In appreciation of John Barry's '007 Theme'

Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
edited July 2016 in Music Posts: 2,721
This is a tune I can't get out of my head. A Bond track with an epic scope and a Western Movie Genre quality to it. It works as a call to action for 007 and used sparingly in From Russia With Love (my favourite time the theme is applied in the series is throughout the gypsy camp fight), Thunderball - briefly during the climax, You Only Live Twice when Little Nellie springs in to action (perhaps its most fitting use considering the wide expanse of the landscape and dogfight action), Diamonds are Forever during the oil rig raid and Moonraker as bond hand glides away down the river. What is your favourite use of it? And what other scenes throughout the series would it have suited? (regardless of actual composer of that film). I always thought it was one that could be reincorporated into modern Bond adventures quite easily - alougth with a reinterpretation required probably.

Comments

  • Posts: 1,713
    Almost as iconic as the Bond theme. I like to be reminded that I am watching a Bond film. A contemporary version could easily be incorporated into the modern films. Favorite 007 theme in FRWL.
  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Posts: 3,157
    The You Only Live twice version is my favourite one. I especially love the slow arrangement at the very end of the track.
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 2,721
    I think the 007 theme could have been incorporated into the Brosnan era - particularly with such a Barry fan as David Arnold doing the majority of the scoring of his films. What I liked is that when it was used it was usually in an action sequence - but didn't sacrifice the tension. I can imagine that many composers would be tempted to ramp up the drama in those moments but instead I find the song joyous - a celebration of 007s coolness. It would have suited some of the space battles in a Moonraker, the skiing in For Your Eyes Only, the airbase assault in The Living Daylights (even though I love Hercules Takes Off on that soundtrack) and numerous Brosnan moments.
  • I've never been overly keen on the piece to be honest but my favourite versions are in FRWL and T (that's Thunderball!). To my memory, isn't the version on the Thunderball soundtrack unique in that it doe not appear in the film. It sounds like it was lifted from a different recording session to those on the soundtrack itself.
  • Love the 007 theme. Wish it would come back.
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 2,721
    Love the 007 theme. Wish it would come back.

    Yeah, it's my jam. I reckon I'd whistle it at least once a day. Usually when, like bond, I'm getting things done! (Although his actions are with significant more style than say - washing the car or cleaning the house.)

  • MurdockMurdock The minus world
    Posts: 16,340
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 2,721
    Murdock wrote: »

    Brilliant! Giving that 60s vibe!
  • MurdockMurdock The minus world
    edited August 2016 Posts: 16,340
    Murdock wrote: »

    Brilliant! Giving that 60s vibe!

    Thank you. I added it in myself. :) Here's another version incorporating the James Bond theme and a different version of the 007 theme.
  • ggl007ggl007 www.archivo007.com Spain, España
    Posts: 2,541
    Murdock wrote: »
    Fantastic! Great ending! Congratulations!
    =D>
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Please let this return some day. I am thinking it could have fit well in TLD, in Afghanistan. That was scored by Barry, so why not? Also in LTK, during the tanker chase.
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,139
    I think it's ok but not overly enamoured with it. It's more suited to the cold war era and I have a hard time imagining how it can be used contemporarily. It's going to need some inventive rearranging if we're to ever hear it again.
  • edited August 2016 Posts: 4,602
    It's just superb IMHO and no other composer has got near this. It is perfect for wide sweeping, action shots with masses going on within the one scene. I just love it and just listening to it brings back so many Bond memories. And thats what great movie music does...creates those scenes again in your imagination.
    But, I am not sure if any of the DC era action set pieces have been worthy of this great music?
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Maybe the QOS pts.
  • I've never really been a big fan of the traditional big battle arrangement tbh. It feels too triumphant to me, kills the tension a bit. When it's used in DAF for instance, it makes it feel not so much like a battle but like the good guys mere presence means they've won. I think if they were to use it again, it'd be better to use a quiet, slow paced version to emphasise tension (eg- Bond snooping around somewhere he's not supposed to be) rather than the big bombastic battle version (which I think didn't work that well in the first place and would be very out of place now).
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    I've never really been a big fan of the traditional big battle arrangement tbh. It feels too triumphant to me, kills the tension a bit. When it's used in DAF for instance, it makes it feel not so much like a battle but like the good guys mere presence means they've won. I think if they were to use it again, it'd be better to use a quiet, slow paced version to emphasise tension (eg- Bond snooping around somewhere he's not supposed to be) rather than the big bombastic battle version (which I think didn't work that well in the first place and would be very out of place now).

