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Posts Tagged ‘Live and Let Die’

 It was announced this week that Adele would sing the title track for the new James Bond movie Skyfall, but lets be honest who didn’t already know, it is officially the worst-kept secret in the history of secrets. Last month Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo from the BBC 5live radio movie show “Wittertainment” joined forces with BBC Philharmonic for a James Bond special where viewers were asked to vote for their favourite Bond themes.

The top three were:

  1. Live And Let Die from Live And Let Die, Paul McCartney and Wings
  2. Nobody Does It Better from The Spy Who Loved Me, Carly Simon
  3.  Goldfinger from Goldfinger, Shirley Bassey

Its hard to argue with the top three as classic Bond themes, but along with Tom Jones they are a little predicable and lets be honest the classics aren’t always as good as we remember them. Shirley Bassey’s Moonraker was a terrible song and Tom Jones’ Thunderball was lumbered with the most preposterous lyrics. The show like all discussions about classic Bond themes tnd to focus on the 60’s and 70’s but there are some more recent songs worth remembering.

A View To Kill sung by Duran Duran: The movie was terrible but the song was good and managed to be combine the elements you would expect from a Bond theme with 80’s pop.

The Living Daylights sung by A-Ha: just like Duran Duran, A-Ha nail the classic Bond combined with 80s pop.

Licence To Kill sung by Gladys Knight: Ditching the 80’s vibe and returning to a big ballad out of the Shirley Bassey school.

GoldenEye sung by Tina Turner: after a brief hiatus Bond needed a big return, and he got it thanks to Bond fans Bono and The Edge from U2 who wrote the song.

Tomorrow Never Dies sung by Sheryl Crow: I was unsure about this song when I first heard it, I thought it was trying to hard to be a Bond theme and moving away from what Crow does best, but it really has aged well and sits well with the classics.

The World Is Not Enough sung by Garbage: with soaring strings and a slow deliberate delivery from Shirley Manson that almost oozes out, the song has the Bombast that only a Bond theme can get away with.

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Talking about James Bond in last weeks Radio Times, film critic Barry Norman made the statement: Ask anybody: who is your favourite James bond? I guarantee the answer will be the first one they ever saw”. I’m not sure if I am more discerning or just awkward, but it isn’t true of me. To the best of my knowledge and memory the first Bond I saw was Roger Moore in Live and Let Die. Moore is far from my favourite Bond, but I have recently come to the conclusion that I don’t know who my favourite Bond is! For years I have always claimed it is Sean Connery with the caveat that Timothy Dalton is the closest to the character from Ian Fleming’s novels.

I hold with the popular opinion that George Lazenby was the worst Bond, and this is a great shame as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of the best Bond films despite him. He is closely followed by Roger Moore whose comic version of Bond just doesn’t work for me. He did however make some decent movies, Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me were both really good films. The Man with the Golden Gun isn’t as good but does benefit from a fantastic performance from Christopher Lee as the villian Scaramanga.

So Back to who is my favourite Bond, Sean Connery certainly had the best stories with relatively faithful adaptations of Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball. You Only Live Twice is the point where the franchise started to get silly and even became a parody of itself, it was however still a good film in its own right. Connery’s only misstep was Diamonds Are Forever that was both silly and dull.

I have already said Timothy Dalton most closely resembles the character from the books in his portrayal, but there is another actor who probably looks most like Bond, Pierce Brosnan. This may be a bit of a stretch as there is little description of Bonds appearance beyond his short black hair and a resemblance to Hoagy Carmichael. Pierce Brosnan isn’t my favourite Bond either. He is perfect for the films he made and the time they were made, but sadly most of them weren’t actually very good. After a strong opening with GoldenEye the rest of his films got progressively worse culminating with the car crash of a movie, Die Another Day that was as bad as anything Moore did.

This leaves us with two contenders: Timothy Dalton who was hamstrung by only making two appearances both of them being good but not great films, The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill. Had he made more films he could well have been my favourite Bond but for reasons to long winded and complicated to go into today he didn’t. And finally Daniel Craig, Casino Royale is certainly one of my favourite Bond films and Quantum of Solace is underrated and will probably age well, but is he my favourite? Not yet but he may well be in future, with three more movies including Skyfall due out next month, he will certainly have a chance before handing his Aston Martin and Walther PPK to Michael Fassbender, my choice for the next James Bond.

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