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May 31, 2005

Ian Fleming's birthday is May 28th, 1908, which is as good an excuse as any for a program of music from James Bond films (even though most of the films had nothing to do with Fleming's original novels). There's also a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, who was born on June 1st, 1926.

PLAYLIST
Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
ZBS-TV Give Us a Break Proctor and Bergman More quality programming from the Zero BS Network.
James Bond Theme James Bond Tenth Anniversary Vic Flick (bass guitar) , studio orchestra Here it is, the Monty Norman theme that has been pounded into our subconscious for the last 43 years, in its original version, from the soundtrack of Dr. No (1962).
Kingston Calypso James Bond Tenth Anniversary Studio orchestra The score for Dr. No is something of a mess. The producers thought most of Monty Norman's background music too old-fashioned for the Bond image, so it was re-edited (badly) with John Barry's arrangement of the James Bond Theme thrown in for good measure, whether it was a good fit or not.
Opening Titles From Russia with Love (OS 1963) Studio orchestra conducted by John Barry This plays behind Maurice Binder's slick opening titles, in which the film credits were projected on to the body of a belly dancer. Binder's use of sexy (and clearly undressed) women's bodies in the title sequences became the standard for Bond films from this point on - so much so that the producers of the otherwise unfunny Bond satire Spy Hard were able to get a lot of comic mileage from their parody of it.
The Golden Horn From Russia with Love (OS 1963) Studio orchestra conducted by John Barry This is a bit of pseudo-Middle Eastern music that helps set up the opening scenes in Constatinople. The recording is a bit primitive by modern standards, including a tambourine which fades in and out and a bit of sloppy horn playing.
007 Takes the Lektor Bond Back in Action City of Prague Philharmonic conducted by Nic Raine This is also from From Russia With Love, but this recording is actually better than the one on the original soundtrack, which suffers from a bit of scrappy trumpet playing.
Saturday Nite Gun Mart Give Us a Break Proctor and Bergman Where YOU are the target!
From Russia with Love From Russia with Love (OS 1963) Matt Monro, studio orchestra conducted by John Barry Unlike future Bond films, From Russia with Love held the vocal version of the main title until the closing credits.
Main Title Goldfinger (OS 1964) Shirley Bassey, studio orchestra conducted by John Barry Vocalist Shirley Bassey was also known as "Shirley Brassy" because here voice had what Anna Russell, in a different context, referred to as "a good cutting edge". She was a perfect match for the aggressive brass sounds of Barry's theme song.
Bond Back in Action Again Goldfinger (OS 1964) Studio orchestra conducted by John Barry
Thunderball Thunderball (OS 1965) Tom Jones, studio orchestra conducted by John Barry In a radio interview, Barry recalled that Jones was baffled by the lyrics for this song and wanted to know what the heck the word "Thunderball" meant, anyway. Barry's reply: "Don't worry about what it means, Tom, just sing the hell out of it".
007 Thunderball (OS 1965) Studio orchestra conducted by John Barry This is one of two themes (the "James Bond Theme" being the other) that crops up in most of the earlier film scores.
Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Thunderball (OS 1965) Studio orchestra conducted by John Barry The title was supposedly inspired by Bond's nickname in Japan. The song actually has lyrics, but they're not used in the film. The smokin' sax solo in the recording is uncredited.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Main Theme James Bond Tenth Anniversary Studio orchestra conducted by John Barry This is, as far as I know, the only Bond film with a purely instrumental (and pretty menacing) main title. It was also the first Bond film to star someone other than Sean Connery: George Lazenby. Connery would return for three more films before permanently retiring from the role.
Diamonds Are Forever - Main Title James Bond Tenth Anniversary Shirley Bassey, studio orchestra conducted by John Barry Although Barry's orchestration includes the signature four notes of the "James Bond Theme" (as do most of his Bond theme songs) and a typically ominous ending, the song works just fine all by itself.
Bond's Funeral - The Human Torpedo - Mountains and Sunsets Bond Back in Action City of Prague Philharmonic conducted by Nic Raine From You Only Live Twice (1967), the first Bond film to largely ignore the novel from which it derived its title. This would continue to be the pattern for the next three decades.
