Friday, February 03, 2006

James Bond/007 Record Albums


Continuing yesterday's line of thought, I wanted to highlight today some of the more notable record album covers from the James Bond films.

Why? Well, I just love the art, honestly. I guess these are the same as the "posters" for the films in question, but these illustrations evidence a kind of creative fantasy vision that, frankly, I find missing from many movie posters today.

Ever notice how, following Scream (1996), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) and H20 (1998), so many movie posters, both inside and outside the genre, are just a bunch of attractive faces/heads, against a black background. It's like packaged head shots or something. I really hate that, and think it's uninventive. It's ironic that as special effects have improved and movies like Revenge of the Sith, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory show us new worlds, the movie posters have become increasingly bland.

But just look at the album cover art for the Bond flicks, going right up into the 1980s. I would love to have wall-sized posters of these beautiful pieces.

Getting back to the albums, however, it's really amazing what a consistently great job John Barry did scoring so many of the Bond films. He was truly missed on the ones he didn't do, such as Bill Conti's very cheesy 1980s score for For Your Eyes Only.

Of course, the Bond theme itself was written by Monty Norman, and has become the series' trademark just as much as the famous gun barrel opening. Let's hope neither element gets cast aside for the upcoming "re-boot" of the series, Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig.

Over the years, so many great vocalists have contributed to the Bond mystique too, from Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger), to Nancy Sinatra (You Only Live Twice), to my personal favorite of the Bond theme songs, Live and Let Die, by Paul McCartney and Wings. You've also had performances by Carly Simon (The Spy Who Loved Me), Sheena Easton (For Your Eyes Only), Rita Coolidge (Octopussy), Duran Duran (A View to A Kill) and Tina Turner (Goldeneye). Thinking of the recent Pierce Brosnan Bonds, the theme tunes have been far less memorable than I would like. And Madonna's Die Another Day? Don't get me started. I thought everything about that movie, from the soundtrack and theme song to the villain and so-called plot, was the "nadir" of the Bond series. And that's saying something, when you consider Moonraker or Diamonds Are Forever...

What's your favorite Bond theme song?

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:38 AM

    My favourite Bond theme song is Thunderball by Tom Jones! I think Tom Jones is awesome. I also love Octopussy by Rita Coolidge. I haven't cared for the Brosnan era and am glad to see it over. I think the Daniel Craig Casino Royale will be good. I just wish Tarantino could have directed it.

    -Chris

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  2. movie posters have declined...i read something tracing it back to alien. the alien poster was brilliant, but so many posters cribbed the minimalism, ironically for films that were overblown monuments to plastic cgi excess. i really love the beautiful still posters for a lot of euro sixties stuff and the comic book imagination of seventies exploitation posters, but the beauty starts to decline in the eighties.

    kanye west did a great job interpolating bassey's "diamonds are forever" in last year's great single "diamonds from sierra leone."

    i love tom jones' iconic theme for the first woody allen scripted film, "what's new, pussycat?" a comedy of excess that was influenced by the bond pictures of the sixties.

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  3. Howard Margolin3:35 AM

    There have been so many great Bond themes that it's hard to choose one. "Goldfinger" is memorable because it was the first one I ever heard. "Moonraker" is also a good melody, as is "The Man with the Golden Gun." But, as a life-long Herb Alpert fan, I may have to go with the original "Casino Royale" theme. And, despite Herb's wife, Lani Hall singing the theme song, my vote for the worst Bond score would have to be the hard-to-find (but not worth searching for) "Never Say Never Again."

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  4. Some interesting choices here. Will nobody stand up and proudly admire their love for Duran-Duran's A View to a Kill? And wasn't it A-Ha who was behind The Living Daylights?

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  5. Anonymous9:50 AM

    I will stand and declare, proudly and without irony, my adoration for A-Ha's The Living Daylights. It's one of my favorites, along with Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me and Tina Turner's outstanding Goldeneye theme. So there!

    -Tony Mercer

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  6. Tony -

    Good for you, my friend!

    I meant to say in that last comment "admit" not "admire," but it's been one of those mornings and I'm taking heavy duty flu medicine. But anyway, stand up and represent for A-Ha!!!

    Kathryn's favorite Bond tune is Carly Simon's Nobody Does It Better (from 1976's Spy Who Loved Me), so you're in good company there with that choice.

    Kathryn and I actually had our first dance as a married couple at our wedding reception to the Louis Armstrong song from On Her Majesty's Secret Service. (We Have All The Time in The World). I think that's pretty cool...

    As for the Turner tune from Goldeneye - it's definitely underappreciated, and quite good.

    And I can barely type right now...

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