Thursday, October 19, 2006

The name is Barry. John Barry.

Sean e-mailed me a link to this blog post, in which we are presented the opportunity to hear the theme songs of every James Bond movie. Well, almost, anyway: "We Have All the Time in the World" is not the "theme song" to On Her Majesty's Secret Service; that would be the instrumental theme of the same name, written by John Barry. The Louis Armstrong song is a love theme that is heard over a romance montage depicting James Bond's courtship of Tracy Vicenzo, about thirty minutes into the film.

Also, I realize it's all a matter of opinion, but the poster claims that the best Bond theme is Madonna's song for Die Another Day? I like Madonna plenty, but that song was, quite simply, teh suck. But I actually have a hard time picking an actual favorite; I love just about all of those songs, excepting the ones for the Pierce Brosnan films. The World is Not Enough was an OK song, and Tomorrow Never Dies actually had two decent songs, the better of which (k.d. lang's) was relegated to the end credits so that the inferior one (Sheryl Crow's) could be on the opening credits. The songs I love best tend to have lyrics that make no sense -- what the hell does it mean to "strike like Thunderball", anyway?

You can also hear the song for the forthcoming Casino Royale there. I haven't listened to it all yet, but it's got a pretty muscular opening, and it's sung by a man, which is fairly uncommon for the Bond series.

Of course, the Bond theme songs quickly settled into a format that calls for big arrangements and big vocals, but it's a style that has many times through the years come in for rich parody. My favorite Bond-song parody comes, of course, from The Simpsons: Max Power! "He's the man with the name you'd love to touch...." (from


Sean Meade said...

i like the Madonna song, but not best. i also like the 80s songs: The Living Daylights (shades of Take on Me!) and A View to a Kill. also Nobody Does It Better.

of course, it's hard to beat the James Bond Theme itself.

but, the theme aside, my favorite is undoubtedly Live and Let Die.

that man is Chris Cornell, former lead singer of Soundgarden (eg, Black Hole Sun and I'm Goin' Hungry). unsubstantiated hearsay: he studied opera.

and, btw, that pic of you with the knife is a little scary ;-)

Anonymous said...

Another vote for Live and Let Die. I haven't heard all of them.

Jayme Lynn Blaschke said...

For Your Eyes Only. That was the last of the elegant, classic Bond themes, really (although I guess All Time High from Octopussy counts in the classic mold, I never thought it very memorable). Once they started going with the outright top-40 approach, I thought they started going rapidly downhill. Duran Duran does NOT hold up well on listening today. Not like all the Shirley Bassy and Tom Jones themes.

I had an album--vinyl album, mind you--with 13 Bond themes plus a lot of the supporting music that's familiar to any Bond fan. Tunes like "Underneath the Mango Tree" and "Three Blind Mice" from Dr. No, "Bond '77" and the Blood, Sweat & Tears instrumental from... OHMSS? Cool stuff, one and all. I just wish I could get them all in a boxed set, rather than having to pick up each soundtrack...