Thursday, November 1, 2012

7 Days 'Til 007: "007"

Bond just realizes the hairpiece glue he's been using is actually Preparation H that Q replaced the glue with as a revenge prank after all those years of Bond not returning his gadgets.
You know his name. You know his steez. Now get to know his jams. It's time to kick off a countdown to the American release of Skyfall, the latest official Bond installment (it's also a movie that had some trouble getting off the ground, which led to Stephen Colbert posting the following funny tweet: "The latest Bond movie has been put on hold for financial troubles. If only they had a shoe that turned into $30 million"). Each weekday until November 9, enjoy a post about a standout vocal theme or instrumental piece from the official Bond movies.

I love how John Barry's secondary theme for the Bond character--not the theme by Monty Norman that producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman hired Barry to tweak and arrange, and what a disaster that tune turned out to be--opens with seven drum beats as a nod to Bond's double-oh section number and then repeats those notes until the end. "007" first appeared in From Russia with Love (it accompanied the gypsy camp gunfight sequence and Bond's theft of the Lektor device) and was featured in four other Bond movies (thanks for the scene details, Wikipedia and 007 wikis!).

Thunderball: "007" accompanied the parade chase scene and the sluggish-as-hell underwater battle between buttloads of agents (on the film's expanded soundtrack album, the underwater mayhem cue is part of Track 17, and you can hear Track 17 during "AFOS Prime" on A Fistful of Soundtracks).
You Only Live Twice: The theme turned up when Bond piloted the mini-copter known as "Little Nellie."
Diamonds Are Forever: Check out the theme when the Sean Connery-era Bond takes on Blofeld one last time on an oil rig off the coast of Baja California.
Moonraker: After an eight-year absence, "007" resurfaced during the Amazon river chase. The theme was never again used in the series.

Not even David Arnold, a huge fan of Barry's music, re-used "007" in his Barry-influenced scores for the later Bond installments. Instead, he opted for Barry's "James Bond Is Back" fanfare from the From Russia with Love main titles and of course, "The James Bond Theme." Ryan Britt of Tor.com wonders why "007," one of his favorite tunes in the series, hasn't been used since Moonraker. He says, "It’s more heroic than 'The James Bond Theme,' and when it’s used in subsequent [post-From Russia with Love] movies, I get chills."

"007" is '60s action scoring at its classiest. The composition suggests what North by Northwest--a major influence on From Russia with Love--would have sounded like if Barry scored that film and brought his jazzy flair to the chase scenes.

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