It seems that the popularity of the Beatles brand new documentary Get Back which is currently being streamed on Disney+ has many people thinking in the industry about how to compete with the massive success of the popularity of streaming channels. Right now in the middle of the new streaming wars, Apple TV has just announced a brand new documentary that will be released next year looking back at the music featured in the James Bond motion pictures. Entitled The Sound of 007, the new documentary will be featuring the many popular main theme titles to each individual movie. While the main James Bond Theme has never changed, and should never changed since it’s such an iconic theme song, every single James Bond movie being released since 1962’s Dr.No know has had a feature song placed in the credits.
As any James Bond fan already knows, some James Bond theme songs have become more popular than others. We all have our favorites as well as the opening sequences that the songs are featured in, but the one commonality that all James Bond theme songs have is that they usually feature the most popular artists or one of the most popular artist of the time period the movie comes out. Of course there have been some many James Bond movie titles that have been delayed especially in recent years. Those popular artists who were originally picked were not always the most popular artist by the time the film came out. Nonetheless, there have been some great ones.
The first official James Bond movie starring Sean Connery was released in 1962 in entitled Dr. No. That particular film featured at the time the brand new James Bond theme. The only other song in that film besides the score was the Three Blind Mice theme performed by Brian Lee and the Dragonaires. That was not much of a hit. It wasn’t until the third James Bond film entitled Goldfinger where the series found themselves with the first hit single also entitled “Goldfinger.” The song was sung by Shirley Bassey who wound up having a top 10 hit with the song in the US. Tom Jones sang the theme song to Thunderball in 1965 which was a top 40 hit in both the US and UK.
In 1967, Nancy Sinatra who was the hot singer at the time with her big hit These Boots Are Made For Walking,” sang the title song to You Only Live Twice. Louis Armstrong took a shot at the theme to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service with the song “We Have All The Time In The World which was a top 10 hit in the UK.
The producers of the James Bond films brought back Shirley Bassey for a second time in 1971 to sing the title song to the film Diamonds Are Forever. However, it was in 1973 when rock ‘n’ roll enters the James Bond world with Paul McCartney and Wings creating one of the best James Bond themes of all time with the song “Live and Let Die,” which was produced also by George Martin. Only one year after Live and Let Die was released, 1974 saw the release of The Man With The Golden Gun featuring Lulu singing the title track. That song did not do too well as it did not break onto the charts in either the US or the United Kingdom.
In 1977, the beautiful Carly Simon had a huge hit with the song “Nobody Does It Better,” written by Marvin Hamlisch for the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. Carly Simon tied Paul McCartney for the highest charting James Bond theme in the US up to that point when the song “Nobody Does It Better,” hit number two on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Shirley Bassey returned for one more final time as she sang the title track to Moonraker. In 1981, Sheena Easton was one of the hottest singers in pop world with her big hit “Morning Train.” Sheena Easton got the job singing the wonderful Bill Conti song “For Your Eyes Only.” That was one of the most interesting soundtracks ever released since Bill Conti brought his Rocky style themes to the world of James Bond. Two years later Rita Coolidge got the nod as she sang “All Time High,” for the 1983 film Octopussy.
It was in 1985 when the highest charting James Bond theme in the United States was released entitled “A View To A Kill.” That song was performed by Duran Duran and hit number one on the US Billboard top 100. In United Kingdom the song hit number two. With Roger Moore retiring hi 007 shoes, the next James Bond film The Living Daylights featured Timothy Dalton as the new 007. That film used A-ha for the title track. Sadly the song did not even chart on the Billboard top 100. The Timothy Dalton James Bond films would wind up going 0-2 on the Billboard top 100 when the next films theme song from License To Kill also failed to chart in the US. That one was sung by Gladys Knight.
The next series of James Bond films that starred Pierce Brosnan entitled Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World Is Not Enough would feature theme songs from artists such as Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow and the band Garbage. Most of them did not do too well on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it was Pierce Brosnan’s fourth James Bond film entitled Die Another Day that featured Madonna performing the title theme that would hit the top 10 on both the Billboard hot 100 and the UK top 10.
Daniel Craig would play James Bond in the next five oo7 films that were released between 2006 and most recently in 2021. Those five films would feature artist such as Chris Cornell, Jack White, and Alicia Keys, Adele, Sam Smith and Billie Eilish singing and performing the title tracks. Every single one of those theme songs broke into the top 10 in the United Kingdom while only one of them featuring Adele broke into the top 10 on the US Charts.
As you can see there is quite a history behind the James Bond themes going back all the way to the first film in 1962. We are hoping that Apple puts together a wonderful special that will take a look at all this spectacular music and all the many artists that were involved in these projects. The Beatles documentary Get Back seems to have set a higher mark now for everyone making documentaries, so we’re hoping that the James Bond franchise gets the A+ treatment.
‘The Sound of 007’ New Documentary Just Announced By Apple article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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