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The James Bond Files


The James Bond Files ~
“Where Has Everybody Gone?” – Forgotten Songs from The Living Daylights

By Wesley Britton

In 1987, critic Rex Reed gave the new Bond opus, The Living Daylights, a lukewarm review. For him, “only the logo remains the same.”

Well, partially true. Actor Timothy Dalton was certainly a fresh face. The return to a more down-to-earth Flemingesque approach was a much discussed dramatic shift in direction. Still, onscreen presences like Desmond Llewellyn’s Q remained 007 staples. Behind the scenes, director John Glen returned, The Living Daylights his fourth time at the helm. And, for the very last time, composer and conductor John Barry contributed his special musical magic. Barry even appeared in the film more or less as himself, or at least a conductor of a symphony orchestra.

Yes, The Living Daylights was something new, but it can also be remembered as a perfect send-off for Barry, the man who’d shaped the music for the sounds behind that famous logo, the legacy of James Bond title songs, and the scores that helped make James Bond films something distinctive.

For many, The Living Daylights was among his very best. To add to Barry’s grand finale, The Living Daylights was the first Bond project to offer three new songs, two of them neglected nuggets written by John Barry and collaborator Chrissie Hynde, lead vocalist and guitarist for The Pretenders. “Where Has Everybody Gone” and “If There Was a Man,” while rarely appearing on anthologies of Bond tracks, stand up very well alongside the more famous title melodies. They added much to a score that was an outstanding mix of the old, the new, and the last of a three-decade tradition that also pointed to changes in the future.

Cellos and Electric Guitars

Arguably, the Dalton debut was the 007 film that employed more musical elements than any other. For one thing, the principal, and only, love interest was an international-standard cellist named Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo). Throughout the movie, she’s seen performing concert pieces like Mozart’s “40th Symphony in G minor” when Bond first sees her.

Later, Bond tells Kara her performance of Borodin’s “String Quartet in D major” was exquisite. Other classical pieces, actually played by Stefan Kropfitsch, who provided all the cello performances, included Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo Variations” and Dvořák’s “cello concerto in B minor” for the film’s finale where we see Barry as conductor. (Newton)

And that cello – dubbed the “Lady Rose” – wasn’t just any musical instrument. After Bond is forced to rescue Kara’s Stradivarius, the huge case is problematic for the couple’s escape from the conservatoire until Bond and Kara hop on top and sled on it across the Czechoslovakian border.

Then, as always, there was the Bond title song, this time written by John Barry and Pal Waaktaar, performed by the latter’s band, A-ha. Ray Still had recommended this Norwegian band to Michael G. Wilson, who had been involved with the Duran Duran title song for A View to a Kill (Leonard).

Repeating his troubles with Duran Duran, Barry and A-ha did not collaborate well, resulting in two versions of the theme song. Barry had minimal involvement with the original A-ha track, writing only “the instrumental hook which opens the track and arranged the orchestral accompaniment.” (Southall)

Stephen Woolston believes the teen band had little “understanding of the James Bond world, and whose willingness to learn about it, seemed thin.” According to Barry, the experience was “like playing ping-pong with four balls.” He was even less pleased with their attitude following completion of the theme song when they refused to have anything further to do with the film.

From one account, A-ha liked the idea of working with Barry but afterwards described it as “a strange experience – the song is not really a favourite in its current form!” (Leonard) However in 2006, Waaktaar complimented Barry’s contributions. “I loved the stuff he added to the track, I mean it gave it this really cool string arrangement. That’s when for me it started to sound like a Bond thing.” (Wikipedia) (Note 1)

Critic Stephen Woolston believes Barry’s experience with A-ha lead to his using the title theme minimally in the score. Perhaps “to push back at the producers by showing he still had the knack of writing his own James Bond songs, Barry worked with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders to produce two other songs.” Both would have more inclusion in the film score than any use of the A-ha melody.

Barry and Hynde

In 1986, singer/guitarist Chrissie Hynde, once again, formed a new backup band using the handle of “The Pretenders.” The line-up now included Robbie McIntosh (guitar), T.M. Stevens (bass), and Blair Cunningham (drums). This version of the band issued its first release, Get Close, in November, and according to Wikipedia, the single “Don’t Get Me Wrong” was “helped by a popular video homage to the television series The Avengers.”

About this time, Filmtrax says, John Barry decided that instead of repeating the main song at the end of the next 007 film, “a song version of the love theme would be more appealing.” (Filmtracks) Barry commented, “I thought it would be lovely at the end of the movie, instead of going back to the main title song, to have a love ballad which is the love theme that I used throughout the four or five love scenes in the picture.” (Leonard)

What would become “If There Was a Man” by Barry with lyrics by Hynde led to a third song, “Where Has Everybody Gone” as performed by The Pretenders, again the lyrics by Hynde, music by John Barry.

According to Geoff Leonard, both The Pretenders tracks were recorded with synthesised backing at Paradise Studios in Chiswick, London. Distinguished by Hynde’s sultry vocals and a guitar lead either played by Hynde or McIntosh, “Where Has Everybody Gone?” is only heard on the soundtrack LP. “Whether or not Barry campaigned for this song for the film’s main titles, it didn’t make it, though a section of it does appear briefly as source music.” (Woolston)

Before the end credits in The Living Daylights, Hynde’s voice is only heard as a musical signature for the assassin Necros (Andreas Wisniewski). We hear the song first with Necros listening to it on his Walkman, and twice later over the same device. (A handy Walkman for an assassin as Necros strangled his victims with the headphone cord.) But Barry’s instrumental use of the melody is one of the important action themes throughout the film, recaptured on the CD tracks “Necros Attacks” and “Inflight Fight.”

