James Bond theme songs and the singers who sang them

I know the topic has been covered before on DL but there is a new documentary entitled The Sound of 007 which began airing this month on Prime Video covering the 60 year history of Bond scores and title songs. Fascinating behind-the-scenes stories of how the music for each film came about and how the producers selected who would sing the title track. Interesting interviews with the singers (Lulu, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, etc.) The Bond films are the only film franchise that employs a common musical threads - sometimes just a couple of chords - running through each film.

Some excerpts:

They recount how Amy Winehouse was approached for "The Quantum of Solace" film but she was "too fragile" to complete the task and died a short time later. Jack White and Alicia Keyes were brought in at the last minute to create the featured song of the film ("Another Way to Die".) It is the only Bond duet. (White admits in the documentary "most people hated it".)

Louis Armstrong was dying in hospice when he was approached to sing "We Have All the Time in the World" for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and it was the last song he ever recorded. The song is reprised in "No Time to Die".

Sam Smith recorded his song ("Writing's on the Wall") in one take. Nancy Sinatra ("You Only Live Twice") was never able to get completely through one take and the final recording had to be spliced together from 15 takes.

by Anonymousreply 124November 9, 2022 4:18 PM

It's all just a little bit of history repeating.

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by Anonymousreply 1October 5, 2022 5:44 PM

Do you have a link to the doc, op? I am obsessed with Bond history and especially the music.

by Anonymousreply 2October 5, 2022 6:00 PM

Didn't Nancy Sinatra do one: "You Only Live Twice" ? I always got a kick out of that one - it's so over the top.

by Anonymousreply 3October 5, 2022 6:14 PM

r3 Did you even read the original post?

by Anonymousreply 4October 5, 2022 6:16 PM

R2, here is the promo for it. Check your local listings.

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by Anonymousreply 5October 5, 2022 7:19 PM

For some reason they referenced Madonna's song ("Die Another Day") buy didn't show a clip of it.

by Anonymousreply 6October 7, 2022 2:45 AM

I know it's not everyone's favorite but Tina Turner's Goldeneye is my favorite Bond song. I also really liked Garbage's "The Word is not Enough".

I love Goldfinger and Live and Let Die and all the most popular ones. But those are my two favorite.

by Anonymousreply 7October 7, 2022 3:00 AM

Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill" was one of the only good parts of that stinker.

Rita Coolidge's "All Time High" brought more class than Octopussy deserved.

And Lulu's peppy "The Man with the Golden Gun?" That movie wasn't ludicrous enough on its own?

by Anonymousreply 8October 7, 2022 3:09 AM

My favorites are "Goldfinger" and probably much to the chagrin of DL..."Skyfall".

"Die Another Day" would be an okay song if it had nothing to do with the Bond franchise. Madonna dear: YOU'RE NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR.

by Anonymousreply 9October 7, 2022 3:21 AM

The best James Bond theme song was "Moonraker" performed by Shirley Bassey . Anyone who argues otherwise has absolutely no taste in music. Believe it or not, this was my father's choice of music for his funeral.

by Anonymousreply 10October 7, 2022 3:36 AM

Oh, for fuck sake. I'll try again..

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by Anonymousreply 11October 7, 2022 3:38 AM

The Duran song is my favorite.

The only Bond song to make it to #1 on the charts.

The video was better than the movie. 😬

by Anonymousreply 12October 7, 2022 3:45 AM

"Goldfinger" is the platinum standard. It is everything you want in a Bond theme -- glamour, menace, sex and hysteria.

by Anonymousreply 13October 7, 2022 4:02 AM

[quote] The video was better than the movie.

A View To A Kill has super-fierce Grace Jones. Roger Moore should've stepped down and let some younger actor play Bond.

Grace did guest vocals for Arcadia (Arcadia was a side project from some Duran Duran members).

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by Anonymousreply 14October 7, 2022 4:52 AM

Love is required

Whenever he's hired

He comes just before he kills!

by Anonymousreply 15October 7, 2022 4:55 AM

There is this dreadful new album called "Bond 25 - Performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra". They turned most of the Bond themes into soulless instrumental tracks you can hear in a generic Hollywood Blockbuster heist movie. The only good one is the heist movie treatment of Madonna's Die Another Day.

