I was always under the impression that John Barry wrote the tune for "Living Daylights" and A-ha wrote the lyrics and sang it. But I just was watching that TV special "James Bond's Greatest Hits" (about all the Bond songs) and the guys from A-ha say "We loved the stuff Barry added" and talk about Barry like he was more of an arranger & producer. So, anyone here know who actually did write the tune?
Its a known fact that Barry did NOT get along with the members of Aha when they were putting the song together. However, I think in what ways has been kept a secret (probably for good reason).
The "Bond's Greatest Hits" show interviews and A-ha, who make it clear that they butted heads with Barry over the mix. "We were working with John Barry but he wasn't working with us" they said. But I am more interested in the specific authorship of the tune. To what extent was Barry the composer of the song?
Depends on what is meant by "wrote the song". When a lot of rock and pop musicians say they "wrote the song" they oftentimes mean they came up with the riff, the basic chord progression, maybe the basic structure. Not necessarily that they had the melody and the lyric to go with it yet. This is often done or completed in the studio while recording of the track progresses - usually the singer is over in the corner listening and working out what the melody and words should be. I don't know how a-ha goes about things, but this is how so many bands operate, I wouldn't hang too much on claims about when a song was originally written. I can see not having the lyric done and so forth even tho they said they wrote the song earlier. That's just how many rock and pop musicians talk about their process.
It has always been my understanding that Paul (Waaktaar, a-ha's guitarist and main songwriter) wrote the song. Barry 'simply' laid the orchestral track through the song, which itself was pushed to the background. And his familiar brass interjections.
And just to buck the trend, I prefer a-ha's song to the others.
Barry went on to compose a far better song for the film, 'If There Was A Man' with lyrics by Chrissie Hynde.
Great song, I also love 'Where Has Everybody Gone' which became source music on the bad guys radio.
Both songs are better than a~ha's.
I'd just like to point out that I do like a~ha's song, I far prefer it over, say, For Your Eyes Only, The Man With The Golden Gun, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and it's lightyears beyond shite like Madonna's putrid effort.
Performed by a-ha Written by John Barry and Pål Waaktaar (Recorded and mixed by Jason Corsaro at Maison Rogue & CTS Studios, London)* Produced by Jason Corsaro, a-ha and John Barry Orchestra arranged and conducted by John Barry Jason Corsaro COURTESY OF CORSAIR PRODUCTIONS
* a view to a kill credit for Jason Corsaro
aha recorded by Jason Corsaro at Maison Rogue ? and produced by JC and a-ha
JB recorded his in London - no doubt - dick Lewsy probbably recorded JB' arrangement - those were produced by JB and recorded at CTS
Mix ? - i bet the same model (regarding mixing and place) used for AVTAK (where song and orchestra was mixed together) was used.
What else is known - songs melodie is waved in and out of the score
The Living Daylights is absolutely soaking in John Barry's lush melodies and repeated phrases. I'd be very, very surprised if he wasn't the lead writer on it.
However, it is also a classic example of a-ha's sound at the time (listen to their song 'The blood that moves the body' as an indication). No doubt Barry made some contribution, but I'm more of the opinion Paul Waaktaar wrote the main melody and lyric, like he usually did with a-ha. Id be surprised if Barry had much to do with it in its formative stages. It certainly wasn't a joint effort like Barry had with Duran Duran.
In saying all that however, this is all my opinion based on being an a-ha fan and my impression of years listening to their music. I doubt we will ever know for sure. Im not even sure it really matters either.