Sunday, November 12, 2006

For Your Ears Only

I might as well concede that this is going to be a week of James Bond-related posts, what with Casino Royale opening on Friday, November 17. This morning’s Weekend Edition Sunday program on National Public Radio included an entertaining segment in which movie-music buff Andy Trudeau recalled the high and low notes of Bond film title songs over the last four-plus decades.

Other than Dr. No (1962), the premiere installment of this famous franchise, which had no title theme, and its immediate successor, From Russia with Love (1963), which placed its theme at the end, Trudeau noted that every Bond flick has featured an original song of some sort to establish the mood, even if on occasion the lyrics have been somewhat nonsensical (as in the case of A-ha’s theme for The Living Daylights, 1987). Goldfinger (1964), Trudeau said, had “the song to die for,” but there have certainly been other standouts on the list, such as Tom Jones’ “Thunderball,” Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill,” and my personal favorite, Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die.” It’s also worth noting that some title songs which could have been distinctive never made it past the proposal stage, including a potentially terrific pairing of Johnny Mathis and Frank Sinatra for Moonraker (1979). Time alone will tell whether the latest musical opening, Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name,” for Casino Royale (only the second Bond song not to mention the movie’s title in its lyrics) will still be remembered five, 10, or 20 years from now.

Listen to Andrea Seabrook’s interview with Andy Trudeau here.

READ MORE:The Name is Radio, National Public Radio,” by Lee Goldberg (A Writer’s Life); “Best Bond Theme Songs,” by Jeffrey M. Anderson (Cinematical).

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