Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Rome, Italian Style" Track of the Day: Count Basie and His Orchestra, "007"

If Richard Pryor had starred in Blazing Saddles instead of his more studio pocketbook-friendly replacement Cleavon Little, this would be a picture of Gil Scott-Heron instead of Count Basie, which would be equally awesome.
Song: "007" by Count Basie and His Orchestra
Released: 1966
Why's it part of the "Rome, Italian Style" playlist?: It's Basie's big-band cover of the recently deceased John Barry's "007," complete with the legendary jazz pianist's trademark "plink, plink, plink" at the end (although it's actually more of a "da-dee-dee, plink, plink"). Not to be confused with the much more famous "James Bond Theme" (which was written by Monty Norman and arranged by Barry), "007" is a secondary theme for the Bond character that Barry introduced in 1963's From Russia with Love, the first film in the Bond franchise that Barry scored from start to finish, or rather, from gunbarrel to final makeout session, presumably on a raft. This North by Northwest-style, stately-sounding action motif turned up frequently during the Sean Connery era of the series--the era when the Bond installments, particularly From Russia with Love, most closely resembled North by Northwest--and rarely appeared in the series again after Connery's departure. The Basie Orchestra's rendition of "007" is taken from Basie Meets Bond, an album in which the band made its debut on United Artists Records by recording a tie-in to United Artists' biggest cash cow at the time and covering its most signature themes, including, yes, "Underneath the Mango Tree."

What's Taraji P. Henson doing on the cover of Basie Meets Bond?
Hear Basie get his plink on.

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