James Bond

August 9, 2012

Paloma has developed a little thing for Daniel Craig.

Though she had devoured the books, I suspect Craig’s starring role goosed her interest in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

And she’s been raving about his performance as James Bond as she’s become a belated convert to the cinematic spy series.

(at least I don’t ever recall her expressing an interest in the long-running franchise)

At the risk of being labeled a communist, socialist, or some other ist that I isn’t, I must confess that, as Paloma has now seen both of Craig’s turns as 007, she has seen at least one more James Bond movie than I have.

Yes, I have only seen one James Bond movie in its entirety.

The first James Bond movie that I remember from its original run in theaters would have been The Spy Who Loved Me from 1977 when I would have been nine. It might have played in our town’s old theater, but, if it did, I didn’t see it.

I have no doubt that The Spy Who Loved Me would have popped up a year or so later as a hyped, world television premiere on the ABC Saturday Night Movie. Other films from the series would appear in prime time on a regular basis and I somehow missed them all.

It’s surprising when I think of it.

I was more into science-fiction and horror movies as a kid, but there was a mere half-dozen television channels from which to choose. It seems that at least once – with so few viewing options – I would have come across a James Bond movie, paused, and gotten drawn in.

But it didn’t happen.

I was well aware of James Bond. The character is so iconic and global that if you told me that there were Buddhist monks in some far-flung monastery who only broke their meditative ways to hang out and watch James Bond flicks I wouldn’t be surprised or necessarily question it.

And if such a thing would prove to be true, it means that they too have seen more of 007’s exploits than I.

Here are four of the many hit theme songs from James Bond movies over the years…

Paul McCartney & Wings – Live And Let Die
from All the Best! (1987)

Sir Paul and his other band provided the theme song for 1973’s Live And Let Die, the first time that Roger Moore took on the role of James Bond. As I was a small kid in the ’70s, it is Moore, starring in the then-current films in the series, who I associated as James Bond.

I wasn’t all that enamored with Live And Let Die when I became truly acquainted with the song later in the decade. But, for some reason, I dig it – the glam-rock parts, the reggae hitch, the dramatic builds – more and more as the years pass.

Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
from Clouds in My Coffee (1995)

I once asked a friend’s girlfriend if people ever noted her resemblence to Carly Simon.

She was unfamiliar with the singer, but a couple of days later, the buddy called and informed me that the girlfriend had looked up Carly on the internet; she was none too pleased with my comparison.

But, wasn’t Carly simply one of the sexiest women of the ’70s? I mean, I was nine when Nobody Does It Better, the theme song from The Spy Who Loved Me, was a hit and I’d figured that out.

Sheena Easton – For Your Eyes Only
from The Best Of Sheena Easton (1989)

Sheena Easton was inescapable in 1981.

I knew the Scottish lass from the radio and her numerous appearances on Solid Gold. As a thirteen year-old just becoming interested in music, I did find her fetching, but her upbeat songs were mind-numbingly perky and her ballads were rather maudlin.

I did dig For Your Eyes Only, which was a big hit in the autumn of that year. It was a bit moody and a bit evocative (and, though I love Blondie, far superior to their song – also entitled For Your Eyes Only – that was apparently written in consideration of being the theme).

Duran Duran – A View To A Kill
from Decade (1989)

The lone James Bond movie that I have seen – in its entirety – was 1985’s A View To A Kill.

I was already tired of Duran Duran’s theme by the time the movie played in my hometown. Those early ’80s hits of Duran Duran were hit and miss for me and A View To A Kill was among the latter. It just went nowhere for me.

As for the movie, I thought Grace Jones was cool as May Day. I knew the singer for her menacing version of The Police’s Demolition Man, which 97X played a lot.

The movie left me far less impressed.

(according to Rotten Tomatoes, it is the worst-reviewed entry in the series)