Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Sad news from the entertainment world this week. Dapper British actor Roger Moore died on Tuesday in Switzerland from cancer. He was 89.
Moore appeared in seven films as secret agent 007, James Bond, beginning in 1973 with “Live and Let Die” and winding up in 1985 with “A View to a Kill.”
Moore was often compared with Sean Connery who preceded Moore as Bond on screen.
“I’m often asked, ‘Who is the best Bond?’” Moore wrote in his 2012 book, “Bond on Bond.”
“Apart from myself? It has to be Sean. Sean was Bond. He created Bond. He was a bloody good 007.”
Moore was not very Bond-like. He was a hypochondriac, afraid of heights, and he hated guns. As for vodka martinis, Moore preferred gin.
This week, music from the Bond movies. Let’s get started with the only way to open.
When “Goldfinger” premiered in London in September of 1964, fans fought with one another in an attempt to get into the theater.
“Of all the Bonds, ‘Goldfinger’ is the best, and can stand as a surrogate for the others,” wrote film critic Roger Ebert in 1999. “If it is not a great film, it is a great entertainment, and contains all the elements of the Bond formula that would work again and again.”
An evil cruel villain. Did you know German actor Gert Fröbe who played Auric Goldfinger couldn’t speak a word of English? So his entire performance had to be dubbed by British actor Michael Collins.
There was Oddjob and his bowler hat, Pussy Galore, and the Aston Martin DB5 equipped with machine guns in the grill, rotating license plates, and ejector seat.
The theme song was a winner, sung in a bold and brassy fashion.
In an interview last December Shirley Bassey made it abundantly clear she was not impressed with today’s female performers.
“It is like they are all in competition with each other,” she said. “Who can wear the skimpiest outfit? I mean come on. These young girls are talented singers, they don’t need that, but they feel they have to be in competition to have the least covering. That’s the saddest thing.”
As for Bassey’s sequins, boas, and low-cut gowns?
“So let me get right to the point. I don’t pop my cork for every man I see. I think you have to leave a lot to the imagination. Yes, my act was sexy and my dress had slits down to here, but I left a lot to the imagination. I didn’t show everything.”
Bassey was made a dame commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000. She has sold more than 135 million records.
Most James Bond theme songs had the same titles as the movies. Not this one.
Marvin Hamlisch composed the theme song for the 1977 film starring Moore, “The Spy Who Loved Me.” It was one of the most successful Bond movie songs ever.
Now another theme song with a different title than the movie.
“All Time High” was written by Tim Rice. He’d later write “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” and “A Whole New World.”
For this 1983 Bond movie Rice had no choice but to come up with lyrics that were different than the film title.
“I think it would have been more interesting if we had tried to write a song called ‘Octopussy'” he once said.
“All Time High” refers to the aerial footage in “Octopussy.”
This also marked the first time a theme song from a Bond movie was made into a video with Rita Coolidge singing in the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, accompanied by film clips.
According to 007.com it was Moore’s decision to leave the Bond movies after “A View To A Kill.”
“When they start running out of actors old enough to look as though they could be knocked down by Bond, and leading ladies are your mother’s age when you started making Bond, then it’s time you move on,” Moore said.
Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli released a statement about Moore:
“On the screen, he reinvented the role of James Bond with tremendous skill, charisma and humor. In real life, he was a genuine hero working as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for many years dedicating his life to alleviating the suffering of children all over the world. He was a loyal and beloved friend and his legacy shall live on through his films and the millions of lives he touched. We shall miss him enormously.”
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
Paul McCartney said Moore had “a heart of gold, a great sense of humor and will be missed by the many people who loved him.”
BTW, McCartney almost didn’t sing the following because the film’s producer, Harry Saltzman didn’t know who the Beatles were. From the Daily Mail:
It was Joan Collins’s then husband, Ron Kass, who first suggested it. He was a music business lawyer who had represented the Fab Four’s record label, Apple.
At his urging, Paul agreed to write and perform the theme song, which turned out to be an absolute belter.
When he heard it, though, Harry wasn’t too sure. He turned to music producer George Martin and said: ‘So, who are we gonna get to sing it?’
George pointed out, as politely as he could, that they already had Macca and they weren’t going to find anyone bigger.
You just know he came out for an encore at that concert.
Here’s what we can offer.