James Bond music

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The James Bond series of films from EON Productions has had numerous signature tunes over the years, many of which are now considered classic pieces of cinematic music. The best known of these pieces of music was the ubiquitous "James Bond Theme." Many other pieces of instrumental music have also become identified with the series, such as "The 007 Theme", "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", and various theme songs such as Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger" and "Diamonds Are Forever", Nancy Sinatra's "You Only Live Twice", Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die", Tina Turner's "Goldeneye", Carly Simon's "Nobody Does it Better" (from The Spy Who Loved Me), Sheena Easton's "For Your Eyes Only" and Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill".


[edit] 007

"007" (sometimes referred to as "The 007 Theme"), is an adventure theme composed by John Barry in 1963 for the Bond film, From Russia with Love.

It became a secondary Bond theme, being used in quite a few Bond movies, primarily during action scenes. Here are its most notable appearances:

The theme has not been featured in its entirety in a Bond movie since its use in "Moonraker".

This piece of music was also used by Philadelphia television station KYW-TV as the theme music for its evening news program.

The anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion later adapted and modified the theme as part of its soundtrack

[edit] "Suspense" Motif

Like John Barry, David Arnold has left his own mark in the music of James Bond. In this case, he has established what can be called the "suspense motif", which can be heard in most of the Bond movies he has scored, starting with The World Is Not Enough. It is usually orchestrated with piano trills, high strings, horns, blaring trumpets, an underlying snare drum, and sometimes accompanied by synthesized sounds. This motif can be heard in:

[edit] Composers

The biggest contribution to the James Bond series, save for the "James Bond Theme", are works from John Barry. In addition to his uncredited contribution to Dr. No, Barry composed eleven Bond soundtracks and is credited with the creation of "007" (dominated by brass and percussion) and the popular orchestral theme On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Next to Barry, David Arnold is the series' most regular composer. He has composed the score for four James Bond films in succession, from Tomorrow Never Dies to the series' most recent entry, Casino Royale. His Barry-esque orchestrations combined with electronic rhythm elements gave the Brosnan era its musical identity.

Other major composers and record-producers include George Martin, Bill Conti, Michael Kamen, Marvin Hamlisch and Eric Serra.

[edit] Main title themes

The James Bond film franchise is notable for its distinctive theme songs, often performed by the top singers of the day. Some themes have been more popular than others - Sheena Easton's performance of Bill Conti's "For Your Eyes Only" received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song, Duran Duran and John Barry's "A View To A Kill" topped the singles charts in America (the only Bond theme to hit #1), whereas Madonna's theme for "Die Another Day", despite being the best-selling Bond theme in nearly 20 years, was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song (2002) in addition to a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

The main theme for Dr. No is the "James Bond Theme," although the opening credits also include an untitled bongo interlude, and concludes with a vocal Calypso-flavored rendition of "Three Blind Mice" titled "Kingston Calypso" that sets the scene and is repeated throughout the film. Because of this, Dr. No is the only film to have two opening themes.

Several of the later films have alternative theme songs, often during the closing credits. The Living Daylights (1987) featured The Pretenders performing "If There Was A Man," composed by John Barry with Chrissie Hynde. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) included k.d. lang's "Surrender" during the closing credits, a song which was originally proposed by composer David Arnold to be the title sequence theme instead of the Sheryl Crow title song, but was replaced when the producers wanted a bigger name for the song. The "Surrender" theme is heard throughout the score while the melody of Sheryl Crow's song is not used again during the film.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) featured an instrumental theme tune, something which remains unique amongst the post-From Russia With Love Bond films, and included a vocal theme in the form of Louis Armstrong's performance of "We Have All the Time in the World", written by John Barry and Hal David.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), For Your Eyes Only (1981) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) each resulted in alternative theme songs which were submitted to the producers, but never used. Alice Cooper's alternative theme for The Man with the Golden Gun appeared on his 1973 album Muscle of Love while the Blondie version of For Your Eyes Only can be found on 1982's The Hunter. Several artists, some of them already involved with David Arnold's Shaken and Stirred Bond compilation project, were asked to submit theme songs for Tomorrow Never Dies. Pulp's "Tomorrow Never Lies" – dating from a time when this was the film's title – was released as a b-side on their 1997 single "Help the Aged", and on the vinyl version of their 1998 album This Is Hardcore. Another contender by Saint Etienne, entitled simply "Tomorrow Never Dies," turned up on their Built on Sand album, with the liner notes revealing that Pierce Brosnan kept the master tape of the song. Other artists who submitted Tomorrow Never Dies themes included The Cardigans and Space. Sheryl Crow's theme was ultimately used.