    This.
    Murdock wrote: »

    Kudos to Murdock for his efforts but I would reiterate what @thelivingroyale says above in that its too triumphant. The music from 00.32 to 01.49 makes it sound like Bond is just having a pleasant afternoon drive in the country and generates absolutely zero tension. It just sounds far too easy for Bond.

    Its only from 02.11 where the TB final battle section kicks in that it produces anything approaching excitement.

    Just as an aside, I'm no Bond soundtrack expert like a lot of you on here so might be talking bollocks, but does this separate ballsy TB section even warrant being called the '007 Theme'?

    To the best of my knowledge the '007 Theme' was written for FRWL and that section does not appear. Nor does it appear during '007 Theme - Album Version' on the TB OST or the reprise of the track in YOLT, DAF and MR. It is first heard in 'Street Chase' on the TB OST and then recurs during the climax of the film. I guess it shares a lot of the DNA of the '007 Theme' but it seems it was written only as part of the TB OST so I'm sceptical if using this section can be counted.

    I think the '007 Theme' from FRWL sounds far too dated for a modern Bond film whereas the frenzied TB battle section I think could be rearranged.

    Personally though I'd much sooner see a return of 'He's Dangerous'. Although it goes without saying that all of the above pisses on Newman.
  • Posts: 4,602
    "It feels too triumphant to me, kills the tension a bit. "
    IMHO for the big battle one army v another climax, there is little tension, we know whose going to win, its all about action rather than tension and this is where I would love to see a return of this theme
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 2,721
    Just saw Trainspotting 2 and guess what plays through a scene of the film? 007 Theme in a film with Bernard Lee's grandson! So excited when I heard it.
  • edited February 2017 Posts: 676
    Most modern action scoring isn't as melodic as the "007 Theme," so I'm not sure it would work over an action scene. However, I think the horn line (heard in the video below at 0:08) would work wonderfully as music for a location transition (this is where Arnold and Newman seem most comfortable incorporating melody - e.g. the second half of Arnold's "Blunt Instrument," Arnold's "Talamone," or Newman's "The Chimera"). Imagine the "007 Theme" horn line playing over a montage of Bond arriving at the airport and then driving in a new country.

  • Posts: 676
    If anyone is interested, I've rescored a scene from Quantum of Solace using Barry's "007 Theme" from Moonraker. The idea here is to use the music not for scoring action, but rather for transitioning from one location to another. I think it works better in this context, because the "007 Theme" is so unlike modern action scoring.

  • BennyBenny Shaken not stirredAdministrator, Moderator
    Posts: 14,969
    I like it @Milovy. Quick, well placed and effective.
    The OO7 theme is such a great piece, it's a real shame that it hasn't been used for 28 years. I believe it's supposedly used within the chase on ice in DAD. Though I've never been able to hear it or any variation on it. Although it is used sparingly within the series, I do feel it's a worthy secondary Bond theme, that should/ve been used a little more.
    I wonder if the car chase between Bond and Hinx in SP would've benefitted from it?
    Couldn't be any worse than what we got.
  • Posts: 676
    Cheers @Benny.

    There's also this version of the "007 Theme," where you can hear the main melody played on electric guitar (which might work better in a modern film):

  • DoctorKaufmannDoctorKaufmann Can shoot you from Stuttgart and still make it look like suicide.
    edited March 2017 Posts: 1,261
    Just saw Trainspotting 2 and guess what plays through a scene of the film? 007 Theme in a film with Bernard Lee's grandson! So excited when I heard it.

