From Jackie Chan to Kraftwerk: which artists have sung official songs for Expo?

The history of the Expo theme song spans more than five decades

Expo 2020 Dubai now has a theme song.

Released this week, This is Our Time features three generations of Arab singers, with pop-king Hussain Al Jassmi, fellow Emirati rising talent Almas and Lebanon's Mayssa Karaa teaming up for an uplifting ode to the event, which begins next Friday.

The track joins a growing number of official Expo theme songs spanning more than five decades. Over the years, stars big, small and unexpected have chimed in to perform tracks fit for the occasion.

Let's take a look at five other Expo songs released over the years

1. 'La forza del sorriso' by Andrea Bocelli (Expo 2015 Milan)

Expo Milan enlisted one of Italy’s biggest stars to sing its anthem.

While Bocelli certainly delivered the feels when it comes to this majestic number, the lyrics don't really address the event itself. What we have, instead, is another romantic ballad that celebrates "the strength of a smile".

That tenderness is finely captured in a moving video in which Bocelli performs on a rooftop with the Milanese skyline as a glittering backdrop.

2. 'City' by Jackie Chan (Expo 2010 Shanghai)

The world's largest Expo in terms of size and attendance was matched by two of China's biggest stars.

Actor Jackie Chan and pianist Lang Lang notched up a local hit with City for Expo 2010 Shanghai. The aspirational ballad takes its title from the event's theme Better City, Better Life, with lyrics imploring us to play a role in building a thriving and sustainable society.

3. 'I'll Be Your Love' by Dahlia (Expo 2005 Aichi)

The Japanese American singer Dahlia was chosen for this Expo, held in Japan's Aichi Prefecture.

While the track is a respectable ballad, it doesn't exactly spell out "Expo."

The only link to the event is the last passage of the song, which slightly evokes the event’s theme of Natural Wisdom. "But don't let your dream fall to the ground. Don't let your pain take over the sky,” Dahlia sings. “Because there is a tomorrow and I'll be there to love you.”

4. ‘Expo 2000’ by Kraftwerk (Expo 2000 Hannover)

Who better to crystallise the event's theme of Man-Nature-Technology than the pioneering electronic group that has been exploring the same subject over the course of their five-decade career.

Expo 2000 exudes the excitement, mystery and danger of Kraftwerk’s sound and, in turn, remains the coolest expo theme song to date.

5. 'Un jour, un jour' by Donald Lautrec (Expo 1967 Montreal)

For the Montreal Expo, organisers did a public call-out for the official anthem and this ditty was chosen from over 2,500 submissions.

Written by Canadian-French composer Stephane Venne and performed by Canadian singer and actor Donald Lautrec, the track – translated to Hey Friend, Say Friend – is a jazzy number with sun-kissed lyrics. "We will make you party, on an invented island," Lautrec says. "Leaving our heads all in the colours of summer."

Updated: September 26th 2021, 4:14 AM