The originally intended theme song for Thunderball was entitled "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" a reference to a nickname given to Bond by an Italian journalist in 1962. Halfway through the scoring process, it was decided that having a title song that wasn't the name of the film would not work, so "Thunderball" was commissioned. "Mr. Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang" still plays a prominent role in the score, however, the actual track sang by Dionne Warwick was not released till the 1990s. There was also a version of Thunderball originally recorded by Johnny Cash intended for use in the film, but was dismissed in favor of Tom Jones. Cash's version of the song can be found on some compilation cds of Cash's music.

Welsh singer Shirley Bassey has performed the most Bond themes – she recorded the themes to Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker. Bassey also recorded her own version of "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" for Thunderball, but her version was replaced by Dionne Warwick's rendition. Likewise, Bassey's original recording wasn't released until 1992 where both vocal renditions finally found their way onto a collector's CD set.

An alternative but never used title song for You Only Live Twice, sung by Julie Rogers was also not released until the 30th anniversary of the cinematic James Bond and can only be found on this aforementioned CD.

Film Year Score composer Title song Composed by Performed by
Dr. No 1962 Monty Norman "The James Bond Theme"
"Kingston Calypso"
Monty Norman John Barry orchestra
Monty Norman orchestra
From Russia with Love 1963 John Barry "From Russia with Love" Lionel Bart John Barry orchestra

Sung by Matt Monro

Goldfinger 1964 John Barry "Goldfinger" Leslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley
John Barry
Shirley Bassey
Thunderball 1965 John Barry "Thunderball" John Barry
Don Black
Tom Jones1
You Only Live Twice 1967 John Barry "You Only Live Twice" Leslie Bricusse
John Barry
Nancy Sinatra2
On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969 John Barry "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" John Barry John Barry orchestra
Diamonds Are Forever 1971 John Barry "Diamonds Are Forever" John Barry
Don Black
Shirley Bassey
Live and Let Die 1973 George Martin "Live and Let Die" Paul McCartney
Linda McCartney
Paul McCartney & Wings
The Man with the Golden Gun 1974 John Barry "The Man with the Golden Gun" John Barry
Don Black
The Spy Who Loved Me 1977 Marvin Hamlisch "Nobody Does It Better" Marvin Hamlisch
Carole Bayer Sager
Carly Simon
Moonraker 1979 John Barry "Moonraker" John Barry
Hal David
Shirley Bassey
For Your Eyes Only 1981 Bill Conti "For Your Eyes Only" Bill Conti
Michael Leeson
Sheena Easton
Octopussy 1983 John Barry "All Time High"3 John Barry
Tim Rice
Rita Coolidge
A View to a Kill 1985 John Barry "A View to a Kill" Duran Duran
John Barry
Duran Duran
The Living Daylights 1987 John Barry "The Living Daylights" John Barry
Pål Waaktaar
Licence to Kill 1989 Michael Kamen "Licence to Kill" N. Michael Walden
Jeffrey Cohen
Walter Afanasieff
Gladys Knight
GoldenEye 1995 Eric Serra "GoldenEye" Bono
The Edge
Tina Turner
Tomorrow Never Dies 1997 David Arnold "Tomorrow Never Dies" Sheryl Crow
Mitchell Froom
Sheryl Crow
The World Is Not Enough 1999 David Arnold "The World Is Not Enough" David Arnold Garbage
Die Another Day 2002 David Arnold "Die Another Day" Madonna
Mirwais Ahmadzaï
Casino Royale 2006 David Arnold "You Know My Name"3 4 David Arnold
Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell

The unofficial main themes:

Film Year Score composer Title song Performed by
Casino Royale
(unofficial film)
1967 Burt Bacharach "Casino Royale" Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass5
Never Say Never Again
(unofficial film)
1983 Michel Legrand "Never Say Never Again" Lani Hall
  • Note 1: EON Productions intended to use a song entitled "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" by Dionne Warwick as the theme, but Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli insisted the theme song must include the title of the film. The melody of "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" remains a major component of the film score.
  • Note 2: Two different songs of this title were considered for the theme, but only Sinatra's version was used.
  • Note 3: Neither "All Time High" (Octopussy) nor "You Know My Name" (Casino Royale) features the title of its movie either in the song title or lyrics ("Nobody Does It Better" features the line "The Spy Who Loved Me" in its lyrics.)
  • Note 4: "You Know My Name" is the first main theme to a Bond film that did not appear on the movie's official soundtrack album.
  • Note 5: The film's closing credits use a vocal version of "Casino Royale" sung by Mike Redway, who remains officially uncredited.

[edit] Secondary songs

A number of Bond films include one (or more) additional songs in the soundtrack. As noted above, some of these pieces of music, such as "We Have All the Time in the World" by Louis Armstrong, have gone on to become as well-known as the main themes, while other songs remain exclusively linked to the movie in which they appear.

