Cinematic James Bond

The Music of James Bond Revisited

James Bond Theme – Monty Norman and John Barry
“The James Bond Theme is an instrumental tune, and the main signature theme of the James Bond films, and has been featured in every one of the “official” films since Dr. No in one form or another. The debate still rages about who actually created the James Bond Theme: Monty Norman wrote a track called “Good Sign Bad Sign” from “A House for Mr. Biswas,” while John Barry was part of The John Barry Seven and wrote “The Bees Knees,” and each influences the final product. Monty Norman has been credited with writing the music, but the song was orchestrated by John Barry, who would later go on to compose the soundtrack for 11 future Bond films. What can you say about the Bond theme? It’s going strong today, never seems dated, and is as much a part of the Bond experience as a vodka martini.”

Kingston Calypso – John Barry and Monty Norman
“For the longest time, I assumed this song was called Three Blind Mice. This song is does a great job of setting up the locale of Jamaica, the getaway of Ian Fleming, but it’s pretty forgettable, and contrasts the cold-blooded villains.”

Jamaican Jump Up – Byron Lee and the Dragonaires
“Again, sets the stage for the Jamaica nightlife. Great scene with Pussfeller walking through his club while ‘Jump Up’ has the patrons jumping in a frantic Jamaican dance. Is he voodoo possessed?”

Underneath The Mango Tree – John Barry and Monty Norman
“The only theme song that James Bond actually sings. Contrasts the murder of Professor Dent, while serves as the ‘Bond Girl’ theme. You can’t hear this song without envisioning Honey Rider emerging from the sea.”

From Russia, With Love – Matt Munro
“Musty vocals by Munro, more suitable for a cigar party. Solid theme that reeks of espionage, but not very memorable. The instrumental works with more punch!”

Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey
“A song about the villain himself, and John Barry’s personal favorite. Loud brassy vocals create possibly one of the most quintessential, recognizable Bond themes ever, and certainly screams classic Bond.”

Thunderball – Tom Jones
“Is this song about James Bond, or the villain Largo? ‘He always runs, while other walk…’ Tom Jones’ inspirational lyrics sets a trend that many other Bond performers will follow.”

Mr. Kiss-Kiss Bang-Bang – Dionne Warwick
“Originally recorded as the theme for Thunderball, and still heard throughout the score. Sizzles of “the scent and sweat and smoke of a casino” this song has the after-taste of a good dirty martini.”

You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
“Recorded by the great Nancy Sinatra, who struggled to complete the theme, elevates the film to a new level. ‘This dream is for you so pay the price.’ Like Thunderball, the YOLT theme has some great inspirational lyrics.”

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – John Barry & His Orchestra
“Top notch 007! I don’t think John Barry has ever been better than he is here, and this score sets the stage for an incredible film. Great one to sneak a listen to while flying down a ski slope.”

We Have All The Time In The World – Louis Armstrong
“Magical, poignant, and soulful! Scoring one of the few, if any, genuine romances in a James Bond film. A fitting final song for Armstrong. If I ever get married you can be sure this will be played at my wedding.”

Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown – Nina
“An oddity as a James Bond song, but lovely as a Christmas song. Sets the mood of the setting, while Bond is trying to lose himself in the happy crowd.”

Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey
“While my opinion of film hasn’t changed, my feelings on the theme has greatly softened over the years. Bassey doesn’t hold back, and brings the same gusto she brought to Goldfinger!”

Live and Let Die – Wings
“A classic! Gets away from the brassy ballads of the 60s, McCartney does the impossible by incorporating a tricky title into a fantastic upbeat song! A successful new direction, and stands up over time!”

The Man With the Golden Gun – Lulu
“Great orchestration my John Barry. Trying to put Bassey-esque vocals into a Live and Let Die style orchestration, the final product is a strange mixture. Tough title to work into a theme song, and the song it certainly in your face.”

Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon
“A classic, signature song, about the entire Bond experience. Starts softly, and builds into a powerful climax. A song I’ve rediscovered over time.”

Moonraker – Shirley Bassey
“Subtle and lush! Not sinply a re-working of Goldfinger, Bassey brings classic Bond elements to Roger Moore’s James Bond. This song pulls the reigns just when the action on screen gets too carried away.”

For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton
“A classic double-entendre; one of the better titles for a spy thriller, as well as a romantic ballad. And the only time the song’s performer appeared in the title sequence. I can listen to this anytime, as it ages well.

Make It Last All Night – Bill Conti and Rage
“Odd song with tepid lyrics, almost unfair to judge as a standalone song, the song serves as background filler for a mildly suspenseful scene.”

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