In the midst of recording 6th album The 2nd Law, British arena rockers Muse received a phone call that would put them in front of an audience of billions. More than just part of an Olympic montage, Muse’s song “Survival” was chosen as the official theme of the London 2012 Olympics. But how and why was the anthemic song chosen? Two words: Elton John.

In an interview with L.A. sister station KROQ-FM, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy describes a surprising phone call from Elton John, who, according to Bellamy, once served as the musical director for the London 2012 Olympics before a fall-out with organizers.(Electronic group Underworld, also English, were announced as the musical directors of the 2012 Olympics back in December.)

“Well actually, believe it or not, Elton John gave us a call and wanted to write a song for the Olympics,” Bellamy explained. “At one time Elton John was actually the director of the music for the Olympics. He contacted us and we thought, ‘This is far out! We’re going to do a song for the Olympics with Elton John?!'”

Bellamy continued: “So that’s how the ball started rolling way back over a year ago. But then he [Elton] pulled out of the Olympics. He didn’t want to be involved anymore cause he fell out with the organizers so that left us with a half-baked idea. At that point we just let it go and carried on with making the album. And then the Olympics approached us again about the Ending Ceremony for us to play, and that’s when we played them that song [‘Survival’] and they said they loved it and wanted to make it an official song of some kind.”

Watch our video interview with Muse below.

The Olympics’ Closing Ceremony is expected to be even more star-studded than its Opening Ceremony, with confirmed performances from George Michael, The Who, Britpoppers Blur, pop stars Jessie J and Taio Cruz, boybands Take That and One Direction, and many more rumored. The Closing Ceremony is being touted as a celebration of British music throughout the last 50 years, a soundtrack of which will be available digitally shortly after its broadcast on August 12th.

– Jay Tilles & Jillian Mapes, CBS Local


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