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Reissue Theory: “James Bond 007: The Ultimate Collection”

with 12 comments

Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on classic music and the reissues they may someday see. With 50 years of on-screen action and a new film in theaters, the name is Bond…James Bond, and the music is plentiful!

What else is left to say about Ian Fleming’s blunt, British secret agent James Bond? Our 007, licensed to kill, is an international icon of print and, since Sean Connery suavely stepped into Bond’s tuxedo in 1962’s Dr. No, the big screen. Today, the 23rd Bond film, Skyfall – the third to star Daniel Craig as a rougher-hewn 007 and, by nearly all accounts, one of the greatest films in the series – opens in American theaters, guaranteeing the legacy that film producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli created a half-century ago remains as shaken (not stirred) as ever.

Bond soundtrack fans have had much to enjoy in that time period. From Monty Norman and His Orchestra’s brassy, immortal main theme (punctuated by session guitarist Vic Flick’s staccato electric guitar licks), to lush scores by John Barry, Marvin Hamlisch, Bill Conti, Michael Kamen, David Arnold and Thomas Newman, to name a few, to the 23 title themes of varying quality but with boundless cultural currency, music is as vital a part of the Bond experience as martinis, girls, cars and guns. And fans have been lucky: in the 1990s, Rykodisc acquired the rights to much of the Bond soundtrack catalogue (in most cases, controlled by Capitol/EMI). In the 2000s, Capitol itself expanded and/or remastered many of those albums anew. And compilations, from 1992’s rarity-packed double-disc The Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary Collection to this year’s Bond…James Bond: 50 Years, 50 Tracks, have been plentiful as well.

But short of another, even more comprehensive pass at expanding the soundtrack albums to completion (one that seems increasingly like a pipe dream, thanks to the climate of the industry and the varying physical and financial statuses of the scores themselves), one could certainly find worth in a multi-disc box set that would provide the definitive dossier on Bond music. With that in mind, Second Disc HQ’s latest mission file is just that – and you can expect us to talk after the jump!

Our theoretical James Bond 007: The Ultimate Collection would span four discs of various notable themes. The first is the most simple: title themes. Nearly every film has had a unique pop song attached to the stylized opening credits sequences, from traditional U.K. pop both classic (Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones) and updated (Adele) to modern British rockers (Paul McCartney & Wings, Duran Duran), sensuous American singers (Carly Simon, Tina Turner) and hard-driving U.S. rockers (Chris Cornell, Jack White). There was even that lovable Norwegian trio, a-ha, in the mix. Then, of course, there were three orchestral pieces that opened Dr. No (the traditional “James Bond Theme”), 1963’s From Russia with Love (John Barry’s medley of Norman’s theme and “From Russia with Love,” co-written with Lionel Bart) and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) (Barry, again, with a classic, urgent new theme). That sort of disc has been de rigueur for years, and would be entirely comprehensive here.

The next disc would take us into similar pop territory, but outside the confines of the title sequence. Many great tunes have been heard outside of the intros, including Matt Monro’s unforgettable vocal on “From Russia with Love,” a heartbreakingly beautiful “We Have All the Time in the World,” sung in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by an aging but spirited Louis Armstrong, or Patti LaBelle’s sultry “If You Asked Me To,” which eluded crossover hit status until an up-and-coming Celine Dion took it to the Top 5 in 1992. This disc would also include Barry and Leslie Bricusse’s “Mr. Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang,” written for Thunderball and performed by Shirley Bassey but ultimately unused.

The third disc would cover those lush orchestral scores, including various classic sub-themes written by John Barry (the pulsating “007,” gorgeous arrangements of some of his most beloved title themes and cues that integrated the infamous Bond theme). We also include a dollop of cues from the other keepers of the Bond flame. For Live and Let Die, the first Bond film to star Roger Moore in the lead, legendary producer George Martin got into rock and soul stylings for a most intriguing Bond score; likewise, Marvin Hamlisch’s score to The Spy Who Loved Me (1975) and Bill Conti’s soundtrack to For Your Eyes Only (1981) feature disco and funk arrangements to keep up with the pop styles of the time.

Michael Kamen’s score to the Timothy Dalton-era Licence to Kill (1989) was traditionally bold and brassy, while Eric Serra’s synth-driven score to GoldenEye – not a critical favorite – at least gets points for experimentation. (A chase sequence in that film was drastically rescored by John Altman to better fit the Barry tradition; that unreleased cue has been added to this disc.) David Arnold took over the baton from 1997 to 2008, and experimented with his own motifs while retaining the classic 007 sound.

