lyrics/words the music means nothing.

So for those of you looking for the lyrics, they are attached below. Enjoy!

And for those of you who want to see the lyrics and the music united in song, please comment and petition on this post. Thanks!

Chariot of Fire
I rise up to worship,
I stand to acclaim,
The King of all Glory,
Christ Jesus, His name.
I ask you Lord Jesus,
Fulfill my desire;
Please light me and make me
A Chariot of Fire

Come ride on my life,
Lord Jesus Christ;
My King and my Master
Come ride on my life,
To this one thing
I wholly aspire.

Come rule in my heart,
Lord Jesus Christ;
My King and my Master
Come ride on my life
And I will be your Chariot of Fire.

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