Monday, October 15, 2012

The spy who spoofed me

'Enjoy your boner, dah-link. It vill be your last.'
Deadlier Than the Male
Early on in November, I'll be doing a series of posts about some of the music in the official Bond movies to lead up to the release of Skyfall, Daniel Craig's third Bond installment, which coincides with the film franchise's 50th anniversary. In the meantime, I've compiled a bunch of standout spy movie theme songs, but none of these original tunes are from the official or unofficial Bond movies. They're all from spy spoofs that either attempted to cash in on the success of the Bond movies (1967's enjoyable Deadlier Than the Male, a Bond-style reboot of British private eye Bulldog Drummond) or referenced at least one facet of that series (Robert Rodriguez's family-friendly Spy Kids flicks are loaded with gadgets like all of the Bond installments from 1963 to 2002).

It's Bikini Day here at A Fistful of Soundtracks: The Blog.
I've been looking for an excuse to post Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' theme from the obscure 1967 spy comedy Come Spy with Me, and I've finally found one. I've loved that Miracles track ever since I first heard it on YouTube while I was searching for Sammy Davis Jr.'s catchy theme from The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World because the Circus employees sang along to the Davis record in last year's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. There's one other spy movie theme that was recorded by a Motown act. It's The Supremes' theme from Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, but it's not as good as the Miracles tune.

Spotify has the Supremes track, but unfortunately, it doesn't have the Davis track (Spotify is also devoid of any themes from Get Smart or the Derek Flint and Austin Powers franchises that are to my liking). Despite the Davis tune's absence, the playlist's title is copped from one of Davis' lyrics: "He's every bit as good as what's-his-name/With a dame, any dame." "What's-his-name" refers to, of course, that baller named Bond.

Some relief now for people who hate looking at bikinis.
OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
Lalo Schifrin composed Shirley Bassey's Bond-style Liquidator theme, while Hans Zimmer composed Robbie Williams' twangy "Man for All Seasons" for Johnny English, a movie I've never seen. I wouldn't be surprised if "A Man for All Seasons" is the only good thing about Johnny English. In fact, except for The Liquidator, bits and pieces of What's Up, Tiger Lily?, Deadlier Than the Male, Fathom, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and the hilarious Black Dynamite, I've never seen any of the spy spoofs or 007 knockoffs that have themes I featured on the playlist. I'm sure they're all Oscar-caliber works.

"Every Bit as Good as What's-His-Name" tracklist
1. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, "Come Spy with Me"
2. Vikki Carr, "The Silencers"
3. Nancy Sinatra, "The Last of the Secret Agents"
4. John Dankworth, "Modesty Blaise - Main Theme"
5. Shirley Bassey, "The Liquidator"
6. The Lovin' Spoonful, "Pow" (from What's Up, Tiger Lily?)
7. The Walker Brothers, "Deadlier Than the Male"
8. John Dankworth, "Fathom's Theme" (from Fathom)
9. Steve Allen, "The Swingin' Dagger Theme" (from A Man Called Dagger)
10. Joe Simon, "Theme from Cleopatra Jones"
11. Robbie Williams, "A Man for All Seasons" (from Johnny English)
12. Alexa Vega, "Game Over" (from Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over)
13. Ludovic Bource, "Le Caire, nid d'espions" (from OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies)
14. Adrian Younge featuring LaVan Davis, "Black Dynamite Theme"

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