Finally, the fourth disc offers up some vault gems. An alternate take on “Goldfinger” sung by lyricist Anthony Newley, the demo of “Mr. Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang,” sung by Dionne Warwick(!), and Lorraine Chandler’s alternate “You Only Live Twice” – all included on the 1992 Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary Collection and nowhere else – are resurrected here. Also included are some songs confirmed to have been recorded for title sequences but never used. Alice Cooper’s version of “The Man with the Golden Gun,” Blondie’s “For Your Eyes Only,” and unreleased tracks by Johnny Cash, Laura Branigan and Pulp are all fascinating looks at what could have been, along with an unissued demo of “GoldenEye,” sung by Tina Turner in the film but played by its writers – Bono and The Edge of U2 – on this vault gem. There’s some fun score stuff, too, including arrangements of early Bond themes by Leroy Holmes and His Orchestra for a promotional LP from the television special The Incredible World of James Bond and a new arrangement of the Bond theme featuring dueling guitar turns by Vic Flick and Eric Clapton that was cut from Licence to Kill.

All in all, we think you’d have to be a real agent of SPECTRE to not appreciate this one. Sound off in the comments on your favorite Bond musical moments – and, if you’ve the chance, what you might have thought of Skyfall! (No spoilers, please!)

James Bond 007: The Ultimate Collection (Capitol/EMI)

Disc 1: Title Songs

  1. James Bond Theme – Monty Norman and His Orchestra
  2. James Bond is Back!/From Russia with Love/James Bond Theme – John Barry and His Orchestra
  3. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey
  4. Thunderball – Tom Jones
  5. You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
  6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – John Barry and His Orchestra
  7. Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey
  8. Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney & Wings
  9. The Man with the Golden Gun – Lulu
  10. Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon
  11. Moonraker – Shirley Bassey
  12. For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton
  13. All Time High – Rita Coolidge
  14. A View to a Kill – Duran Duran
  15. The Living Daylights – a-ha
  16. Licence to Kill – Gladys Knight
  17. GoldenEye (Single Edit) – Tina Turner
  18. Tomorrow Never Dies – Sheryl Crow
  19. The World is Not Enough – Garbage
  20. Die Another Day – Madonna
  21. You Know My Name (Orchestral Mix) – Chris Cornell
  22. Another Way to Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys
  23. Skyfall – Adele

Disc 2: Bond Pop Songs

  1. James Bond Theme (Single Version) – John Barry and His Orchestra
  2. Jump Up – Byron Lee and The Dragonaires
  3. From Russia with Love – Matt Monro
  4. Mr. Kiss-Kiss Bang-Bang – Shirley Bassey
  5. We Have All the Time in the World – Louis Armstrong
  6. The Living Daylights (1988 LP Version) – a-ha
  7. Where Has Every Body Gone? – The Pretenders
  8. If There Was a Man – The Pretenders
  9. If You Asked Me To – Patti LaBelle
  10. The Experience of Love – Eric Serra
  11. Surrender – k.d. lang
  12. Only Myself to Blame – Scott Walker
  13. James Bond Theme – David Arnold vs. Paul Oakenfold
  14. You Know My Name (Main Mix) – Chris Cornell

Disc 3: Score Tracks

  1. 007 – John Barry and His Orchestra
  2. Goldfinger (Instrumental) – John Barry and His Orchestra
  3. Finding the Plane/Underwater Ballet/Bond with SPECTRE Frogmen/Leiter to the Rescue/Bond Joins Underwater Battle – John Barry and His Orchestra
  4. Mountains and Sunsets – John Barry and His Orchestra
  5. We Have All the Time in the World/James Bond Theme – John Barry and His Orchestra
  6. Bond Drops In – George Martin
  7. Bond 77 – Marvin Hamlisch
  8. A Drive in the Country – Bill Conti
  9. Bond Meets Stacy (A View to a Kill) – John Barry and His Orchestra
  10. James & Felix on Their Way to Church – Michael Kamen
  11. Run, Shoot and Jump – Eric Serra
  12. A Pleasant Drive in St. Petersburg (Film Version) – John Altman *
  13. Backseat Driver – David Arnold featuring Alex Gifford of Propellerheads
  14. Vesper – David Arnold
  15. Time to Get Out – David Arnold

Disc 4: MI6 Secret Dossier

  1. James Bond Theme – The Leroy Holmes Orchestra
  2. From Russia with Love – The Leroy Holmes Orchestra
  3. 007 – The Leroy Holmes Orchestra
  4. Goldfinger – The Leroy Holmes Orchestra
  5. Goldfinger (Alternate) – Anthony Newley
  6. Thunderball – Johnny Cash *
  7. Mr. Kiss-Kiss Bang-Bang (Demo) – Dionne Warwick
  8. You Only Live Twice (Alternate) – Lorraine Chandler
  9. Una Cascata di Diamanti (Vivo Di Diamanti) – Shirley Bassey
  10. The Man with the Golden Gun – Alice Cooper
  11. For Your Eyes Only – Blondie
  12. All Time High (Alternate) – Laura Branigan
  13. The Living Daylights (Extended Remix) – a-ha
  14. Bond ’89 – Vic Flick and Eric Clapton *
  15. GoldenEye (Demo) – Bono and The Edge *
  16. Tomorrow Never Dies – Pulp *
  17. Can’t You See My Mind – Madonna *
  18. James Bond Theme (1995 Trailer Version) – Parodi & Fair