    Who is Lee's grandson? Johnny Lee Miller? There were also Bond references in the first Trainspotting movie ("Shplendid Mish Moneypenny) with Sick Boy being an ardent Bond movie fan. Liked the incorporation of 007, and liked the movie in general.
    And as of re-using 007 in other Bond movies, does anyone know the copyright situation? Does EON own the rights, or the estate of John Barry?
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 2,721
    Milovy wrote: »
    If anyone is interested, I've rescored a scene from Quantum of Solace using Barry's "007 Theme" from Moonraker. The idea here is to use the music not for scoring action, but rather for transitioning from one location to another. I think it works better in this context, because the "007 Theme" is so unlike modern action scoring.


    Looks and sounds great @Milovy ! The context is very important here - as it is one of the few times in Quantum where Bond is just chilling and enjoying the locale. While the 007 Theme is usually used in action sequences - I like what you've done here. It fits perfectly with the sweeping panoramic shots.
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 2,721
    Just saw Trainspotting 2 and guess what plays through a scene of the film? 007 Theme in a film with Bernard Lee's grandson! So excited when I heard it.

    Who is Lee's grandson? Johnny Lee Miller? There were also Bond references in the first Trainspotting movie ("Shplendid Mish Moneypenny) with Sick Boy being an ardent Bond movie fan. Liked the incorporation of 007, and liked the movie in general.
    And as of re-using 007 in other Bond movies, does anyone know the copyright situation? Does EON own the rights, or the estate of John Barry?

    Yes Johnny Lee Miller is M's grandson. I always liked the Bond mentions in the original Trainspotting. Being Scottish it would make sense there was some reverence toward Connery.

    I would assume that Barry would have the predominant rights - and they'd have a chat to EON as well (seeing as it is so closely associated with Bond). For example I know that Spielberg had to ask Cubby for the rights to use the Bond theme when he produced 'The Goonies'. (not sure if that meant he asked Norman as well?)
  • mattjoesmattjoes TINY TIM
    Posts: 6,947
    I've never really been a big fan of the traditional big battle arrangement tbh. It feels too triumphant to me, kills the tension a bit. When it's used in DAF for instance, it makes it feel not so much like a battle but like the good guys mere presence means they've won.
    Not all versions of it are particularly triumphant. For instance, in From Russia with Love, Bond Takes the Lektor mostly uses the staccato brass, and when it switches over to the violin melody, the heavy timpani and piano keep the tension going, so the suspense is always there. The more triumphant renditions I enjoy it for the reason you dislike them. If introduced at the right moment, the theme can signal the fact the good guys are finally getting the upper hand in the battle (for example, in Diamonds Are Forever). Nothing wrong with that; tension doesn't have to be defused all at the last second.

  • mattjoesmattjoes TINY TIM
    Posts: 6,947
    Milovy wrote: »
    Most modern action scoring isn't as melodic as the "007 Theme," so I'm not sure it would work over an action scene.

    This is true, but surely Bond could lead the way a bit and switch things up by using this theme once again?
  • mattjoesmattjoes TINY TIM
    Posts: 6,947
    FWIW, I put together this MIDI recreation of the Moonraker version of the 007 theme.

    filedropper.com/moonraker-boatchase

    Those brass chords at the beginning are fairly tense, when you think about it. Also, in Moonraker, the string melodies seem to "sing" more than in other Barry scores, and this piece is not the exception (listen to the second half). I assume that is because, apart from the violins and clarinets, violas are used in them. I also enjoy the high pizzicato notes in that part. The music is light-hearted, whimsical. Works for the scene.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    When Soft Cell released Soul Inside as a single in 1983, they had their cover version of You Only Live Twice as a b side. On the 12 inch version, they also had the 007 Theme. I cannot find it on Youtube, but it is available on Spotify, on an extended version of their album This Last Night In Sodom.
Sign In or Register to comment.