The Music of James Bond by Jon Burlingame is a non-fiction book about the soundtrack of one of the most successful film franchises in the world. Coincidentally, after finishing the chapter about the music from From Russia With Love, I flipped on the TV and the movie was on. I can give a first hand testimony that this book gave me a whole different view of the Bond movies (and I have seen each several times).
The book covers the topic of the James Bond movies from the perspective of the musical score. Each movie gets a chapter with a narrative of how the score came to be as well as an outline of the movie (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen them) and where each part of the score plays a role.
The Music of James Bond tells of the real-life dramas which accompanied the soundtracks to 007 movies up to Quantum of Solace. Mr. Burlingame takes the reader behind the scenes to closed sessions, private negotiations, and confidential conversations.
The author does an excellent job discussing each movie and how the soundtrack got created, as well as changed with the times. As a fan of the movies, I knew exactly what he was talking about and could hear the music in my head.
My favorite part of The Music of James Bond came at the beginning by learning how the famous “James Bond Theme”–whose distinct sound is recognizable almost everywhere–came to be. And,of course, we learn more about the famous John Barry, who scored many of the Bond movies.
Special attention is given to the changing technology in music, when big bands were replaced or complemented by synthesizers, and when the sound of the early movies was slowly replaced by disco and modern sounds.
My only wish is that this book would have been an enhanced e-book, the exact type of book which would benefit from such a format. Imagine being able to watch a particular scene, or listen to a particular track after having read about it with an understanding of what your are watching and listening to.
As always, the real magic of The Music of James Bond lies in the behind-the-scenes anecdotes and controversies regarding the soundtracks, and the ownership and reinvention of the Bond sound by David Arnold. Complemented with interviews with composers and artists, and untold stories (such as when Eric Clapton’s guitar work for License to Kill was shelved, or the account of Jimmy Page playing on the Goldfinger track), this book is a must for Bond fans and music lovers.
- 304 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 019986330X