Song Lists Special: Bond Themes

best of bond bond themes

Suddenly, like a bullet spent from 007 himself it hit me, why not do a JAMES BOND special!
If you are new to the lists Synesthesia is particularly common in arts people and in my case manifests itself as hearing music as colour. Here is a rudimentary list of BOND THEMES and how I hear them. As you might imagine with Bond being a series of spy flicks, a slew of themes are in grey. The second most popular is a fiery red. The most difficult to note are the earlier ones – this is due to John Barry’s compositional shifts – his JB theme is really difficult to gauge, while the most drab are Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough and Skyfall. For obvious reasons there isn’t too much in the warmer keys of yellow, orange, pink or light green yet despite this there is a fair amount of colourisation. Perhaps more surprising is as yet there is no maroon or black (Live and Let Die comes closest). As far as James Bond is concerned his world is luxurious but a largely monochromatic one. As for titles and lyrics, there’s a lot of killing, dying and hiding! Let’s begin…

shirley-goldfinger

WHITE

ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (mostly white though it does feature shifts to other colours such as green but these are very fast, very difficult to note and don’t stray too far from the central mainframe of white. Love the sixties vibe in this one though, classic with a capital C)
GOLDFINGER (and speaking of the sixties these scores are the most difficult to discuss owing to Barry’s aforementioned meandering compositional shifts. With Goldfinger, the whole thing goes through several keys in a matter of seconds – the intro is in white offset by the palest yellow – the verses/chorus work as a loop which veer from white to apricot ‘he’s the man’ ‘beckons you’ and ‘pretty girl’ lines to light blue for the ‘midas touch’ ‘web of sin’ and ‘heart of gold’ lines, ‘Golden words he will pour in your ear’ is in mid blue while the ‘kiss of death’ leads back into the white/apricot/blue verse. The final refrains of ‘he loves only gold’ are in dark blue)

live and let die

CREAM

LIVE AND LET DIE (chorus and chase parts which begins right after the first chorus in black, the chilling ‘blood gushing’ strings at 59secs are an absolutely brilliant touch leading to the middle reggae part which is in rose – another excellent addition is the shift in the latter 10-15 secs to grey blue which in turn leads into the film; all in all a superb example of how movie and music can work together)
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

MINT GREEN 

YELLOW or in the case of Bond.. GOLD

WE HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD (‘every step of the way will find us’ violet then into grey – ‘cares of the world far behind us’ before returning to yellow, sorry.. gold)

APRICOT

ORANGE

ALL TIME HIGH (a truly unique entity in the BOND-sphere, an orange! Albeit a slightly cloudy orange, hear it in the sax intro and verses, the highlight however belongs to the chorus which is more common to BOND in grey blue – what’s more unusual is the combination of orange/grey blue – also unique)

shirley-diamonds lulu-golden gun

RED (mostly fiery for the BOND franchise)

JAMES BOND THEME (this it has to be said is a very odd shade of red – sadly not on the palette here)
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (verse alternates between a fiery red and white in the ‘leave in the night..’ and ‘can see every part’ lines, into the chorus and ‘I don’t need love’ is in a more traditional red coupled once again with white for the ‘diamonds never lie to me’ lines)
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (similar to Diamonds, only this time accentuated by ’love is required..’ in dark blue – love the crazy guitars too 🙂
YOU KNOW MY NAME (yet another warm red, an update of Diamonds and Golden Gun and a much welcome return after the dreary grey of the latter nineties themes)
ANOTHER WAY TO DIE (the second warmer toned theme before Bond descends back into grey for Skyfall and the current Spectre; middle from 2.17 to about 2.40 alternates between white and green and back to fiery red as you might imagine discussing musical twists and turns of this nature is an agonisingly tricky pursuit)

GREY BLUE

THUNDERBALL (some additional hues in its intro and purple in the James Bond theme parts, but the majority is in grey blue)

LIGHT BLUE

MOONRAKER (again the Barry verses are difficult to centre, mostly in the rather lovely blue – especially in the chorus, but yet again there is a favoured bent toward fiery red in the intro and verses)

BRIGHT BLUE

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (the strings during the first 7 seconds are in a slighter deeper blue before opening out into the brighter shade that colours most of the song. The unusual thing with this one is like Moonraker above it dips into red for the ‘one life for yourself..,’ ’make one dream come true’ lines while the ‘and love is a stranger’ parts in a low registering red)

MID BLUE

DARK BLUE

DARK BLUE/ORANGE

tina-goldeneye

DARK BLUE/YELLOW

LICENCE TO KILL (chorus in yellow between 2.57 and 3.11 it goes through both white and  orange, on 3.15 it moves into violet/grey then at 3.43 to grey/rose)
GOLDENEYE (this would be yellow if not for the ‘dun dun dun dun’ notes, but mainly the strings and brass which thus take it into the dark blue/yellow couplet – the ‘you’ll never know..’ parts in sparkling white with a touch of the fiery red, which almost seems a BOND trademark colouration, while the ‘gold and honey trap’ parts return it to the aforementioned couplet)

LIGHT GREEN

DARK GREEN

PINK

 

 

MAROON

VIOLET

NOBODY DOES IT BETTER (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME)

from russia with love a-ha-living daylights

PURPLE

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (bridge and middle in pale grey)

duran-view die another day

GREY (varying shades)

A VIEW TO A KILL (bridge grey blue, chorus bright blue)
TOMORROW NEVER DIES (bridge and chorus are deeper grey, there is a part at 2.51 to 3.11 where the strings offer a brief respite alternating in rose/grey but other than that it’s all pretty drab)
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH
DIE ANOTHER DAY
SKYFALL
WRITING’S ON THE WALL

skyfall sam-spectre

BROWN

BLACK

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