07/24/2012 02:09 EDT | Updated 09/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Big Bong: Big Ben to ring in the games as London welcomes the start of the Olympics

LONDON - Big Ben is going to sound bonkers on Friday.

The venerable bell is going to toll some 40 times for three minutes to celebrate the first day of the London Olympics.

Thousands of other bells are also set to chime across Britain from 8:12 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. as part of Turner Prize-winning musician Martin Creed's commission for the arts festival that accompanies the games.

Olympics organizers say Tuesday it is believed to be the first time that Big Ben has been rung outside its regular schedule since 1952, when it tolled 56 times for King George VI's funeral, once for every year of his life.

People across their country are being encouraged to take part, either with a real bell or an app created by organizers for the occasion.