PERFECTPLAYLIST

From Bassey and Barry to Bono and Tina, Mark Mon­a­han picks out the very best Bond themes Down­load the ul­ti­mate com­pi­la­tion. This week: James Bond songs

The Daily Telegraph - - Arts -

1 From Rus­sia With Love SIN­GLE, 1963

When United Artists rang John Barry in 1962 and sug­gested he con­trib­ute to the score for Dr No, it launched the long­est and most sym­bi­otic mu­si­cal re­la­tion­ship in screen his­tory. Hav­ing de­liv­ered his bar­relling, im­mor­tal ver­sion of Monty Norman’s theme for Bond’s first out­ing, Barry was then asked to com­pose the score for the se­quel and ar­range the new ti­tle song. Writ­ten by Lionel Bart (fresh from West End tri­umph with Oliver!) and pow­er­fully sung by bus driver-turned­crooner Matt Monro, the bit­ter­sweet bal­lad in fact plays out not over the movie’s open­ing cred­its, but its close.

2 Goldfin­ger SIN­GLE, 1964

The film that per­fected the 007 for­mula and “sound”, Goldfin­ger marked Barry’s first top-to-bot­tom Bond score, and his ti­tle song re­mains his equal favourite from the se­ries (along with the later We Have All the Time in the World). Les­lie Bri­cusse and An­thony New­ley pro­vided roar­ingly melo­dra­matic lyrics for Barry’s louche, brassy, classy mu­sic, giv­ing Tiger Bay’s own Shirley Bassey her only US Top 10 hit. Bond pro­ducer Harry Saltz­man de­clared the song the worst he’d ever heard.

3 You Only Live Twice SIN­GLE, 1967

Hot prop­erty af­ter her sin­gle Th­ese Boots Were Made for Walk­ing, Nancy Si­na­tra was in­vited by Bond pro­duc­tion com­pany Eon (“Ev­ery­thing Or Noth­ing”) to pro­vide the vo­cals for 007’s fifth ad­ven­ture. She rose to the chal­lenge like a pro, her de­liv­ery of Bri­cusse’s mys­te­ri­ous, ro­man­ti­cally carpe diem lyrics at once vel­vety, brit­tle and quite be­witch­ing, though chief lau­rels must go to Barry. His score for You Only Live Twice was his best yet, and his ti­tle song re­mains the stand­out of the en­tire se­ries, a per­fect coun­ter­point of serene melody and swirling strings that make it a gor­geous piece of mu­sic by any stan­dards.

4 We Have All the Time in the World SIN­GLE, 1969

“I said, look – you can’t use On Her Majesty’s Se­cret Ser­vice as a song ti­tle, un­less you’re go­ing to do it like Gil­bert and Sul­li­van! Let me write an in­stru­men­tal for the open­ing.” So says Barry, who, as promised, de­liv­ered an ex­hil­a­rat­ing but word­less opener for Ge­orge Lazenby’s only Bond movie. For the close, which sees 007 cradling the body of his mur­dered wife, he teamed up with lyri­cist Hal David and Louis Arm­strong, and the re­sult, ter­ri­bly poignant in the movie, also proved a fit­ting swan­song for the great singer, who died the next year.

5 Di­a­monds Are For­ever SIN­GLE, 1971

One of Barry’s main as­sets as a com­poser has al­ways been his dra­matic nous, and never more so than on this in­tro­duc­tion to Sean Con­nery’s sixth and last Eon-pro­duced Bond movie, which won him an Ivor Novello award. From the sin­is­ter, sparkling open­ing to the punchy cli­max, all his hall­marks are there: lyri­cal melodies, gen­tly propul­sive dot­ted bass fig­ure, rich or­ches­tra­tion and bold the­atri­cal­ity. It saw Bassey re­turn for her sec­ond 007 ven­ture, belt­ing out Don Black’s brazenly ma­te­ri­al­is­tic words with typ­i­cal gusto.

6 No­body Does It Bet­ter (live) SIN­GLE, 1977

By this point, Roger Moore was Bond, and tax headaches were putting the now US-based Barry out of the run­ning. In the lat­ter’s ab­sence, Eon turned to Marvin Ham­lisch (whose A Cho­rus Line was the toast of Broad­way), also en­list­ing the bur­nished vo­cal tal­ents of Carly Si­mon for the ti­tle track. Play­ing out to par­tic­u­larly fine vi­su­als by Mau­rice Binder, the re­sult, a sub­limely melodic, in­nu­endo-laden trum­pet­ing of Bond’s bril­liance, was the first 007 open­ing theme song not to be named af­ter its film, and also – per­haps harshly for Barry – the first to be nom­i­nated for an Os­car.

7 Moon­raker SIN­GLE, 1979

The Spy Who Loved Me wrapped with the words “James Bond will re­turn in For Your Eyes Only” – but af­ter Star Wars, Eon de­cided it would be more lu­cra­tive to blast 007 into space. Barry, back on the team, de­liv­ered a su­perla­tive score and a ti­tle track that’s not his most cel­e­brated, but def­i­nitely among his most beau­ti­ful. Re­turn­ing to Bond for a third and fi­nal time, Bassey injects con­sid­er­able pas­sion into this yearn­ing love song (lyrics again by Hal David), while Barry’s strings rip­ple into in­fin­ity.

8 For Your Eyes Only SIN­GLE, 1981

Few but the most die-hard disco fans would con­sider Bill Conti’s score for For Your Eyes Only a se­ri­ous ri­val to most of Barry’s, but this ti­tle track re­mains a re­spectable piece of work, full of at­mo­spher­i­cally sweep­ing synths and pret­tily sung by for­mer Royal Scot­tish Academy of Mu­sic and Drama scholar Sheena Eas­ton. (She re­mains the only per­former to ap­pear singing in the film’s open­ing cred­its.) A big hit for her, it also proved a sig­nif­i­cant step­ping stone to­wards fame in the US.

9 A View to a Kill SIN­GLE, 1985

Al­though Barry had never col­lab­o­rated with a band for a Bond song, the fastliv­ing, hy­per-suc­cess­ful Du­ran Du­ran some­how seemed a nat­u­ral choice to join him in 1985, and the re­sult re­mains by far the big­gest hit of any 007 track. Reach­ing No 2 here and the top slot in the US, it’s lyri­cally loony (“The week ends – why?/Un­til we dance into the fire”) but el­e­gantly crafted, stomp­ing along with ir­re­sistible brio. Singer Si­mon Le Bon – who one sus­pects al­ways thought he ac­tu­ally was Bond – has an ab­so­lute whale of a time.

10 Gold­enEye SIN­GLE, 1995

With Barry hav­ing bowed grace­fully out of the Bond fran­chise af­ter 1987’s The Liv­ing Day­lights (in which he also ap­peared) and Pierce Bros­nan now re­plac­ing Ti­mothy Dal­ton, Eon looked to an en­tirely new mu­si­cal team. The po­tent ti­tle song for Gold­enEye was nev­er­the­less very much in the Barry mould, writ­ten by U2’s Bono and Edge and pro­duced by Bris­tol wun­derkind Nellee Hooper, with Tina Turner do­ing a cred­itable Bassey on vo­cals and Mas­sive At­tack ar­ranger Craig Arm­strong pro­vid­ing grand, glis­sando strings – al­most (if not quite) wor­thy of Barry him­self. Buy the Per­fect Playlist from our on­line mu­sic store: tele­graph.co.uk/playlist

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