Wednesday, November 7, 2012

7 Days 'Til 007: "A View to a Kill"

Hey, why is one of Jan Wahl's big-ass hats floating above the Golden Gate?
Each weekday until November 9, enjoy a post about a standout vocal theme or instrumental piece from the official Bond movies.

Duran Duran reportedly landed the gig of recording the View to a Kill theme song because of an encounter between then-Bond movie producer Albert Broccoli and Duran Duran bassist John Taylor, a fan of the Bond movies. He ran into Broccoli at a party and bluntly asked him, "When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?"

John Taylor is awesome.

Taylor's dissatisfaction with what I assume was Rita Coolidge's tepid and yacht-rock-y Octopussy theme "All Time High" resulted in my favorite vocal Bond theme and the only Bond theme that became a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit in America. Chris Cornell and David Arnold's "You Know My Name" from Casino Royale is badass and adrenaline-pumping but not exactly sexy. Duran Duran and John Barry's "A View to a Kill" is badass, adrenaline-pumping and sexy as hell.

You see, kids, there were these things called LP singles...
Taylor's pulsating bass work during "A View to a Kill" is reminiscent of the bass riffs throughout Barry's scores for On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever. If it seemed like Barry was sleepwalking through the Coolidge recording of "All Time High," he was reinvigorated by the collabo with Duran Duran, and that's evident during their song and throughout the View to a Kill score, which incorporates the song quite beautifully. Producer Mark Ronson, who almost recorded the Quantum of Solace theme with the late Amy Winehouse but had to let the project go because of Winehouse's drug problems at the time, gets a kick out of the score's use of the Duran Duran song as well.

"My favourite of [Barry's] film scores? I'd say View to a Kill--but not Duran Duran's version," wrote Ronson in NME. "I mean the original orchestral arrangement, which is just the most gorgeous thing."

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