Dominic's Staff Pick: October 6, 2022

Hello there all you lovely Sorry Staters. How’s it going? Thanks for clicking on our newsletter and supporting us. I missed you last week as I was off sick unfortunately and feeling like complete crap. I do not do well when I get sick with flu symptoms and can barely function. Things might have been more bearable had I been able to binge watch TV and stream music etc, but last week my internet went out and couldn’t get repaired until just this past Tuesday. It was a combination of the passing hurricane and other factors that led to the delay in my being reconnected. Not to cry like a baby over first world problems, but man it sucks not having the internet. Especially when you are sick at home. It’s probably not a good thing that we rely on it so much, but that’s where we are at. Anyway, I tried amusing myself with playing records, but when you are lying sick on the couch covered in blankets and cats, getting up every fifteen minutes or so to flip a record doesn’t work. Of course, I could read a book and did try, but when I’m sick, I find it hard to concentrate and either kept having to reread the same page or nodded off. After a day or two like this, I couldn’t stand it and needed to watch a movie or something.

So, I searched my last remaining DVD archives and pulled out the collection of James Bond movies that I have. I used to have tons of DVDs and CDs, but most are now gone. Thankfully, I hung on to these classic Bond films. I have all the films starring Sean Connery and Roger Moore plus my personal favorite On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was the one-off starring George Lazenby. I f’king love everything about James Bond. Growing up when I did, the Bond films were easily one of the biggest movie series ever and each new one was a cinematic event. The older 1960s films were shown regularly on TV each year around the holidays and my Dad and I would always enjoy watching them. As a child I was a veracious reader and read all the Ian Fleming penned Bond novels. Just like the rest of the world, I had Bond fever. How could you not? To anyone of a certain age these films are almost part of our DNA now.

My Bond marathon included watching the extras that each DVD had, and I was surprised that there were a couple of mini documentaries that I hadn’t watched. Some interesting information about the making of the films and the people behind them. I also get a kick from watching the period TV and cinema ads and trailers. Takes you back.

One of the documentaries focused on the music made for the films and all those great title songs. The Bond music is great and a big part of the appeal of the films. Hard to pick a favorite really and not something I would want to be forced to do. Obviously the Monty Norman penned 007 theme is killer and all the John Barry composed music is such a part of the experience, but what made each new Bond film special were the opening titles created by Maurice Binder along with the new title song. Shirley Bassey belting out Goldfinger. Unforgettable. Nancy Sinatra singing You Only Live Twice, perhaps my favorite. Paul McCartney and Wings doing Live And Let Die, awesome.

I mentioned perhaps one my favorite of the films is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and part of the reason is the great soundtrack. The music for the ski chase scene is so good. As to is the title theme, although with this film they didn’t use a star vocal. However, Louis Armstrong sings We Have All The Time In The World, and it is used during the film. Composer John Barry states that song was his favorite too, and in no small part because it was Louis Armstrong singing and what a huge honor that was for him to have him sing a song he wrote. OHMSS also stars Diana Rigg, fresh from her stint on the classic TV spy show The Avengers. She’s great in the film and drives a nice Mercury Cougar convertible in several scenes. The car buffs amongst us always get a kick out of the cool ass cars used in Bond films.

Talking of cool cars brings me to the last of the films I watched during this recent marathon. The Spy Who Loved Me from 1977 featured a beautiful white Lotus Esprit that also doubled as a submarine in the film. Pretty cool. I have a particular fondness for this Bond film as it was the first one that I went to the cinema to see when it came out. I can remember very vividly going to the local community center in my hometown that screened films with my Dad and watching it. I didn’t have many opportunities to do cool and fun stuff with him, so this memory is a cherished one. As I was watching the film last week, I paid closer attention to the music. This score was produced by Marvin Hamlisch who gives it a sophisticated disco vibe. I didn’t care too much for the theme song, Nobody Does It Better sung by Carly Simon, although I have warmed to it over the years, but I did really enjoy the updated 007 theme titled Bond 77, that incorporates those funky disco sounds. As a piece of music, it worked well and made me pull my soundtrack LP to jam it a couple of times. For me, the best part of the soundtrack.

Not really a staff pick from me, but more a statement of love for everything James Bond and spy theme related. Over the years, I have collected the film soundtracks, but in addition, I love finding any of the knock-off records that came out in the wake of the movie success. There are tons of albums recorded by known and unknown artists all covering the Bond music in a host of different styles. There are some particularly good jazz ones out there. I probably have a good two dozen of these type of albums. Some better than others but all with something to offer. I’m always on the lookout for a new one. The most recent addition was one done by Johnny Pearson called Impressions Of James Bond that has him playing the 007 theme on piano in a jazzy style. I liked it. You can find this record in a variety of different covers and all cheaply. Most of these records aren’t expensive when you find them, and I have found most in thrift stores and record store bargain bins.

Thanks for the brief indulgence and keep an eye out for those Bond soundtracks next time you are out digging. There really is some great music to be found on them. See you next time.


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