My friends at Village Underground posted a link on their Facebook page to the video below on You Tube shortly after it was announced that John Barry, the music’s composer, had died. Its nice to know that the people who run one of the ‘coolest’ venues in London have a similar appreciation to mine of the man’s music.
I love the music’s sense of drama, romance and vulnerability — a little like the atmosphere I’d like to convey in certain parts of my novel. If Village Underground like the track then so will Kim, who would appreciate its archetypal sixties nostalgia without being remotely naff or cheesy. It apparently originally started off as the music for a Sunsilk shampoo commercial in the 1960s but was also used elsewhere — including in the Bond film which has my joint favourite John Barry theme — Nancy Sinatra’s superb ‘You Only Live Twice’ — a song that has the most unexpected melody.
My other favourite is Lulu’s hilarious ‘Man With the Golden Gun’ which is so packed more full of double entendres than the whole script of a Roger Moore Bond film. The subject of the song has ‘got a powerful weapon’, ‘who will he bang?’ with his ‘golden shot’ — lines that Lulu sings with such verve.
What I really liked about John Barry’s music, particularly his Bond music, is how he managed to work in recurring themes and motifs. I always admired how songs like Duran Duran’s ‘View to a Kill’ wove in the original Bond theme. His work also had the quality of being commercial and accessible but simultaneously often quite unconventional — such as using the harmonica in ‘Midnight Cowboy’ or the cimbalom in ‘The Ipcress Files’.