Bondage – The Best Bond Songs

Bond – “Do You Expect Me to Talk?”
Goldfinger – “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.” 

I can still remember my father taking me to an early Bond movie. Maybe I was 10, 12 or so. I was overwhelmed by how cool the whole thing was – the casual elegance of Sean Connery (to this day my favorite Bond), the baccarat in the casino (no idea what baccarat was but it seemed very ‘adult’), the endless fights with international bad guys, the Aston Martin. And of course, the cooly seductive manner which had him bedding women left and right, practically falling at his feet.

I too wanted to be a spy. I wanted to drive that Aston Martin instead of the Oldsmobile I was saddled with. I wanted to fight and shoot bad guys, instead of getting in petty fights. And the girls, yes, the girls. Well, I probably did about as well as you did.

While I still like Bond as a character, I am nowhere near as enthralled as I once was. I haven’t even seen all the movies. And frankly, I don’t even know what made me think of doing a “Best of” for all the Bond songs. No clue. Just popped into my head one day.

There are, to date, 27 Bond films starting with Dr. No (1962) up to the most recent release, 2021’s No Time To Die. He’s been portrayed by seven actors: Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.

More to the point, for this post, is the incredible variety of singers who have taken on a Bond theme: Shirley Bassey (3 times), Matt Monro, Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Paul McCartney, Lulu, Carly Simon, Sheena Easton, Rita Coolidge, Duran Duran, a-ha, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, Garbage (!), Madonna, Chris Cornell (!!), Jack White, Alicia Keys, Adele, Sam Smith, Billie Eilish.

First up, what else? The Bond theme song/opening credits from Dr. No by the John Barry orchestra. “The theme, as written by Monty Norman and arranged by Barry, was described as ‘bebop-swing vibe coupled with that vicious, dark, distorted electric guitar, definitely an instrument of rock ‘n’ roll … it represented everything about the character you would want: It was cocky, swaggering, confident, dark, dangerous, suggestive, sexy, unstoppable. And he did it in two minutes.”

From there, it would be criminal not to do “Goldinger,” still maybe the Bondiest of all the Bond tunes. Composed by John Barry with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. “He’s the man, the man with the Midas touch.” Yes, indeed.

“The recording of ‘Goldfinger’ lasted all night because Barry demanded repeated takes, not due to any shortcomings in Bassey’s vocal, but musical or technical glitches. Initially, Bassey had problems with the climactic final note, which necessitated her slipping behind a studio partition between takes to remove her bra. Bassey said of the final note: “I was holding it and holding it – I was looking at John Barry and I was going blue in the face and he’s going – hold it just one more second. When it finished, I nearly passed out.””

Big, bold, brassy. Notably, Jimmy Page was a studio musician at the time. He did not play on this version but he did on an instrumental version:

The Spy Who Loved Me was released in 1977 and the (more or less) title song was written by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager. Carly Simon does the vocals on this. The interesting thing about these tunes is that most of them are pretty good songs, not all of them tunes you’d want to listen to outside the movie. This is one. No less a personage than Thom York said it was the sexiest song ever written.

Of course I’m gonna do “Live and Let Die” next. Just saw Sir Paul do it a few months back, fireworks and all. Guns ‘N Roses covered it rather poorly. I especially like Bond tunes that capture some sense of excitement.

Have you ever heard Jack White and Alicia Keys do “Another Way to Die?” I hadn’t. We’re a long way from “Goldfinger.”

I will leave you with one more. (Full list on Spotify). Skyfall was the last Bond movie I saw. Can’t remember much of what it was about other than that Bond (Craig) fell or was thrown off a train trestle to his certain death. Then showed up again in the next scene with no explanation whatsoever of how he survived. Hollywood! Vocals by Adele.

3 thoughts on “Bondage – The Best Bond Songs

  1. Good stuff. There are some great Bond songs. I also did a post on that topic in March 2020.

    In general, I tend to prefer the songs from the older Bond movies. My favorite is “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey. This also happens to be my favorite Bond picture.

    Other Bond songs I like in particular include Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die”, Tina Turner’s “Golden Eye” and Adele’s “Skyfall”. And of course the James Bond Theme!

    Like

    1. Wow, so you did. Fuck me. I even commented. I blame brain fog. I actually thought Aphoristical might have done one so I searched his site.

      I listened to all the Bond songs. None I dislike but my favorites are all on the Spotify list which include yours. Agreed about Goldfinger. Can’t beat it for that Bondy sound.

      As to movies, a little while back I decided to watch them all from the beginning. I watched Dr. No then completely forgot about it.

      Liked by 1 person

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