Over at Ultra Swank comes a very nice memorial post for John Barry - who will most certainly will forever be identified with James Bond. Barry arranged the theme for the first film, Dr. No, although even just saying that opens up controversy as to who actually wrote the theme.
What we can say for certain is that Barry scored 11 of the Bond films, and one of my favorites is above, his main title for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It really is one of the best of the Bond films, and unfairly gets slagged off since George Lazenby only played him once. Listen to the drama and menace of the theme, it’s fantastic. OHMSS had far more character development than any of the films until the latter-day Casino Royale came along.
In our high school marching band, the seniors got to choose the music and plan the steps for one show each year; ours was Spy Themes and we marched onto the field spelling 007. We even debated about trying to have the gun barrel hanging off the “7” like in the logo, and having one of the tuba players run out of it like it a bullet firing. That never came to pass, but the show was a tremendous success.
Years later I worked in the store at the International Spy Museum where I was hearing much of Barry’s music daily; one of the CDs in rotation was a collection of Bond themes. I still never got sick of it - those scores are legendary, effective and immortal. Here’s the James Bond Theme in honor of the late John Barry:
As Elvis once said onstage, “It will fascinate you.”
Johnny Cash - Thunderball
In 1965, Johnny Cash wrote a theme for the fourth James Bond film, Thunderball, in which he basically describes what happens in the film. It’s classic Cash, with a tight rhythm section and June vocals during the chorus. Unfortunately, the studio went with Tom Jones’ theme instead. Listen to both versions down below.