The James Bond Theme Songs | Podcast #101

This week we’re back with our first look at the songs of Bond. Starting off with Dr. No, through to Sheena Easton’s, For Your Eyes Only.
Be warned, Tom and Chris get a little too passionate during this episode. If the sound of two grown men dry humping each other to the sound of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service might offend you, then it’s probably best to skip this one.

Also, Operation Kid Brother, Daniel Craig quits in the news, Thrilling Cities, JBR in Philadelphia & Chicago and more.

NOTE: Due to Youtube’s strict music policy, there will be no video version of this week’s podcast [Song reviews begin at: 36:46].

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  • Langford

    Hello boys, I’m only 24 minutes into this marathon podcast, but wanted to stop and mention the whole Hiddleston thing since it came up as part of the “Daniel’s done” BS news story in the Daily Mail. If I recall you’ve both seen The Night Manager series, which I just completed watching here in the States, and you both seem to wonder if perhaps Tom wasn’t quite “Bondy” enough. So, while I like his acting in TNM quite a bit, I must agree with you. There is something just quite not right as I try to imagine him as Bond. I finally settled on a single word to describe him and would like your opinion, as well as the rest of the JBR universe: “wispy.”

    It’s not just the slight frame, which perhaps could be beefed up as we’ve seen with Danny. He just seems to be a bit too boyish and young and his smile almost too big and broad. Hard for me to see him pull off the post-Brosnan, post-9/11 Bond to which we’ve become accustomed now with Craig, and I love it so I hope we don’t go backward. Can you imagine TH fighting Hinx on the train, or in the opening Madagascar chase scene stunts in CR? Too many times in TNM scenes, Tom’s face seemed to show a kind of fear and desperation instead of steady resolve. Could’ve been direction I suppose, since his character was not really a 00 type of spy. Well anyway, I could be proven wrong and if so, so be it. Would really like to hear from other fans of Bond and JBR.

    Kind regards from station A,

    • Stephen Wadsworth

      Hi Langford, I’ve got to say that IF there’s a re-casting for Bond 25 then I’d personally like to see something slightly different to Daniel’s interpretation of the character – albeit not a Roger-to-Timothy kind of gear change. I personally don’t give too much sway to an actor’s previous performances as to their suitability for Bond – after all, nothing about the Big Fry ads would make you think that George could pull off the final scene in Majesty’s the way he did!
      That being so, and from everything I’ve seen of Hiddleston, I think he could be a really good next Bond myself. He’d obviously have to lose the quiffs and curls and, as you say, bulk up a bit but I think Pierce’s time as Bond proves that with a great script most actors who look reasonably the part will pull it off and there’s no actor really that can turn a bad script into a good film. I was never dead against Daniel but I didn’t think he’d be nearly as good as he proved to be, but again a lot of that (I think) was because the story and the script for Casino… were perfect for him as a first vehicle. So, for me, I’m happy to put my faith in the producers to cast the right person, whoever that is. And they tend to make sure that a new actor’s first film is a good one too. So, whether it’s Daniel’s fifth, or a new actor’s first, either way I think we’re in for a spectacular 25th film.

      • Langford

        Good points Stephen. The decisions regarding Bond have been overall terrific for the last decade. I’m willing to trust them, too.

  • Stephen Wadsworth

    Been waiting for this for a long time (since the scores podcasts). Thanks, guys. If, in ‘Desert Island Discs’ style, I could only save one element of everything Bond – the books, the films, all spin-offs – it would be the music for me. It’s just absolutely unbeatable.
    In much the way that the movie reviews often make me notice little bits of business I’d previously missed or at least make me question opinions about the films I’ve held for about 20 years, so this podcast has made me do that with the theme songs too.
    Much like my opinion of the film itself, Goldfinger was never one of my go-to Bond songs just because everyone in the world knows it and I guess over-familiarity breeds indifference. But on a proper listen again to that song in this podcast, EVERYTHING about that song is a 10/10 with Barry’s arrangement somewhere like 15 out of 10 – from the unbelievable brass opening, to the dark strings in the middle of the song and then the interweaving of the top-line melody with the Bond theme in the final 30 seconds. Lordy, in every sense of that word! I remember Marvin Hamlisch saying that if you’re dead you’ll wake up when you hear the intro to Goidfinger! As I think was rightly said in the lost songs podcast, hearing Tony Newley’s perfectly serviceable earlier version of Goldfinger really illustrates that it was Barry’s arrangements (much like the Bond theme itself) that turned good songs into truly great songs.
    Just made me think that, like Sean in Goldfinger and Thunderball, Barry was not only at the top of his game in the mid-60s but he knew that he was too. Throw in the score to The Ipcress Flle too and of course what is probably his apex in the You Only Live Twice and then Majesty’s scores and their themes, there’s just no praise too high.
    Props to Martin and McCartney for Live & Let Die too. For the first non-Barry musical efforts since the film series had become a phenomenon, pretty top-drawer stuff.

  • GerardoValero

    I believe the new Guess the Music Cue comes from the scene where Sean Connery drowns the guard in Crab Key in Dr. No and Honey grabs her face in shock.

  • olufsphere

    Matt Monro’s voice just sends me to the stars. Modern singers could learn something about timing and phrasing. All class, no autotune! Amazing.