V/A | Best of Bond…James Bond (Capitol/EMI)

bond sqIn honor of the 50th anniversary of the Bond film franchise, EMI is releasing a 50-track collection that includes the theme songs from all 22 Bond themes, plus the Bond theme and incidental music songs heard in many of the films.

 

It’s hard to believe it’s only been 50 years since Sean Connery first uttered the words “Bond…James Bond” on screen. Twenty-two Bond films, starring six different actors as James Bond, have been seen on the silver screen, and they’ve managed to hit just about all the notes a film can hit, from the sublime to ridiculous and quite a bit in between. Everyone has their favorite films—and their favorite Bond(s), of course—but for me, it was a dark several decades between Connery’s second retirement from the franchise and Daniel Craig’s remarkable revival of it in 2006.

The Bond franchise may have had its ups and downs over the years, but one thing has remained consistent: Each film included distinctive music that was part of the classy package Bond fans came to expect. I defy you to hear the twangy guitar of the Bond theme, premiered in Dr. No (1962), and not think of a handsome secret agent who always took his martinis shaken, not stirred. Or hear Dame Shirley Basssey invoking the name of Goldfinger and not think of Gert Frobe, a beautiful girl murdered by gilding, and a laser headed straight for Bond’s most sensitive region.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Bond film franchise, EMI is releasing a 50-track collection that includes the theme songs from all 22 Bond themes, plus the Bond theme and incidental music songs heard in many of the films. Some of the songs became worldwide hits, including “Thunderball” (Dame Shirley Bassey), “Live and Let Die” (Sir Paul McCartney and Wings), “Nobody Does It Better” (Carly Simon), and “A View to a Kill” (Duran Duran). Other artists featured in this collection include Sheena Easton, Rita Coolidge, Gladys Knight, Madonna, Marvin Hamlisch, Moby, and k.d. Lang.

Which is the best Bond theme song? According to listeners of BBC Radio 2 and Radio 5 Live, it’s “Live and Let Die.” Rolling Stone concurs, in a rare instance of cross-the-pond unanimity. For me, the best theme song is Carly Simon’s rendition of “Nobody Does It Better,” but the music that really says “Bond” to me is the Bond theme, as performed by the John Barry orchestra. Perhaps you prefer Jack White and Alicia Keys singing “Another Way to Die” or Nancy Sinatra singing “You Only Live Twice”; it doesn’t matter because they’re all on this two-CD set. This collection is a must-have for fans of the Bond franchise, and provides an interesting overview of pop music over the last 50 years into the bargain. A | Sarah Boslaugh

RIYL: Greatest Hits: Shirley Bassey; Moviola (John Barry); Shaken Not Stirred (Studio Allstars)

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