On the other hand, by the time we hear The Pretenders’ version of “If I Had a Man,” careful listeners will have identified it as the love theme for Kara. The CD release includes instrumental versions such as “‘Approaching Kara’ [which] very subtly suggests the melody in a slightly darker piece, but then ‘Kara Meets Bond’ expands upon it, there’s a pop instrumental style arrangement in ‘Into Vienna’ . . . and an absolutely lovely orchestral arrangement in the alternate end title.” (Southall) (Note 2)

The Final Score

Beyond the songs themselves as performed by A-ha and The Pretenders, John Barry distinguished his last Bond score by incorporating the new material into the majority of the background music. “Given the unprecedented presence of three songs for this film,” Stephen Woolston says, “the thematic basis is incredibly strong, with almost all of the tracks building in some way either on one of the four themes [including the 007 guitar theme], journeying them from establishment through variation to conclusion. Barry supplemented these with minor themes for the film’s Afghanistan adventure, notably the dreamy ‘Mujahadin and Opium’. The result is a very rewarding theatre of musical story-telling that excites and romances, and drags for not one minute of its hour-plus length.” (Woolston)

Barry had started work on The Living Daylights in May 1987 and “the score was recorded digitally on a 24-track machine during one week, once again at CTS, Wembley.” Barry was impressed with this format, later recalling that he had recorded the very first digital film soundtrack, Disney’s The Black Hole. “I love digital – it’s just that much better than analogue, everything major I’ve done has been onto digital.” (Leonard)

Barry wrote some 57 minutes of music for this film in just four weeks, his normal time for a Bond movie usually under six. “Band tracks were laid down at Maison Rouge Studios in South London, and the orchestral overlays were done at CTS. The tapes were finally remixed at the Power Station in New York.” (Leonard)

The fact the expanded CD soundtrack is 65 minutes for a 130-minute film indicates just how much Barry contributed in so short a time, and this doesn’t include the classical passages mentioned above. Very little “stock” music from previous films is in the mix. In addition, Barry updated the thematic material by adding electronic sounds he hadn’t used in his previous largely orchestral arrangements. Geoff Leonard noted that most of the score used synthesised rhythm tracks about which Barry said, “I wanted to put in these tracks and they really cut through. We’ve used them on about eight pieces and when we got them mixed in with the orchestra it sounded really terrific with a lot of energy and impact a slight freshness and a more up-to-date sound.” (Leonard)

This new punch was evident in the pre-title sequence, “Exercise at Gibraltar”, and mixed throughout subsequent scenes in between Barry’s trademark flutes, brass, and violin passages. As Damned Rodan noted –

. . . to add emphasis and give the score a more contemporary sound, a number of tracks featured a uniquely 80s’ techno beat, such as “Necros Attacks,” “Ice Chase,” and “‘Assassin’ and ‘Drugged’” . . . Despite what might seem a dated effort some 16 years later, the soundtrack holds up remarkably well, and even foreshadows the sharp, techno-driven scores of David Arnold for Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day. (Dan)

The score was first released on vinyl and CD in 1987, the next-to-last Bond soundtrack to also appear as an old-fashioned long-playing record album. Rykodisc reissued an expanded disc in 1998, and again by EMI in 2003. (Note 3)

After The Living Daylights, Michael Kamen and then Eric Serra briefly took over the 007 composition duties before, on the recommendation of John Barry, David Arnold scored 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies. He has written each 007 soundtrack since, including 2006’s Casino Royale. As it happened, in 1997 Arnold produced The David Arnold James Bond Project: Shaken and Stirred (Sire Records). For this album featuring new versions of the themes from various James Bond films, Chrissie Hynde sang her version of Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die.”

Notes ~

Note 1 – According to Wikipedia, Barry’s film mix is heard on the soundtrack and the A-ha greatest hits collection Headlines and Deadlines. The A-ha preferred mix can be heard on their 1988 album Stay on These Roads. The song didn’t achieve the success of Duran Duran’s A View to a Kill – on which it was modeled – on the US and UK charts, but it made the Top Ten in both countries.

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Note 2 –The Pretenders version did almost as well as the A-ha title track. It was on the charts for six weeks, topping out at #49.

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Note 3 – Complaints about the new version focus on the new tracks being added at the end of the original album and not incorporated chronologically in the sequence. The 1998 CD had a short jpg video clip of the Aston Martin car chase on the frozen lake.

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As all the music discussed here is easily available on CD or accessible from multiple sources for download, I won’t list them here.

Damned Rodan’s James Bond Soundtrack CD Index includes the album track listings as well as the lyrics to all three songs. See below.

The lyrics for The Living Daylights are also posted at the website Lyrics Wikia.

The lyrics for “If I Had a Man” are also posted at the website Pretenders Lyrics.

Find out more about the life and career of John Barry on his official website, John Barry – The Man With the Midas Touch.

Sources ~

Damned Rodan’s James Bond Soundtrack CD Index

Filmtracks. “The Living Daylights (John Barry)

Leonard, Geoff. “Bond By Barry: The Story of James Bond Music” (Part 2 of 2); Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang!

Newton, Matthew. “The Bond Film Informant: The Living Daylights

Southall, James. “The Living Daylights: Fantastic action score is Barry’s most dynamic for Bond since the 60s

Various articles at Wikipedia

Woolston, Stephen. “The Living Daylights (Remastered) – Music from the Movies