It started with Goldfinger. Despite my young age (I don’t remember exactly but I was pretty young), I somehow wound up going to see a double feature of From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. And it was the coolest thing ever!! The laser beam, the Aston Martin DB5 sports car with the gadgets, the henchman Oddjob, Honor Blackman (no, I won’t use the character’s name)!! And the music! I always thought of it as a weird blend of talk show big band jazz playing a cheesy version of exotic music mixed with surf rock guitar. It was very much of it’s time yet somehow remains timeless.
For Eon Productions’ first Bond film, Dr. No, producer Albert Broccoli first contacted Monty Norman, a British theater composer. Norman recycled a tune from a shelved theatrical project but the producers felt it needed more work and hired an up-and-coming composer named John Barry to finish it. He rearranged the theme with an arrangement for his jazz group and orchestra.
“Dr No” Opening Titles
It doesn’t get better than the theme song for Goldfinger, sung by legend Shirley Bassey.
Goldfinger (Main Title)
The music became so associated with the spy film genre that it was “borrowed” by P.F. Sloan for the theme of an American broadcast of Danger Man, a British series licensed by CBS. The theme for that show became Secret Agent Man, the No. 3 hit for Johnny Rivers in 1966 (and one of the coolest songs ever IMO).
JOHNNY RIVERS – Secret Agent Man 1966
Finally we have a video by Rick Beato where he gives a great musical analysis of the James Bond Theme. I have previously written about Rick’s amazing YouTube channel (https://roymusicusa.com/2018/07/26/what-makes-this-song-great-rick-beato-videos-look-under-the-hood-of-classic-songs/) which is a goldmine of information for those who want to know how music works (my peeps!).
The James Bond Theme – The Sound of Film Noir