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The 70's and 80's were rough on Bond fans. They switched composers every other film and even started switching Bonds! There were times we thought they had lost their minds - J.W. Pepper, Jaws, All Time High, Beach Boys music...what were they thinking? As the films got sillier we found ourselves hoping for just a good scene or two. Likewise with the soundtracks.
John Barry was back with an nice, atmospheric score for "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971), but George Martin stepped in for "Live And Let Die" (1973). Although it took a few listens to get used to the Paul McCartney theme (We know what Mr. Bond thought of him, don't we?), it was a good score that helped introduce Roger Moore to the role.
Barry returned with his his magic touch for "The Man With The Golden Gun" (1974) with a title theme sung by Lulu (and the unforgivable slide-flute sequence).
Marvin Hamlish gave us an entertaining score for "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977). The title song sung by Carly Simon was a big hit, but the scores disco roots are showing.
Mr. Barry returned again for an easy listening "Moonraker" (1979) and Bill Conti scored "For Your Eyes Only" (1981). (The re-mastered EMI CD has extra tracks not included on the LP).
Mr. Barry decided to stick around for three films in a row this time. If "Moonraker" was a low point, "Octopussy" (1983) wasn't much better. There is a Ryko release of this with some pointless dialogue added, but no extra music. The re-mastered EMI release would be the one to get.
The same year "Octopussy" was released, another production company got Mr. Connery back in bondage for "Never Say Never Again" (1983). While Michel Legrand's score was not quite what one would hope, neither was the movie. It's probably difficult to write a Bond score when you can't use the Bond Theme. There's an LP out there and a more recent CD with extra tracks.
Mr. Barry was definitely back! ... in our good graces after we heard the score to "A View To A Kill" (1985) with a theme performed by Duran Duran.
John Barry's final Bond score was "The Living Daylights"(1987) which introduced Timothy Dalton to the role. It made it easier to accept a new actor in the role with Barry's music behind him. They got another pop group, A-ha, to perform the theme. Completists will want to find their 45 of the theme minus the vocals on the B side. Two more songs, "Where Has Everybody Gone" and "If There Was A Man" are performed by the Pretenders. "Where Has Everybody Gone" has some of that good old Bond sound we'd been missing, but was only heard on the bad guys walkman! The re-mastered EMI CD has tracks not included on the LP.
Michael Kamen was brought in to score "Licence To Kill" (1989). If nothing else, he should be remembered for bringing an electric guitar back to the Vic Flick Bond riff instead of those strings we'd been listening to. This would be Mr. Dalton's farewell performance and our farewell to 007 for six years while the producers were tied up in court. They slipped a couple of songs in again. None of them very Bond-like. "If You Asked Me To", performed by Patti Labelle was nice and better than the Celine Dion version that got air-play. The other ones were a waste of CD space.
That was the end of 007 for a while, but James Bond would return...