Sleeping With Sirens' 'Legends': The Story Behind Team USA's Olympics Song
Sleeping With Sirens singer Kellin Quinn, 30 Seconds To Mars touring member Stevie Aiello and producer David Bendeth (Paramore, Of Mice and Men, Breaking Benjamin) are feeling particularly patriotic, excited that their co-write “Legends” will be used as Team USA’s official theme song, as the athletes prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
All three, in separate conversations or correspondence with Billboard, used some variation of the word “dream.”
“It's such a huge honor to be a part of something as major as the Olympics, it honestly doesn't feel real. I think the song we've written has taken on a life of its own,” Quinn emailed, adding, “A kid from a small town [Medford, Oregon] has managed to write a song that represents the American Olympic team, dreams can come true, and we can become legends.”
The song is also the first single from the American alt-rock band’s new album, Gossip, out Sept. 22 on Warner Bros., which Bendeth produced. “Being a Brit and a Canadian, I never dreamed I would ever live in the USA and make music, let alone co-write an Olympic theme song,” Bendeth -- who was born in London in the mid-50s, emigrated to Canada in 1963, and relocated to the U.S. in 1995 -- said.
Aiello, who was born in America, also reflected on his heritage when asked by Billboard what it means to him to have one of his songs used by the U.S. Olympic team.
“Around 100 years ago my great grandfather left southern Italy at a young age in search for a better life in America,” Aiello wrote in an email. “This country afforded him the opportunity to work hard, raise a family, and eventually become a proud American citizen. When I learned that ‘Legends’ is being used to represent Team USA for the 2018 Olympics, I couldn’t help but think about my great-grandfather and how proud I'd hope he'd be if he were alive today.
“Like many immigrants of the past and present, his sacrifices aren't taken for granted. ‘Legends’ is a story about the American Dream and what is possible. “
“We can be wild/We can be free/We can be anything in life/We want to be,” begins the anthemic lyric. “We can move mountains/We can break walls/We can stand tall enough to fight/And never fall/ We can be legends after all.”
“We wanted to write a two-fold song, one that would obviously inspire people to think that ultimately in their life that they could become something great — maybe legends is far-fetched but certainly something great,” Bendeth said. “At the same time, we wanted to have an arena for the song. At the beginning, we were talking about WWE wrestling and any kind of big mainstream sports. That was the plan.
“The next thing that happened was Benji and Joel Madden from Good Charlotte who manage Sleeping With Sirens said they saw a bigger immediate picture for the song. We realized that the Winter Olympics were coming up in South Korea so we thought, ‘Let’s pitch it to them.’ Benji said, ‘Leave it to me.’”
“Legends” was already confirmed as the first single and, according to Bendeth, Benji approached the head of the Olympic Committee with his vision. “He set it up by saying, ‘You should call the preface to the Olympics The Road to Legends, and here’s your song.’ They heard it and went nuts and said, ‘Yes, this is awesome We love this.' That’s what happened.”
When the U.S. Olympic Team tweeted out the announcement that “Legends” is “our OFFICIAL song,” it added “on the road to the 2018 #WinterOlympics!”
Bendeth doesn’t have all the details this early, but believes “Legends” will be used in “all their social media.” He doesn’t know if NBC will license it in the lead up and during the televised games, which run Feb. 9-25.
“It’s going to be used all the way up through the trials to the Olympics and eventually it’s going to come down to NBC wanting to pick up the song for the Olympics and it being played through the Olympics. That remains to be seen because we haven't negotiated anything with them, but I’m sure it’s going to happen soon enough.”