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by Anonymousreply 16October 7, 2022 5:05 AM

Johnny Mathis was supposed to record "Moonraker." When he backed out they called Shirley. It sounds like a Johnny Mathis song.

by Anonymousreply 17October 7, 2022 5:47 AM

I thought Licence to Kill was underrated. Gladys Knight sings the hell out of it.

by Anonymousreply 18October 7, 2022 5:51 AM

k.d. lang's "Tomorrow Never Dies"

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by Anonymousreply 19October 7, 2022 5:51 AM

From Russia With Love

Nobody Does It Better

Tomorrow Never Dies

The Man With Thunderballs

by Anonymousreply 20October 7, 2022 5:55 AM

@r19, I never understood why they didn't go with "Surrender." It sounds very much like a classic Bond theme. The Sheryl Crow theme was dreadful.

by Anonymousreply 21October 7, 2022 5:59 AM

Does "Never Say Never Again" count?

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by Anonymousreply 23October 7, 2022 6:04 AM

If I have a memorial service, I want We Have All the Time in the World played because I think it would make people chuckle.

by Anonymousreply 24October 7, 2022 6:16 AM

R21 Ms. lang claims the suits told her Sheryl Crow was a hot new talent in town, and they wanted to draw teenagers who liked Crow but usually didn't like Bond. She thought it was dubious that even teenagers would pay money to see a movie just because a certain artist did the theme song. But no one told lang about the swap until she attended the premiere and saw someone else's song over the opening credits.

She didn't care that much. She got paid the same either way.

But she never did get a check from Bryan Singer's people when they ripped off "Miss Chatelaine" for the end of The Usual Suspects.

by Anonymousreply 25October 7, 2022 6:25 AM

R23, I love Lani -- "Sundown Lady" is one of my favorite LPs -- but that song is too drippy for Bond. Interesting story, another songwriter submitted the theme for "Never Say Never Again" but Michel Legrand threatened to sue if his version wasn't used. The alternate version was recorded by Phyllis Hyman, a gorgeous voice that would have been perfect for the franchise.

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by Anonymousreply 26October 7, 2022 6:40 AM

Same, r7. Turner does a good snarling, sexy classic Bond theme and Garbage's was very catchy and of it's time.

by Anonymousreply 27October 7, 2022 8:55 AM

R6 Madonna is a sweetie but always off key, the poor dear. Maybe that's why they left hers off.

by Anonymousreply 28October 7, 2022 9:19 AM

The Pretenders did two tracks for The Living Daylights. If There Was a Man + Where Has Everybody Gone?

And later Chrissie Hynde covered Live & Let Die for David Arnold's Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project.

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by Anonymousreply 29October 7, 2022 1:30 PM

Bono wrote the song for Goldeneye but told the producers he didn't want to record it for the movie. He suggested Tina. Bono sent Tina a badly recorded demo - he was hoarse and she couldn't hear the melody - and she said "What the hell am I supposed to do with this?". Bono told her "Don't worry, it will all come together when we're in the recoding studio".

by Anonymousreply 30October 7, 2022 4:16 PM

I like most of them, the only one I really hated was For Your Eyes Only. Normally I like Sheena Easton but her voice was not a good match for that song.

by Anonymousreply 31October 7, 2022 4:31 PM

Remember when Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better" was appropriated by Safeway for their advertising?

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by Anonymousreply 32October 7, 2022 6:23 PM

J'adore Yoko Ono's cover of Goldfinger.

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by Anonymousreply 33October 7, 2022 6:47 PM

R33 I don't understand it, but rather than admit that dull truth, I'm going to declare her a genius and stand in awe of her screeching.

Also, did you know her husband died forty years ago?

by Anonymousreply 34October 7, 2022 7:07 PM

R29, I like If There Was a Man

by Anonymousreply 35October 7, 2022 7:17 PM

Gold finger and Diamonds Are Forever: no discussion. Spectacular and perfect.

by Anonymousreply 36October 7, 2022 7:44 PM

Thunderball by Tom Jones, and of course Goldfinger.

by Anonymousreply 37October 7, 2022 8:57 PM

Which was the first one they let a non-Brit do?

by Anonymousreply 38October 7, 2022 9:21 PM

The "chagrin of DL" be damned, (9).,... I'm with you: It's Goldfinger & Skyfall!

