We’re all familiar with the famous phrase of the suited, suave, sex machine that is 007. But what of the music that accompanies the comedic, action-packed, romance-laden, absolutely brilliant films? This article will reminisce about the Bond songs that have stayed in our heads, that we have found ourselves humming for days, and that have moved us to tears (or at the very least, to casual head bopping and foot tapping).
Film buffs, occasional cinema goers and even those who just think Sean Connery is handsome (guilty!) are familiar with the Bond theme, which was written for the first Bond film, “Dr. No” in 1962. It was performed by the John Barry Orchestra, and has since been imitated by orchestras of all shapes and sizes. I played the second violin part at the age of 14 in my school orchestra… dead cool.
It wasn’t until 1964, with Shirley Bassey’s fabulous “Gooooldfingaaaa” (or “Goldfinger”, sometimes I get carried away) for the eponymous film, that different songs began to be chosen. Ms Bassey also performed “Diamonds Are Forever”, again for the movie of the same name, in 1971. You may know this one as a sample in the Kanye West tune, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone”.
I was shocked to find out that both Tom Jones and Lulu have sung Bond theme tunes: Jones in 1967 with “Thunderball”, and Lulu in 1974 with “The Man with the Golden Gun”. I’d like to think that I might sing a theme tune for a Bond film someday, but only on the condition that they bring back Sean Connery to play 007, so I can sing “OOOOH SEAN YOU’RE SO PRETTY IN YOUR SUIT LALALALA”. It could happen.
A varied bunch of artists have performed Bond theme tunes over the years: Paul McCartney gave us ‘Live and Let Die’ in 1973, Duran Duran supplied “A View To Kill” in 1985, and A–Ha performed “The Living Daylights” in 1987. (Am I the only one who thought their only song was “Take On Me”?) Sadly, it’s been hit and miss recently. We had the fantastic “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell, of Audioslave/Soundgarden fame, for Daniel Craig’s debut as Bond in Casino Royale in 2006. However, Jack White and Alicia Keys’ “Another Way To Die” for Quantum of Solace in 2008 was met with mixed reviews. Personally, I loved it, but then again, Jack White could sing a song about cornflakes and I’d love it.
The latest film Skyfall boasts the amazing Adele on the title track. The audio has been leaked and it sounds great, which makes me think that maybe the bad run of theme tunes is about to end. Here’s hoping! Failing that, they could always bring back my babes, Sean Connery as the titular hero… I wouldn’t be paying too much attention to how good or bad the music is then.