Thursday, November 8, 2012

Prepare for 'Skyfall' with new 007 music collections

Tomorrow marks the U.S. theatrical release of Skyfall. The latest and much anticipated installment in the James Bond franchise, with Daniel Craig in the starring role as Agent 007, has already sold gangbuster tickets abroad and looks to do great numbers stateside as well.

Last month, Capitol/EMI Records put out two new compilations with remastered theme songs from every 007 film since 1962. Best Of Bond… James Bond - the single CD - has those themes; the deluxe 2CD 50 Years - 50 Tracks (both also available digitally) adds score pieces by John Barry Orchestra, The George Martin Orchestra, Marvin Hamlisch, David Arnold, plus other original songs heard in the films.

Several theme songs remain enduring classics. From the 1960s, they are the iconic original main title number by John Barry Orchestra, Dame Shirley
Bassey's "Goldfinger" (who can forget that sumptous, dramatic vocal and those jarring trumpets?) and Tom Jones' "Thunderball."

Moving into the '70s, the highlights are Paul McCartney & Wings' still powerful orchestral rocker "Live And Let Die," Carly Simon's simple "Nobody Does It Better" (from The Spy Who Loved Me) and more stunners from Bassey:
the mysterious "Diamonds Are Forever" and sweeping "Moonraker."
Heading into the '80s, Sheena Easton's elegant "For Your Eyes Only," Duran Duran's exciting "A View To A Kill" (the only one to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and subject of a great music video with Simon Le Bon and company "scaling" the Eiffel Tower) and A-Ha's "The Living Daylights " definitely take the theme song cake.

As we reach the present, it's mostly average contributions from the likes of Tina Turner (despite being penned by Bono & The Edge), Sheryl Crow, Garbage, Madonna, Chris Cornell (of the recently reunited Soundgarden) and Jack White & Alicia Keys.

Nestled among instrumental scores on Disc 2 of the deluxe edition are some pleasant surprises for those who don't own all the soundtracks. Chief among them are the tropical "Under The Mango Tree" by Diana Coupland (from Dr. No), Bassey's "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" (submitted for Thunderball but not included in the film), the campy children with Nina on "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown" (from On Her Majesty's Secret Service), the jazzy "Fillet Of Soul/New Orleans/Live And Let Die" medley by The George Martin Orchestra featuring B.J. Arnau (from Live And Let Die).

Elsewhere, "Where Has Everybody Gone" and "If There Was a Man" - The Pretenders' two-fer from The Living Daylights), Moby's electronica reinvention of the original theme and k.d. lang's silky smooth "Surrender" (off Tomorrow Never Dies) are all winners.

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