Seeing Goldfinger at the theater as a 9 year old, it & the theme song made an instant imprint on me! I never expected any other Bond theme to comparably resonate with me but little did I know the treat the 2010's had in store for me with Skyfall and also with Adele's rendition of the Skyfall theme!

I have a thrilling clip of it from her special with Oprah tucked away that, via it's setting and photography, makes me long for LA! Part of the romance that's deepened for me with the Skyfall theme is because I've climbed all over the hill upon which the Griffith Observatory is mounted and also been inside the observatory itself.

Gonna go listen and take a look at it now! See the link below here and look for it at 10:05 with that first haunting "Bond" chord coming at 10:08!

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by Anonymousreply 39October 7, 2022 9:26 PM

The View to A Kill by Duran Duran is the best, because I’m very biased due to Simon LeBons hotness! That Phyllis Hyman song is great. It definitely should have been used for the film. I’m a fan of her, she was so underrated and she passed from suicide and that didn’t need to happen 😢

by Anonymousreply 40October 7, 2022 11:04 PM

R32, Carly Simon only sang the song "Nobody Does It Better", she didn't write it. It was composed by Marvin Hamlisch with lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, so they likely licensed the song to Safeway.

by Anonymousreply 41October 7, 2022 11:36 PM

R22 I agree. I still love this song. The movie and the song are both underrated.

by Anonymousreply 42October 8, 2022 1:01 AM

The lyrics are puerile but Lulu sells the shit out of it. I wouldn't dismiss her performance as "peppy."

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by Anonymousreply 43October 17, 2022 8:47 PM

Lulu is one of the great lost talents. She was fantastic, and had a lasting career, but she never quite broke through the way Carly Simon or Cher did in that era.

by Anonymousreply 44October 17, 2022 8:58 PM

Another Way to Die is without question the worst Bond song of all time. Alicia Keys can't sing. And QoS if without question the worst Bond movie. Marc Forster can't direct to spare his own life.

by Anonymousreply 45October 17, 2022 9:22 PM

Alicia Keys is a good singer. You are crazy

by Anonymousreply 47October 17, 2022 9:24 PM

KD Lang had the last good Bond song.

by Anonymousreply 49October 17, 2022 9:28 PM

[quote] Lulu sells the shit out

An ugly phrase.

by Anonymousreply 50October 17, 2022 10:03 PM

Lulu is not a good vocalist. I hate her squeak/shout/shrill voice. Very irritating on most of her songs. UK can have and keep her.

by Anonymousreply 51October 17, 2022 10:30 PM

[quote] The best James Bond theme song was "Moonraker" performed by Shirley Bassey . Anyone who argues otherwise has absolutely no taste in music.

Does that include Dame Shirley hereself, who hated the song and has never performed it in concert?

by Anonymousreply 52October 17, 2022 10:36 PM

The highest charting Bond songs according to Billboard.

1. Duran Duran - A View to a Kill. It is the only Bond song to reach #1.

2. Carly Simon - Nobody Does It Better. This #2 single was nominated for a best original song Oscar.

3. Paul McCartney & Wings - Live and Let Die. Peak position #2. The first Bond song written and performed by the same artist.

4. Sheena Easton - For Your Eyes Only. This single peaked during the fall of 1981 at #4. It remained in that position for several weeks. Nominated for a best original song Oscar.

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by Anonymousreply 53October 17, 2022 10:45 PM

Op I didn’t enjoy the doc because it spent too much time on that annoying minimally talented Billie Eilisch. Her track is definitely the weakest Bond song ever recorded.

by Anonymousreply 54October 17, 2022 10:51 PM

[Quote] Lulu is not a good vocalist. I hate her squeak/shout/shrill voice. Very irritating on most of her songs. UK can have and keep her.

