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The story of the music that accompanies the cinematic adventures of Ian Fleming's intrepid Agent 007 is one of surprising real-life drama. In The Music of James Bond, author Jon Burlingame throws open studio and courtroom doors alike to reveal the full and extraordinary history of the sounds of James Bond, spicing the story with a wealth of fascinating and previously undis The story of the music that accompanies the cinematic adventures of Ian Fleming's intrepid Agent 007 is one of surprising real-life drama. In The Music of James Bond, author Jon Burlingame throws open studio and courtroom doors alike to reveal the full and extraordinary history of the sounds of James Bond, spicing the story with a wealth of fascinating and previously undisclosed tales. Burlingame devotes a chapter to each Bond film, providing the backstory for the music (including a reader-friendly analysis of each score) from the last-minute creation of the now-famous "James Bond Theme" in Dr. No to John Barry's trend-setting early scores for such films as Goldfinger and Thunderball. We learn how synthesizers, disco and modern electronica techniques played a role in subsequent scores, and how composer David Arnold reinvented the Bond sound for the 1990s and beyond. The book brims with behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Burlingame examines the decades-long controversy over authorship of the Bond theme; how Frank Sinatra almost sang the title song for Moonraker; and how top artists like Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Duran Duran, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, and Madonna turned Bond songs into chart-topping hits. The author shares the untold stories of how Eric Clapton played guitar for Licence to Kill but saw his work shelved, and how Amy Winehouse very nearly co-wrote and sang the theme for Quantum of Solace. New interviews with many Bond songwriters and composers, coupled with extensive research as well as fascinating and previously undiscovered details--temperamental artists, unexpected hits, and the convergence of great music and unforgettable imagery--make The Music of James Bond a must read for 007 buffs and all popular music fans. This paperback edition is brought up-to-date with a new chapter on Skyfall.


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The story of the music that accompanies the cinematic adventures of Ian Fleming's intrepid Agent 007 is one of surprising real-life drama. In The Music of James Bond, author Jon Burlingame throws open studio and courtroom doors alike to reveal the full and extraordinary history of the sounds of James Bond, spicing the story with a wealth of fascinating and previously undis The story of the music that accompanies the cinematic adventures of Ian Fleming's intrepid Agent 007 is one of surprising real-life drama. In The Music of James Bond, author Jon Burlingame throws open studio and courtroom doors alike to reveal the full and extraordinary history of the sounds of James Bond, spicing the story with a wealth of fascinating and previously undisclosed tales. Burlingame devotes a chapter to each Bond film, providing the backstory for the music (including a reader-friendly analysis of each score) from the last-minute creation of the now-famous "James Bond Theme" in Dr. No to John Barry's trend-setting early scores for such films as Goldfinger and Thunderball. We learn how synthesizers, disco and modern electronica techniques played a role in subsequent scores, and how composer David Arnold reinvented the Bond sound for the 1990s and beyond. The book brims with behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Burlingame examines the decades-long controversy over authorship of the Bond theme; how Frank Sinatra almost sang the title song for Moonraker; and how top artists like Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Duran Duran, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, and Madonna turned Bond songs into chart-topping hits. The author shares the untold stories of how Eric Clapton played guitar for Licence to Kill but saw his work shelved, and how Amy Winehouse very nearly co-wrote and sang the theme for Quantum of Solace. New interviews with many Bond songwriters and composers, coupled with extensive research as well as fascinating and previously undiscovered details--temperamental artists, unexpected hits, and the convergence of great music and unforgettable imagery--make The Music of James Bond a must read for 007 buffs and all popular music fans. This paperback edition is brought up-to-date with a new chapter on Skyfall.

30 review for The Music of James Bond

  1. 4 out of 5

    Wayne McCoy

    A thoroughly researched guide to the music of all of the James Bond movies over the last 50 years. The newest Bond film, Skyfall, is excluded because it hadn't been released at publication. Each chapter refers to a different movie and includes the full story behind the musical score, the theme song, a linear guide to the songs and musical cues used in the movies, photos, and production notes. Included is the controversial story behind the creation of the famous Bond theme, how songwriters struggl A thoroughly researched guide to the music of all of the James Bond movies over the last 50 years. The newest Bond film, Skyfall, is excluded because it hadn't been released at publication. Each chapter refers to a different movie and includes the full story behind the musical score, the theme song, a linear guide to the songs and musical cues used in the movies, photos, and production notes. Included is the controversial story behind the creation of the famous Bond theme, how songwriters struggled to get the movie titles into each films theme song, and how John Barry is credited with creating the genre of spy music used in these films and others. Of interest are the songs and performances that never made it to film. Each chapter ends with reviews of songs and soundtracks and their respective chart performances and awards in the US and UK. The book concludes with a comprehensive list of Bond soundtracks and songs for the completist, as well as a list of all the sources the author used to create the book. A book for Bond movie fans and film music buffs alike, there are plenty of interesting stories.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Larry Sampson

