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Today my favorite Bond score is Live and Let DIe.

It was the first Bond soundtrack I owned, purchased on LP for something like two dollars at a small convenience store in a small town during a small period of my youth. It must have been late 1976, early 1977. Bond was returning to the big screen soon with The Spy Who Loved Me and this album became my gateway to the world of Bond music. I'd watched many of the earlier films on television, with my dad. It was always an event, a great bonding experience (if you'll pardon the word choice). But I had yet to see James Bond on the big screen. That summer, when The Spy Who Loved Me arrived in our tiny town, I got to see it. What a fabulous introduction to Bond at an impressionable age. No wonder I've been a Bond fan ever since.

But before that, I had Live and Let Die. The title song is perfect, one of the absolute best of the entire series. And I love the way the song is so fully integrated into the score. George Martin deconstructs, rearranges and highlights every segment of the song, allowing it to fully inhabit the film. He also does a great job incorporating that opening Bondian motif as a tool for suspense and continuity. For a film that, in many ways, tried to sever itself from past outings, the score is a marvelous combination of moving forward (into an admittedly now-dated early-seventies sound) while keeping a footing in the past. Martin's presentation of the James Bond Theme, the first one I owned, remains one of my favorite. The whole score is infused with the gunmetal guitar sound that first made moviegoers take notice in 1962. Here, not quite ten years later, the sound has overtaken the score, giving the entire thing a gritty feel. There are also some lovely moments of flute love themes and some agreeably funky source cues. The expanded version adds some great material, especially the Boat Chase music that now always plays in my head when I speed through coastal Georgia rivers in my father-in-law's speed boat.

Sometimes my favorite Bond score is On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

I mean, come on. That Main Title theme. It's just amazingly perfect. The love song. The suspense cues. That great sax piece when Bond Meets the Girls. Great stuff.

Sometimes my favorite Bond score is The Living Daylights.

I like TImothy Dalton as Bond. I love the "modern" "edge" Barry added with his (admittedly now-dated sounding) synths. I love the Pretenders songs, especially Where Has Anybody Gone. I even like the title song.

Sometimes my favorite Bond score is Goldfinger.

Because how can it not?

Sometimes my favorite Bond score is Tomorrow Never Dies.

I love Arnold's completely over the top approach, his insistence on plastering the Bond theme everywhere, his manic sense of "I'm going to cram everything I've ever wanted to put in a Bond score into this in case I never get asked to do it again." There are a few tracks I can do without, but for sheer fun and energy, this one is almost always a go-to score for me.

My opinions waver, they change and shift over time. I don't know how my opinion couldn't change as I become a new person, as the years pass and seasons change and music finds new holds in my heart.

But one thing has remained timeless for me, unchanging, a single point of immutability in an ocean of time: aside from the Bond theme itself, the score for Doctor No sucks.

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What's your take on the score for Goldeneye. My least favorite, though I dig the film

What's your take on the score for Goldeneye. My least favorite, though I dig the film

I thought the score in the film was just dreadful, almost as bad as Never Say Never Again.

But, surprisingly, I found Goldeneye's score to be rather enjoyable in a strange way when listened to all by itself. IN the film, well, it's grown on me some, but it's still the weakest part of the movie. By itself, as a listening experience, I kind of like it.

Neil, I had a similar experience with THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. I was in my mid-teens when it came out and I thought it was the coolest movie ever. I went to see it three times (versus once for STAR WARS). Everything in SWLM worked for me: the music, the car, the girl, the action, and the overall flow of the film. It couldn't have pleased me more.

Always a good thing to show Live And Let Die some love. :)

What's your take on the score for Goldeneye. My least favorite, though I dig the film

It makes me wish David Arnold had started his Bond run one film earlier.

Greg Espinoza

I like what you're saying here, Neil.

My opinion about the Bond music changes all the time too. "Live and Let Die" was my first Bond film and I have a particular fondness for the film, the theme song and George Martin's score (particularly the voodoo shop cue, which I think is part of the "Bond to New York" medley on the enhanced CD).

But my favorite Bond film and score is "For Your Eyes Only." I'm sure not many others agree with me (and that's ok). But who can deny the perfection of John Barry's "Goldfinger," "Thunderball," "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" or "License to Kill" (all pretty great films too)? And David Arnold's "Tomorrow Never Dies," "The World Is Not Enough," "Casino Royale" and sometimes "Quantom of Solace" are pretty magical as well. Each has its own mood and will strike people differently for different reasons at different times.

I must say I go back and forth on "The Spy Who Loved Me" too - so much on there that is great ("Bond 77," "Ride to Atlantis") and exceptionally underrated. I think it's great that no one composer's Bond music can be considered the only Bond music worth hearing. So much of it is so good. And, as you say, it comes in handy as things change from day to day.

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