And yet you enjoy Betty Davis' squeak/shout/shrill voice. Different strokes for different folks...

by Anonymousreply 55October 18, 2022 12:19 AM

Have you seen the obnoxious cow who does Lulu's PR? It's a miracle she's had a career at all.

by Anonymousreply 57October 18, 2022 12:23 AM

Lulu actually covered a Jean Carn song with Bobby Womack, giving Womack his biggest UK hit. Jean was complimentary of Lulu and Bobby's remake.

by Anonymousreply 58October 18, 2022 12:23 AM

I'll have two of those. And THREE of those.

by Anonymousreply 59October 18, 2022 12:24 AM

Source, R52? Here she is performing Moonraker at approximately the five minute mark.

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by Anonymousreply 60October 18, 2022 1:17 AM

"Moonraker" dates from around the time Bassey's relationship with the United Artists records label ended. She was rather at sea for much of the subsequent decade. She even resorted to singing Bond Themes over cheap, Casio keyboard type backings.

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by Anonymousreply 61October 18, 2022 1:19 AM

Sheena Easton is the only theme singer to appear on camera.

by Anonymousreply 62October 18, 2022 1:26 AM

As pretty as Sheena was, it should have been Debbie Harry!

by Anonymousreply 63October 18, 2022 1:27 AM

Debbie is an icon. Sheen Easton sang a song tossed off by an icon.

by Anonymousreply 65October 18, 2022 2:43 AM

Bore us with your Kelly Clarkson opinions, r65!

by Anonymousreply 67October 18, 2022 2:51 AM

The producers decided to not go with Blondie regardless of their music Sheena Easton was suggested by United Artists and after an in person meeting with the film’s producers and Bill Conti was selected to sing a new song written by Bill Conti. They asked her to appear in the opening credits because of her striking good looks.

by Anonymousreply 68October 18, 2022 2:53 AM

No. It was Maurice Binder's idea.

by Anonymousreply 69October 18, 2022 2:55 AM

The outcome was the same you moron. Go fuck your self

by Anonymousreply 70October 18, 2022 2:57 AM

If you don't know the details, don't "share."

by Anonymousreply 71October 18, 2022 2:58 AM

And Sheena's always been pretty shrill up top...

by Anonymousreply 72October 18, 2022 2:58 AM

All sore losing stans are headed to the toilet

by Anonymousreply 73October 18, 2022 3:00 AM

Btw…. Debbie Harry not Sheena Easton would give you a piece of corn out of their shit r65 r67

by Anonymousreply 74October 18, 2022 3:04 AM

I thought “Thunderball” was sung by Miss Sarah Vaughan the first time I heard it.

by Anonymousreply 75October 18, 2022 3:04 AM

R6, Madonna owns the rights to her music catalogue and probably charges a lot for just a snippet. The documentary producers probably deemed it not worth the trouble.

by Anonymousreply 79October 18, 2022 3:39 AM

Top 5 Gold Standard bond songs

Live and Let Die, Nobody does it better You Only live twice Goldfinger A view to a kill

Plus obviously the killer Bond theme

by Anonymousreply 81October 18, 2022 4:56 AM

What about the 007 Theme?

by Anonymousreply 82October 18, 2022 4:58 AM

I love the dreamy All Time High. It failed in the UK charts, but I love the song.

by Anonymousreply 83October 18, 2022 5:16 AM

Personally I really like the Bond 25 album by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The slowed-down version of A View to a Kill is haunting and Die Another Day sounds more Bond-ish than Madonna's version.

by Anonymousreply 84October 18, 2022 5:25 AM

Britpop icons Pulp also wrote a song for Tomorrow Never Dies that wasn't used. They recorded it as a b-side retitled "Tomorrow Never Lies".

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by Anonymousreply 85October 18, 2022 8:03 AM

"Tomorrow Never Lies" was the original title of the movie.

by Anonymousreply 86October 18, 2022 1:06 PM

The source for the Bassey opinion of Moonraker is Bassey herself in the doc.

by Anonymousreply 87October 19, 2022 7:11 PM

I remember that Laura Branigan was announced as engaged to sing the theme song of the then-upcoming Bond movie, which turned out to be “Octopussy”. It made sense at the time, because she was hot off “Gloria”, and her vocal style seemed well-suited for a Bond theme. But when “Octopussy” was released, there was Rita Coolidge crooning “All Time High”.

