“Caliban’s Dream” by Underworld

What should be noted first off is that this song (“Caliban’s Dream”) was created specifically to be performed during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics – a major event which that particular year was also held in one of the most-renowned cities in the entire world, that being London. 

Secondly, as far as its title and artistic leanings are concerned, this track, as well as a significant part of the opening ceremony itself, was inspired by a Shakespearean character named Caliban. And along those same lines, thirdly this piece, by the design, sports a heavily-poetic style.

So when you combine all of the above, what we get is “Caliban’s Dream”, a tune that features some of the most exquisite lyricism you’re likely to ever come across in a contemporary song. And being that this is London and the Olympics and all, an ascertainable theme throughout is a concept akin to the entirety of humanity being one. There is also some symbolism present which, all things considered, can be interpreted in various ways.


But going back to the character of Caliban or more specifically the particular passage from Shakespeare’s The Tempest which this song was directly based on, conclusively the thesis sentiment is one of hope. 

It should be noted that originally “Caliban’s dream” was a vision that only he enjoyed within the context of a particular landmass. However, in this song, the related standard of serenity is being extended onto the entire world.

Lyrics for Underworld's "Caliban's Dream"


Underworld is an act fronted by two British electronic musicians in Rick Smith and Karl Hyde. The pair have fared better collectively than individually. Underworld thus far has 10 studio albums under its belt. A couple of these albums even broke the top 10 of the UK Albums Chart.

“Caliban’s Dream”

This particular song is not from one of Underground’s own albums. It is rather found on a double LP titled “Isles of Wonder”. The project was the official soundtrack to the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics which, as aforenoted, were held in London. As such, the official release date of “Caliban’s Dream”, via the Decca Music Group, was on 28 July 2012.

Rick Smith wrote this song. In writing it, he worked directly with higher-ups associated with the opening ceremony of the aforementioned Olympics. It was they who instructed him to emulate the works of certain poets and to also use the Survivor classic “Eye of the Tiger” (1982) as an inspiration. Amongst those aforementioned higher-ups is Danny Boyle. Danny is a noted regular collaborator of Smith who is also, interesting to note, the director of a couple of classic films, such as Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Steve Jobs (2015).

This track did well for itself chart-wise. For example, it peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart.

Featured Musicians

There are a number of featured musicians on this song, who are:

  • Dame Evelyn Glennie, a prominent percussionist from Scotland
  • The Dockhead Choir, a youth group derived from a couple of churches found in London
  • Only Men Aloud, an all-male choir that hails from Wales
  • Elizabeth Roberts, a soprano singer who is apparently based in London
  • Esme Smith, the daughter Alex Smith
  • Alex Trimble, a vocalist down with a crew from Northern Ireland called Two Door Cinema Club.
Caliban's Dream

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