Archive for the Music Category

James Bond Music in the Grammy Hall of Fame

Posted in Music with tags , , , on December 20, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

CommanderBond.net is reporting that three James Bond songs have been announced as inductees into the Grammy Hall of Fame. They are:

  • The James Bond Theme
  • Goldfinger
  • The Look of Love
  • This is a wonderful acknowledgement. The first two, in my opinion, are no-brainers. They are classics and absolutely iconic. The Bond Theme and Goldfinger have meaning beyond their song quality; they instantly create an image and atmosphere that cannot be mistaken.

    The Look of Love is a less obvious choice, but it is endemic to its era; it feels exactly like the movie, very 1960s, very mod.

    According to the Grammy organization,

    The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Award was established by The Recording Academy’s National Trustees in 1973 to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old. Inductees are selected annually by a special member committee of eminent and knowledgeable professionals from all branches of the recording arts.

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    Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

    Posted in Birthdays, Music with tags , , on December 12, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

    Today is Dionne Warwick’s 67th birthday. Not every Bond fan would know that this is a Bond birthday. Warwick recorded the Bond-theme-that-wasn’t; the original title theme for Thunderball, “Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.” The actually song “Thunderball” was a last-minute substitution.

    Here’s a terrific write-up of the whole story, with period photos and video.

    Types of Bond Songs

    Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on November 16, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

    Different people categorize the Bond songs in different ways. One person I know has broken them down by who sings them; not by the singers, but by the point of view. That is, songs sung by Bond, by the Bond girl, by the villain, etc. Other people want to categorize by musical genre; pop, rock, jazz, etc.

    Ultimately, though, I think there are only two, or perhaps three, meaningful categories.

    A Bond song is either an action song or a love song.

    The action songs, I think, are what most people consider a “real” Bond song. Starting with the James Bond Theme, Bond music moves in a thrilling way. The first real Bond title song, Goldfinger, is clearly an action song, despite the female point of view. Live and Let Die was a breakthrough as the first “modern,” rock-inflected Bond song, and it was also clearly an action song.

    From Russia With Love was the first love song-as-title song (Underneath the Mango Tree was also a love song, but most people consider it incidental music, and not a real “Bond song”). The great breakthrough love song, the love song equivalent of Live and Let Die, was obviously Nobody Does It Better. That song single-handedly shifted the tone of Bond songs from then on. Despite two strong action songs in the 1980s (A View to a Kill and The Living Daylights), the tone of Bond music was love song ever since Carly Simon did it better.

    Now, here’s where I might add a third category: Mystery song.

    GoldenEye strikes me as a mystery song. It is haunting, compelling, mysterious. The theme is almost “the enemy within,” and this is appropriate for a movie in which Bond is betrayed by a close friend. And the next mystery song is also in a movie with a betrayal theme: Die Another Day. Madonna’s song is almost impossible to categorize by Bond standards, it is haunting and bizarre. I hated it, and then I grew to love it. It’s daring and strange.

    By contrast, Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name is a disappointment. It’s a standard action song with below-standard vocals. Not a bad song, just, eh.

    What is a Bond song?

    Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

    This seems like a stupid question, but any Bond fan interested in a discussion of Bond songs actually has to ask it.

    Is a Bond song the song that plays during the title sequence? That includes the James Bond Theme, which plays during the titles for Dr. No, but most people don’t include Three Blind Mice, which also plays during that film’s titles. For myself, I’m inclined not to include the Bond Theme, since it’s in all the movies, whereas all other Bond songs are tied to one movie.

    Another definition is the song that Eon puts out in the hopes of charting. In that case, the Dr. No song is Jump Up Jamaica, which was a huge hit in Jamaica as a movie tie-in song.

    Thing is, if people like a song they want to say it goes on the list of Bond songs, and if they don’t, all of a sudden it doesn’t belong. In terms of mid-movie songs, obviously We Have All the Time in the World from OHMSS has to be included, right? Then why not the odious Make It Last All Night from FYEO? If closing credit songs are included, that should mean Surrender from TND and The Experience of Love from GoldenEye, but to tell you the truth, people only really want to include Surrender.

    A comprehensive list normally includes Mr. Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang, which wasn’t even in any movie, but what about well-loved covers of Bond songs, like Guns n Roses doing Live and Let Die?

    It’s all very confusing. Here’s what I decided. My book includes every Bond song that appears in a Bond movie (including mid-movie snippets like Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?) and closing credits songs (If There Was a Man), but not covers or extras. Except Mr. Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang, which I allow as a special exception.

    See all that? And I haven’t even discussed the music yet!