Rita Coolidge?! Wasn’t she the one who Bette Midler cracked was arrested for loitering in front of a microphone? Who in 1983 said, “Get me Rita Coolidge!”

Turned out producer Cubby Broccoli heard his daughter listening to Coolidge, liked what he heard, and Branigan got replaced.

by Anonymousreply 88October 19, 2022 7:32 PM

I'd not heard that Midler crack about Rita Coolidge before R88 but it sounds like the pair of them. I once saw her described as a 'languid singer' and that's pretty spot on. Her first half a dozen or so solo albums for A&M are very good - packed with some great songs and musicians but her singing style is very low key, soothing in its own way but you get the feeling she's always holding back.

by Anonymousreply 89October 19, 2022 7:49 PM

R88, Midler made that crack about Helen Reddy.

by Anonymousreply 90October 19, 2022 8:45 PM

R87 et al - I think the reason given for Shirley Bassey's disdain for Moonraker is that she had something like ONE week between being asked to sing it and having it in final form on tape.

by Anonymousreply 91October 19, 2022 8:58 PM

Singers record songs they've just only heard all the time. Bassey got some of the notes wrong on the single version of "Goldfinger." Barry probably went through the roof.

by Anonymousreply 92October 19, 2022 9:06 PM

The Bond Song That Got Away: Amy Winehouse

by Anonymousreply 94October 19, 2022 9:07 PM

Bassey needed a hit badly. "Moonraker" didn't give her that. Whereas the flop of "Diamonds Are Forever" wasn't as keenly felt as she had recent big hits in that period ("Something," "For All We Know") and another big one shortly after ("Never, Never, Never").

by Anonymousreply 95October 19, 2022 9:09 PM

Rumor has it that Marvin Hamlisch got roped into writing the music for 'Nobody Does It Better' because he thought his friend Barbra Streisand was definitely going to record it and the Bergmans would once again be his lyricists (ala 'The Way We Were'). Once Carole Bayer Sager was chosen to write the lyrics, Streisand backed out - upset that they reneged in asking her friends the Bergmans to compose the lyrics, as originally agreed upon. In search of a singer for the new Bond tune, the offer went to Diana Ross (who just had her #1 with 'Mahogany') but she declined upon Berry Gordy's advice. Then someone suggested Carly Simon - and the rest is history.

by Anonymousreply 96October 19, 2022 9:50 PM

Some of have claimed that Dusty Springfield turned down "Nobody Does It Better," which seems madness on her part if true.

by Anonymousreply 97October 19, 2022 9:52 PM

I think i’m the only one who likes Sheryl Crow’s “Tomorrow Never Dies.” Her voice is much bigger than you’d think and it’s fun hearing her be more showy with it.

Garbage *hates* the final version of “The World is Not Enough.” They turned in a version with far more layers and loops - more akin to their other music - and it was stripped down without the band’s consent. They spent a day off on tour in Ireland or someplace going to see the movie and were all pissed when the theme started playing.

by Anonymousreply 98October 19, 2022 9:59 PM

Have Garbage releaed that version? I liked their entry at the time but Shirley Manson doesn't have the range. Adele's is even more earthbound. Chris Cornell really had the chops to sing a Bond Theme.

by Anonymousreply 99October 19, 2022 10:11 PM

This one doesn't get any love and it's so good. It's a great video too! Holds up better than Duran Duran's IMHO.

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by Anonymousreply 101October 19, 2022 11:27 PM

[quote] Shirley Manson doesn’t have the range

Welcome to Datalounge, Dame Bassey

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by Anonymousreply 102October 19, 2022 11:32 PM

Yes, yes, yes! I love the theme songs better than most of the movies. I’ve tried with little success in putting together a playlist on Amazon Music. I haven’t seen a single Pierce Brosnan 007. I was living in SF and went clubbing all if the time! (Nothing to do with baby seals)

by Anonymousreply 103October 19, 2022 11:40 PM

Lulu is like Cher in the UK.

by Anonymousreply 105October 19, 2022 11:46 PM

"You know my name" and "Skyfall" are the only decent post 2000 Bond songs.

