Favourite James Bond soundtracks


#1

Let´s continue to discuss them here.

My current top five:

  1. MOONRAKER (John Barry´s masterpiece)
  2. LIVE AND LET DIE (George Martin rising to the occasion/challenge)
  3. THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (Barry´s victory lap featuring still stellar themes)
  4. SKYFALL (Yes, Thomas Newman was a breath of fresh air)
  5. DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (Barry´s most laid back Bond score, dripping with irony)

#2

Top 3:

  1. On Her Majesty´s Secret Service
  2. The Living Daylights
  3. From Russia with Love

#3

My top ten in their order of original release:

GOLDFINGER
THUNDERBALL
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
LIVE AND LET DIE
MOONRAKER
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
GOLDENEYE
SKYFALL


#4

I wouldn´t go so far to call it one of my favourite Bond soundtracks - and on the officially released CD Arnold´s score for “DIE ANOTHER DAY” was, for my taste, a mess.

But since I got hold of the whole original score I must admit that Arnold did compose a very captivating and varied score. Something that gets lost completely on the truncated CD release.


#5

My Top 7 007 Scores:

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Octopussy
You Only Live Twice
The Living Daylights
Moonraker
Live & Let Die
Tomorrow Never Dies


#6

Top 003 Bond soundtracks:

  1. YOLT
  2. TLD
  3. OHMSS

Top 002 non-Barry Bond soundtracks:

  1. TND
  2. CR '06

#7

I’m quite partial to John Barry’s score for The Living Daylights. I just adore the themes used throughout and the heavy use of sequencers. Barry truly left Bond on a high note (pun intended). I’d put the score for OHMSS just behind it. Both are among his best work in the series.

I also love David Arnold’s work with the series. He may have leaned a little too heavy on the electronics for Die Another Day, but overall I find his scores very listenable with Tomorrow Never Dies and Casino Royale being my favorites. He’s no John Barry, but that’s not a bad thing. He’s David Arnold, and I like him a lot.


#8

How can one about getting that? Or is it even still possible?


#9

I don´t recommend any illegal activity at all.

I just got across that bootleg when I was on ebay searching for another soundtrack, and that offer was there. I was too weak to ignore it.


#10

Look around really, EBay mat be your friend on this. Arnold had two tracks not on the cd on his website if that’s still active.


#11

I agree that OHMSS and TLD are the best two. They’re incredibly consistent pieces of work that aren’t just good Bond albums, but good albums period.


#12

I agree with Sharpshooter on OHMSS. Fab score.


#13

I share the love of OHMSS, but I also have a deep appreciation for Barry’s Moonraker score. I consider that film the last of the truly “huge” Bond cinema spectacles in the vein of TB, YOLT and TSWLM. Bond adventures used to unfold on an epic scale, and that’s been lost, IMHO. Anyway, with hindsight I can see the “epic” feel to those entries was only partly because of the cinematography and Ken Adams’ ginormous sets. A lot of it is Barry’s music, which adds a majesty and sweep that elevates the proceedings to a whole new level.

Moonraker is the perfect example of this for me. EON went way out on a limb with this film taking Bond into space, and for some fans nothing could ever have made that work, but to the extent it does, it’s in no small way thanks to Barry. Don’t get me wrong, Derek Meddings was a special effects genius and his model work here holds up remarkably well – arguably better than a lot of CG that’s shown up between then and now – but like any effects of this nature, a certain amount of cooperation and suspension of disbelief is required on the part of the audience. We have to be willing to play along or it just won’t work. Barry’s score makes that much, much easier with the track “Flight Into Space,” majestic and ominous and awesome on an almost Biblical scale; it just screams “SPACE,” and it sells the whole crazy scenario. When the sun peeks around the Earth to light up Drax’s space station, the reveal is hugely dramatic. Sure, we could see the wires if we wanted to, but Barry makes us NOT want to; he makes us want to believe. This is what it looks like when a movie composer is really doing his job.

Imagine that scene without music, or better yet, with the wrong music. Compare it to the reveal of the satellite dish in Goldeneye, which despite the change in scenery and players is, at heart, the same scene: “huge, hidden structure revealed to awed 007.” It’s hard to remember if there even is any music in that scene, because if it’s there, it’s Serra’s usual mix of faint, distant bumps and crashes, which could as easily be the sound of wrenches falling off the dish as it rises. Despite his illness, Derek Meddings is still a master of his craft here, and he does a top-drawer job on the miniatures, but now he gets no support from the music, and so the impact is greatly lessened, if there’s any at all.

I’m also always fascinated by tracks like “Cable Car and Snake Fight,” which accompanied two dramatic action scenes in MR but are decidedly slow-paced and laid-back. It’s a counter-intuitive approach, and I’m hard-pressed to think of another composer who would resist the temptation to play up the action with a faster beat, or blaring horns. But it works. The funny thing is, MR was one of the first soundtracks I got as a kid (as soon as it came out) and I remember thinking, “There was a lot of action in that film! I don’t remember it being this slow!” But in the context of the film, it works.

I really think the Bond series as a whole has become more genericized over time, with less and less to distinguish it from the competition. One of the things that used to set it apart was Barry’s approach to the music, and for me, Moonraker is a terrific example.


#14

I’d agree, it is Barry’s score that elevates, and indeed makes, many sequences in the film. Even his moments of knowing when NOT to score to add tension to a scene, like Jaws attack at the parade.


#15

Without ranking them : FYEO, OHMSS,TLD,TND,AVTAK


#16

I got my copy of the expanded and remastered release of David Arnold´s full DIE ANOTHER DAY score yesterday - and man, I really cannot recommend this enough: pristine sound, fantastic music that was not on the previous album, plus many alternate cues.

If you like Bond film scores you gotta check this out!


#17

Totally agree. It’s well worth getting.


#18

I also just got this official expanded edition. I happen to have the bootleg as well, but want to support official releases. The sound is much more expansive. Included are both film versions and extended versions of many tracks. The bootleg had some of Nic Raine’s City of Prague Philharmonics tracks recorded on Silva records (GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies), as well as the logos music and Madonna’s title song.

This expanded edition is a much more rewarding listening experience. The score presentation is presented in chronological order, and then the bonus tracks. Yes, Arnold delves too much into the electronic, but you can hear hints of what was to come with his Casino Royale score. I hope they give this treatment to Arnold’s other scores like The World Is Not Enough (TND already has a score edition.)

FYI, the 3 disc version of Arnold’s Godzilla score is also worth checking out. I was listening to his Independence Day and Stargate scores before he was tapped for James Bond. If LaLaLand can one day give us a Moonraker or Man with the Golden Gun expanded release, that would be fantastic.


#19

Thunderball
For Your Eyes Only
A View To A Kill
The Living Daylights
Goldeneye
Tomorrow Never Dies
Skyfall
Spectre


#20

I agree for the love of Moonraker. It seems to be one of the entries that I personally underappreciated. The “Centrifuge and Corrine Put Down” track is an obvious favorite.

I think the tracks with Barry’s “From Russia with Love” go under the radar as well. Especially the sequences where Red Grant is involved. The “Meeting in St. Sophia”, albeit brief, is chilling and fits the character superbly.