* indicates previously unreleased track

12 Responses

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  1. I believe the Johnny Cash song was recently included on Bootleg Vol. 2. An interesting song, but I can see why it wasn’t chosen.


    November 9, 2012 at 12:25

    • Indeed, the Johnny “Thunderball” was included on his second Bootleg volume.

      Some other potential choices for inclusion on the rarities disc might be:

      – Four sketches of (yet another) “Thunderball” theme from Lionel (“From Russia with Love”) Bart, all of which recently premiered on THE GENIUS OF LIONEL BART from Sepia Recordings;

      – Johnny Mathis’ ultra-rare recording of the John Barry/Paul Williams “Moonraker” theme (first intended for Frank Sinatra) before Hal David wrote a new lyric and Shirley Bassey came on board;

      – “GoldenEye” by, of all groups, Ace of Base, reportedly pulled by Arista from consideration for the film;

      – “Tomorrow Never Dies” title song submissions by even more artists including Swan Lee, Dot Allison, The Fixx and Saint Etienne; and, of course,

      – the non-canon but still thoroughly wonderful Bacharach/David CASINO ROYALE material and the Legrand/Bergman/Bergman title song (sung by Lani Hall with trumpet contributions from Herb Alpert) to NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. I never say never, especially as both of those films are also controlled by MGM. 🙂

      Does anybody have any favorite cover recordings of Bond songs from artists NOT associated with the original films and soundtracks? Would love to hear!

      Joe Marchese

      November 9, 2012 at 13:47

      • You should get the Roland Shaw compilation “James Bond in Action/Themes for Secret Agents’ ( It has a full disc of 60s Bond covers (plus the 2nd disc contains covers of other spy movie themes)


        November 9, 2012 at 17:01

      • Blondie’s cover of ‘Goldfinger’ and Pulp’s cover of ‘All time high’ (from the David Arnold James Bond Project album ‘Shaken Not Stirred’) are recommended favourites 🙂


        May 12, 2013 at 12:38

  2. I’m still holding out for a complete box set of all the soundtrack albums, but I don’t suppose that will ever happen. As for Skyfall – if you enjoyed Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace then you will absolutely thrill to Skyfall. It’s the sort of movie that cinema was invented for, and if you don’t yet reckon that Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever then there is something definitely wrong with you! Film of the year alongside The Dark Knight Rises.


    November 9, 2012 at 16:46

    • “Film of the year alongside The Avengers.”

      There, I fixed that for you.


      November 10, 2012 at 19:08

  3. I would also add the 9 minute version of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by the Propellerheads.


    November 9, 2012 at 17:13

    • The Propellerheads’ CD single is worth picking up for David Arnold’s amazing orchestrated medley of OHMSS and Space March. Mixing out the PHs from their own song was a stroke of genius.


      November 10, 2012 at 08:08

  4. Lorraine Chandler’s alternate “You Only Live Twice” was not included on the 1992 Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary Collection. However, this did contain Julie Rogers’ version of Barry/Bricusse’s first attempt at a theme for YOLT, ultimately rejected by themselves.


    November 10, 2012 at 03:26

    • Bond completists might also want to take note of a recent Kent CD release, KENT 30: BEST OF KENT NORTHERN SOUL 1982-2012. It contains Lorraine Chandler’s first attempt at “You Only Live Twice” (the Jack Ashford/Randy Scott/Andrew Terry composition) and one preferred by Lorraine over her previously unearthed recording.

      Joe Marchese

      November 11, 2012 at 00:45

  5. There are plenty of tracks from the soundtrack albums that are still “missing”.

    Anyone know anything about the Dr No 50th Anniversary soundtrack listed on Amazon?


    November 14, 2012 at 21:12

    • I would be extremely wary of the Dr. No 50th Anniversary CD. Allegedly it’s been issued by a company using the UK’s 50-year term copyright laws (even though it won’t come into public domain until 1/1/2014) and they’ve simply added some extra tracks taken direct from the soundtrack of the film.

      I say “allegedly” but if it turns out anything on this CD has been licensed from Eon/Danjaq I shall apologise unreservedly.


      November 15, 2012 at 04:53

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