The slow ballad early 80's Bond songs (All time high, FYEO) were absolute bores.

I really like "Tomorrow never dies" but not as a Bond song...Sheryl Crow just doesn't have a "special" enough voice.

License to Kill by Gladys Knight starts out really good...just so much potential...but it's ruined by an awful chorus.

by Anonymousreply 106October 20, 2022 12:52 AM

I don't hate "Die Another Day" or "Another Way to Die". Am I broken?

by Anonymousreply 107October 20, 2022 12:55 AM

Die another day is a great track.

Crow’s track is for the birds

I like coolidge’s low key all time high ONLY in retrospect

For Your Eyes Only is perfect song AND singer

by Anonymousreply 108October 20, 2022 2:11 AM

R39 has been inside the Griffith Observatory! Is he an Adele VIP!? Almost Famous?

…every kid who grew up in the Greater L.A. basin saw the inside during an elementary school field trip…🤤

by Anonymousreply 109October 20, 2022 3:11 AM

I did a theme for a Bond movie but SOMEONE messed up and when they heard "A Few To Kill" they said insurance issues would pre-vent things from proceeding.

Because I'm all about naming names and keeping it real, you know.

by Anonymousreply 110October 22, 2022 5:46 PM

Here is Sheena Easton in 2016 being exposed to Blondie's version of For Your Eyes Only (supposedly) for the first time.

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by Anonymousreply 111November 6, 2022 12:11 PM

They're great but they've lost their way a bit recently. Sam Smith and Billie Eilish? Nope. Bond needs classic singers.

by Anonymousreply 112November 6, 2022 12:19 PM

Billie Eilish's song, in my opinion, is one of the worst ever associated with the franchise.

by Anonymousreply 113November 6, 2022 12:26 PM

Bond songs need a belter nor a whisperer. Look for the next Bond vocalist to be raising the roof in a church choir!

by Anonymousreply 114November 6, 2022 12:39 PM

R113 I feel "The writting is on the wall" and "Another way to die" are still worse, but yes, its down there. I make it a point to not watch any Bond film that has a shitty intro song. I just know it will suck if it doesnt have a good one and 9/10 I'm right..The last one I watched was Skyfall and many say that was enough.

by Anonymousreply 115November 6, 2022 1:30 PM

Speaking of "Another way to die", likely the worst Bond song ever recorded, the fact that they rejected this one that imo would have been an instant classic, over the JackWhite)Alicia Keys vomit, just makes it even more ainful

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by Anonymousreply 116November 6, 2022 1:34 PM

I actually liked Eilish’s song. But Smith’s was boring.

by Anonymousreply 117November 6, 2022 4:32 PM

just another endorsement of Die Another Day, and I love the video, Madonna was at the perfect point to pull something like that off, no one else could have done it - ridiculous, meaningful, serious, corny, aggressive, and sensitive all at once

by Anonymousreply 118November 8, 2022 6:11 PM

Don’t forget Ms. Patti on the end credits for License to Kill

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by Anonymousreply 119November 8, 2022 6:33 PM

Dusty's gorgeous ‘Look of Love’ from Casino Royale, 1967. Here singing it live, looking like a dykey Princess Di.

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by Anonymousreply 120November 9, 2022 2:51 PM

David Mcalmont's version of ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ is a hoot - camp as arseholes. Here he is singing ‘From Russia With Love’. Heavenly voice, the saxophonist is amazing too.

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by Anonymousreply 121November 9, 2022 2:58 PM

Nobody Does It Better doesn't sound like a James bond theme song . Maybe more fitting for a sad romantic movie. My fave.

by Anonymousreply 122November 9, 2022 3:44 PM

This was a way better track than The Living Daylights.

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by Anonymousreply 123November 9, 2022 3:56 PM

R123 that blonde assassin Necros was the object of many a release when I was growing up. The VHS was paused often.

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by Anonymousreply 124November 9, 2022 4:18 PM