    Everything you ever wanted to know about Bond music. A scholarly work that any Bond fan will appreciate. It is thoroughly researched. It includes both the original Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again making this a complete record of the music from every Bond film up through Quantum of Solace.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Kidd

    This book is a must not just for Bond fans but any aficionado of movie music. Burlingame goes into great detail into the composition of all the James Bond scores and theme songs, from Dr. No through Quantum of Solace and he doesn't restrict himself to the Eon films, including Never Say Never Again and the 1966 Casino Royale as well. All sorts of fascinating facts are unearthed; we learn, for instance, how a novel by V.S. Naipaul led to Monty Norman's classic Bond theme and how Britain's punitive This book is a must not just for Bond fans but any aficionado of movie music. Burlingame goes into great detail into the composition of all the James Bond scores and theme songs, from Dr. No through Quantum of Solace and he doesn't restrict himself to the Eon films, including Never Say Never Again and the 1966 Casino Royale as well. All sorts of fascinating facts are unearthed; we learn, for instance, how a novel by V.S. Naipaul led to Monty Norman's classic Bond theme and how Britain's punitive tax laws led to John Barry's departure from the series. It's fascinating to learn about the music we didn't get as well, from artists that were unfortunately passed over (Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Paul Williams, Alice Cooper and Blondie) to those we should be thankful were not used (Ace of Base and The Pet Shop Boys). As a bonus, each chapter on a particular film contains a sidebar outlining the music cues in each film. My only criticism is that the author does not bring enough of his personal opinions of the music itself into the individual chapters, preferring to provide occasional, less-than-effusive praise but withholding any major negative critiques of his own (he does refer to the impromptu use of a Beach Boys cover in A View to A Kill as "disastrous,"a classic understatement), although he does feature quotations from various reviews to indicate how the scores and songs were received at the time of release. Nonetheless, it is highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lee Goldberg

    With the new Bond movie Skyfall coming out, there's a tsunami of 007-related books headed our way and I've been buying a bunch of them. The best so far is Jon Burlingame's The Music of James Bond. It's terrific, but I wouldn't expect anything less from the author of TV's Biggest Hits and an acknowledged expert in soundtrack music. This book charts the evolution of every Bond score in a lively, breezily-written narrative that is as entertaining as it is informative. Everything you ever wanted to k With the new Bond movie Skyfall coming out, there's a tsunami of 007-related books headed our way and I've been buying a bunch of them. The best so far is Jon Burlingame's The Music of James Bond. It's terrific, but I wouldn't expect anything less from the author of TV's Biggest Hits and an acknowledged expert in soundtrack music. This book charts the evolution of every Bond score in a lively, breezily-written narrative that is as entertaining as it is informative. Everything you ever wanted to know about the scores, themes, and business behind the Bond music is here. Even if you aren't a Bond fan, this book is a revealing look at the business, marketing, and creative influences on how movie scores assigned and produced. It's a must-have reference and historical book for all Bond fans and soundtrack collectors that will have you listening to all the Bond albums again and searching YouTube and iTunes to listen to the many rejected theme songs. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, learned a lot, and hope that Jon will be updating it every few years...though I am still waiting for the sequel/update to TV's Biggest Hits!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

    As a Bond fan with an interest in Film Composition this didn't tell me much I didn't know, but its lovely to have it all in one volume. And just lovely to have a book which so reverentially goes into the detail of scoring a film. I had a lot of respect for John Barry already, even more so now. And its a shame Michael Kamen only scored Licence to Kill. He was to prove himself subsequently a great pop song writer, so he could have had a good go at some of the title songs too. Vic Flick, John Barry a As a Bond fan with an interest in Film Composition this didn't tell me much I didn't know, but its lovely to have it all in one volume. And just lovely to have a book which so reverentially goes into the detail of scoring a film. I had a lot of respect for John Barry already, even more so now. And its a shame Michael Kamen only scored Licence to Kill. He was to prove himself subsequently a great pop song writer, so he could have had a good go at some of the title songs too. Vic Flick, John Barry and Derek Watkins are absolute heroes. I'll look forward to the updated edition after Skyfall, to see how Burlingam thinks Thomas Newman fares in the realm of Bond composers (I think the change is a good thing). And I think I might just be able to aspire to score the next Bond film. Just need to get a successful hit and a feature film under my belt. That gives me just under two years.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    When I learned of this book I was not only excited but stunned that no one had written it before (to my knowledge anyway). Burlingame covers all the drama with the artists who sang the title songs like Duran Duran, Madonna and Shirley Bassey as well as people who DIDN'T get the gig like Frank Sinatra and Amy Winehouse. Burlingame also gives each composer his due and how each score was recorded. Hardcore Bond fans will be fascinated by the chapter on Goldeneye and vindicated on how that mess was When I learned of this book I was not only excited but stunned that no one had written it before (to my knowledge anyway). Burlingame covers all the drama with the artists who sang the title songs like Duran Duran, Madonna and Shirley Bassey as well as people who DIDN'T get the gig like Frank Sinatra and Amy Winehouse. Burlingame also gives each composer his due and how each score was recorded. Hardcore Bond fans will be fascinated by the chapter on Goldeneye and vindicated on how that mess was dealt with. I'd say if you're a music fan, this book could appeal even if you don't care about Bond. But the big draw here is for Bond fans and it's another amazing thing the 50th anniversary has brought out. Obviously, there's no chapter on Skyfall as this book was written before. No Bond record is ever complete which is encouraging to fans like me. Absolutely fantastic.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pierke Bosschieter