The Tanker Bond Back in Action 2 City of Prague Philharmonic conducted by Nic Raine From The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). The score is by Marvin Hamlisch - the first time John Barry hadn't been used since Dr. No. This particular cue has some virtuoso writing for the lower brasses.
Onion Radio News 37 The Onion's Finest News Reporting Doyle Redland Tobacco Executives Deny Cigarettes are Cylindrical. They also deny that cigarettes "contain things".
Arrival at Chateau Drax - Freefall Bond Back in Action 2 City of Prague Philharmonic conducted by Nic Raine From Moonraker (1979), which saw the return of Barry.
Air Bond - Necros Attacks Bond Back in Action 2 City of Prague Philharmonic conducted by Nic Raine From The Living Daylights (1987), the last film to use an Ian Fleming title (one of his Bond short stories, in this case) and also the last one to be scored by John Barry. Conductor Nic Raine also orchestrated the original score; he started collaborating with Barry in 1985, with A View to a Kill (Roger Moore's last Bond film). Timothy Dalton was Bond.
Tank Drive Around St. Petersburg Bond Back in Action 2 City of Prague Philharmonic conducted by Nic Raine From Goldeneye (1995), which marked Pierce Brosnan's first appearance as Bond. The producers had planned on using him in The Living Daylights, but contractual commitments stemming from his TV series Remington Steele and legal wrangles over who, exactly, owned the rights to James Bond kept him away from the role for another eight years.
The Indianapolis Academy of the French Accent The Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour Christopher Guest, Chevy Chase, Emily Praeger, Alice Platyen Why bother to learn the language when it's the accent that makes you sound cool?
Secret Agent James Bondstein You Don't Have to be Jewish Frank Gallop, Jack Gilford, Lou Jacobi, Joe Silver, Betty Walker, Jackie Kannon He's Agent 009.95, with a license to kill at a discount.
Theme from Johnny English Johnny English (OS 2003) Studio orchestra conducted by Edward Shearmur If this sounds familiar, it's because Shearmur is doing an obvious pastiche of Monty Norman's "James Bond Theme". The film is a mostly pretty funny parody of the Bond movies with Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean, Blackadder) as the titular English, Britain's most inept secret agent. He's out to foil the dastardly plans of Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich) and, of course, succeeds in spite of himself.
Theme from Johnny English (Salsa Version) Johnny English (OS 2003) Bond, studio orchestra conducted by Edward Shearmur The producers obviously couldn't pass up the joke of having the female British string quartet Bond play on the soundtrack of (and appear briefly in) a Bond parody. The score itself doesn't have any jokes, leaving the humor to the script and actors.
A Man for All Seasons Johnny English (OS 2003) Robbie Williams, studio orchestra conducted by Edward Shearmur No Bond parody would be complete without a title song, right?
Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend Giants of the Movies Marilyn Monroe Monroe was born on June1st, 1926 - hence the birthday tribute. This is from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, in which Monroe played Lorelei Lee. Carol Channing created the role on Broadway.
I Want to be Loved by You Giants of the Movies Marilyn Monroe This is from the legendary comedy Some Like it Hot. The song was originally a hit for Helen Kane and, later, for the cartoon character Betty Boop.
After You Get What You Want, You Don't Want It Giants of the Movies Marilyn Monroe This is from the 1954 musical There's No Business Like Show Business, a film about a theatrical family that serves mostly as a vehicle for a ton of lavish production numbers using Irving Berlin songs like this one (which was written in 1920).
The River of No Return Giants of the Movies Marilyn Monroe This is the title song from the 1954 film of the same name - one of Monroe's few Westerns.
One Silver Dollar Giants of the Movies Marilyn Monroe This is from the same film.
Marilyn Monroe Blood Brothers (OC 1998) Kiki Dee This song crops up at least three times (it only seems like more) in Willy Russell's musical, each time with different lyrics indicating changes (usually for the worse) in the fortune of the show's heroine, whose husbands and lovers are constantly comparing her (not always favorably) to Monroe. Blood Brothers is the story of twins separated shortly after birth and then driven further apart by differences in social class and education. The show's indictment of a rigid class system has made it more popular in the UK (where it originated) than elsewhere.


Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.


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