Film Title Year Performed by
Dr. No "Jump Up"
"Under the Mango Tree"
1962 Byron Lee and the Dragonaires
Monty Norman A
From Russia with Love "From Russia with Love" 1963 Matt MonroB
Thunderball "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" 1965 Dionne Warwick
(not included in film)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service "We Have All the Time in the World"
"Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?"
1969 Louis Armstrong
For Your Eyes Only "Make it Last All Night" 1981 Rage
The Living Daylights "Where Has Everybody Gone?"
"If There Was a Man"
1987 The Pretenders
Licence to Kill "If You Asked Me To" 1989 Patti Labelle
GoldenEye "The Experience of Love" 1995 Eric Serra
Tomorrow Never Dies "Surrender" 1997 k.d. lang
The World Is Not Enough "Only Myself to Blame" 1999 Scott Walker
(not included in film)

The unofficial secondary songs:

Film Title Year Performed by
Casino Royale
(unofficial film)
"The Look of Love" 1967 Dusty Springfield
Never Say Never Again (film)
(unofficial film)
"Une Chanson d'Amour" 1983 Sophie Della

Dionne Warwick's performance of "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" is never actually heard in Thunderball; it was originally to have been the opening credits theme, but this was changed when Albert Broccolli decreed the theme had to include the title of the film. The melody of "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" is heard throughout the film; Warwick's version was finally released in the 1990s.

The original end title theme to The World Is Not Enough was "Only Myself To Blame", composed by David Arnold and Don Black, and sung by Scott Walker, but was left out of the final film and replaced by an Arnold arrangement of the "James Bond Theme". "Blame" was, however, left on the The World Is Not Enough soundtrack album.

The soundtrack to the 1967 spoof Casino Royale also included two short comedic songs sung in a 1920s style. One led into an instrumental version of "Look of Love" and began with the line "James Bond playing at Casino Royale..."; later, this tune was reprised as "Seven James Bonds at Casino Royale" which lead into a lyrical version of the theme sung by Mike Redway that played over the closing credits.

  • Note A: According to the liner notes on the early 2000s re-issue of the soundtrack, this song was originally considered for the movie's theme song, but it was decided to commission a more action-oriented piece of music.
  • Note B: Matt Monro's vocal rendition of "From Russia with Love" is often considered the official theme song for that film, even though the opening credits use an instrumental version that also incorporates the "James Bond Theme." Monro's version isn't heard until about 15 minutes into the movie, and again over the closing titles.

[edit] Video games

With the increase in audio quality for video game consoles and personal computers, in addition to the continued popularity of computer and video games, publisher Electronic Arts has included opening themes and film-style credit sequences to some of its more recent James Bond video game spin offs.

Video game Year Score composer Title song Performed by
GoldenEye 007 1997 Graeme Norgate and Grant Kirkhope
Tomorrow Never Dies 1999 Tommy Tallarico "Tomorrow Never Dies" Sheryl Crow
The World Is Not Enough 2000 Don Veca
Agent Under Fire 2001 Don Veca
Nightfire 2002 Ed Lima "Nearly Civilized" Esthero
Everything or Nothing 2004 Sean Callery "Everything or Nothing" Mya
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent 2004 Paul Oakenfold "If You're Gonna..." Natasha Bedingfield
From Russia with Love 2005 Christopher Lennertz "From Russia with Love" (instrumental remix)

[edit] References

[edit] External links

  • montynorman.com
  • Detailed account of a court proceeding between Monty Norman and John Barry re: The "James Bond Theme", including musicological breakdowns of the theme itself.
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James Bond title themes
Official films
John Barry Orchestra "The James Bond Theme" • Matt Monro "From Russia with Love" • Shirley Bassey "Goldfinger" • Tom Jones "Thunderball" • Nancy Sinatra "You Only Live Twice" • John Barry orchestra "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" • Shirley Bassey "Diamonds Are Forever" • Paul McCartney & Wings " Live and Let Die" • Lulu "The Man with the Golden Gun" • Carly Simon "Nobody Does It Better" • Shirley Bassey "Moonraker" • Sheena Easton "For Your Eyes Only" • Rita Coolidge "All Time High" • Duran Duran "A View to a Kill" • a-ha "The Living Daylights" • Gladys Knight "Licence To Kill" • Tina Turner " GoldenEye" • Sheryl Crow "Tomorrow Never Dies" • Garbage "The World Is Not Enough" • Madonna "Die Another Day" • Chris Cornell "You Know My Name"
Unofficial films
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass "Casino Royale" | Lani Hall "Never Say Never Again"