    If you are interested in film music, this is a must-read. All Bond movies, also the unofficial ones, are dealt with very extensively, up till Quantum of Solace. With a structure of one movie per chapter it also invites to keep the book close at hand when viewing a Bond movie. Especially the inserts that give the score highlights, by minutes into the film, are very helpful while watching. The book has a wealth of pictures, as well. It is amazing how much information Jon Burlingame was able to une If you are interested in film music, this is a must-read. All Bond movies, also the unofficial ones, are dealt with very extensively, up till Quantum of Solace. With a structure of one movie per chapter it also invites to keep the book close at hand when viewing a Bond movie. Especially the inserts that give the score highlights, by minutes into the film, are very helpful while watching. The book has a wealth of pictures, as well. It is amazing how much information Jon Burlingame was able to unearth, a real treasure-trove. The book merits a re-reading, as remembering all the fact in one reading is nigh on impossible. About the audio version. This was my first encounter with Tom Parks and I didn’t like it very much. I am sure that his enthusiastic rendition can be a bonus for certain books, but it distracted me from the story

  8. 4 out of 5

    Antonvt

    Insightful, unbelievably well researched and also very enjoyable. The story behind the music of the Bond movies is filled with intrigue, twist and turns that could equal any James Bond plot. It only enriched my understanding of the music itself that I love so much. A truly worthwhile book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    Pretty interesting behind-the-scenes look at the Bond films music. Politics and producer prejudices play a role as they do on all films. Shows how unappreciated music was and how it came to be recognized.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    Excellent book that covers the ins-and-outs of the Bond composers, scores, directors, and producers from Dr. No through Quantum of Solace. Highly recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in the musical score legacy of the James Bond films!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Summers

    nice recounts about the composers, the theme songs, sidebars describing the scenes and related music. Nothing earth shaking, but interesting and well done.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Film by film (and including the 1967 'Casino Royale', plus 'Never Say Never Again), Burlingame's well-researched reference work gives detailed information on the songs and scores that have helped shape the 007 character. There's a lot of information here beyond the production background stories, including notes and highlights for each soundtrack release, and a handy list of Bond songs that almost were. Enjoyment here is probably elevated if you're a soundtrack nerd, but I found this an interesti Film by film (and including the 1967 'Casino Royale', plus 'Never Say Never Again), Burlingame's well-researched reference work gives detailed information on the songs and scores that have helped shape the 007 character. There's a lot of information here beyond the production background stories, including notes and highlights for each soundtrack release, and a handy list of Bond songs that almost were. Enjoyment here is probably elevated if you're a soundtrack nerd, but I found this an interesting and accessible companion for anyone who's ever had a bit of a John Barry composition stuck in their head.

  13. 5 out of 5

    ManOfLaBook.com

    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 of From Russ­ian 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 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 of From Russ­ian 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 by Jon Burlingame tells of the real-life dra­mas which accom­pa­nied the sound track to the 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’ve seen each sev­eral times), I knew exactly what he was talk­ing about and could hear the music in my head. My favorite part of the book came at the begin­ning by learn­ing how the famous “James Bond Theme” came to be and, of course, learn more about the famous John Barry who scored many of the Bond movies whose dis­tinct sound is rec­og­niz­able almost everywhere. Spe­cial atten­tion was given to the chang­ing tech­nol­ogy in music, where big bands were replaced, or com­ple­mented, by syn­the­siz­ers and 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, this is the exact type of book which would ben­e­fit from such for­mat. Imag­ine being able to watch a par­tic­u­lar scene, or lis­ten to a par­tic­u­lar track after hav­ing read about it and with an under­stand­ing of what your are watch­ing and lis­ten­ing to. As always, the real magic of the book is the behind-the-scenes anec­dotes and con­tro­ver­sies regard­ing the sound­tracks, own­er­ship and rein­ven­tion of the Bond sound by David Arnold. Com­ple­mented with inter­views of com­posers and artists, untold sto­ries (Eric Clapton’s gui­tar work for “License to Kill” was shelved, Jimmy Page played on the “Goldfin­ger” track and more) this book is a must for Bond fans and music lovers. For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

  14. 5 out of 5

    Merocrush

    Fairly informative, occasionally fascinating.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bullet Head

    Read halfway. Not compelled to complete. Very sterile. Needs more storytelling.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Luke Cavanagh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Review to come soon.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael Edwards

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sean Faust

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michael Coyne

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tyler L.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Diego Cessario

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kodzo Selormey

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Mauvilly

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hadders

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marcin

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  28. 4 out of 5

    Luke

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  30. 4 out of 5

    James Sheaves

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