Thursday, 4 August 2011

An Unofficial Soundtrack to Ian Flemming's James Bond

You know, Ladies and Gentlemen, I think its time I told you that I do have other semi-professional interests other than writing and drawing guff about Dungeons and Dragons, which I have been doing a hell of a lot recently. Writing and drawing are good, but I also have profound interest in music, be it its history or theory. I sort-of-used-to-be-able-to play the piano, currently teaching myself the guitar, and I've been a DJ on hospital radio for probably more than three years now.

The thing I like most about music though, it applying it to non musical mediums. In most cases, books and comics. Today I am going to write about applying music to a series of books you may have heard of. This series is the 'James Bond' series by Sir Ian Fleming. To complement this, I have attempted to produce a poster that combines many of the elements of the series. Click the image to see a description of what you're looking at if you can't guess.


The interesting thing about the series was how massively different they were to their (arguably) more popular cinematic counterparts. I remember reading Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, which featured a character based on Bond (but never mentioned by name). This character 'Jimmy' was an antagonist. He was misogynist to the point of sexual aggression, he was bloodthirsty, overconfident, sociopathic and borderline psychopathic at times. Having only the experience of the film Bonds at the time, I didn't see the connection. Having now read Flemings series I now see that this is almost exactly what the original character was like. On that note I'll mention I deliberately read the books visualizing the charters differently than who portrayed them in the films (most were described differently anyway) and pictured Bond himself as the original illustration from the Daily Express.

The series itself has some highs and lows. My particular favorites would be From Russia with Love, Dr. No, Thunderball and On Her Majesties Secret Service. Downers in particular would be Goldfinger, which I found pretty boring in places and leaves a pretty bad taste in the mouth after some pointless commentary on homosexuality, and then theres The Spy Who Loved Me, which is so bad it doesn't bare mentioning. Other than that, the series overall was a pleasurable experience, though much of the social commentary is dated, or just plain wrong, by modern standards, but Bond grows on you to the point where you love him and hate him in equal measure. He'd probably beat all the other Bonds hands down, but only by fighting dirty.

And so enough waffle, I give you my own personal soundtrack to Ian Flemming's James Bond series. I tired to keep music 'of the era' but did cheat a bit in places.

Casino Royale: Luck Be a Lady – Frank Sinatra

Bond plays cards, has a bad experience in the bedroom department. Twice.

Live and Let Die: I Put a Spell on You – Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Bond proves he is not quite racist, Felix gets disfigured by sharks.

Moonraker: Sky Pilot – Eric Burden and The Animals

Bond Plays cards, eats food and trips out on Benzedrine. Also something about a rocket and mustaches being evil.

Diamonds are Forever: It's a Man's Man's Man's World – James Brown

Bond fights gangsters, homosexuals, and homosexual gangsters.

From Russia With Love: Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley

"What do you propose?" "It's simple: We, uh, kill James Bond."

Dr. No: Cold Cold Heart – Hank Williams

Bond fights a tractor, a giant squid and a metal clawed Chinaman. Also we find out what 'chigros' are.

Goldfinger: A Satisfied Mind – Johnny Cash

Bond plays golf for a bit. Then manages to put an end to the robbery of Fort Knox and Lesbianism in one foul swoop.

For You're Eyes Only: Let's Hang On (To What We've Got) – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Bond find communists and villains hiding everywhere. He also finds out that marriage isn't all its cracked up to be.

Thunderball: I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire – The Ink Spots

Jimmy and Felix's grand day out.

The Spy Who Loved Me: Two Sleepy People – Hoagy Carmichael

The sexual adventures of an English socialite. Also James Bond is in there somewhere I think.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Riding Along In my Automobile – Chuck Berry

Oh man where to begin? It's literally the best week of you're life. A day at the beach, followed by The Don telling you he's now you're best friend. Then you get pissed with this guy who's just like you. Then you get sent to a ski resort full of undersexed young women. Then you get more pissed, have a go with the bob sled, meet the girl of you're dreams, take a helicopter ride and battle you're way through a mountain complex, stop the bad guys and get married. Ruined forever when you're new wife gets shot.

You Only Live Twice: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive – Hank Williams

Jimmy and Tiger's night on the town. Ruined by a clingy Japanese Girl (understatement).

The Man With the Golden Gun: Anything Goes – Cole Porter/Frank Sinatra

Brainwashed Bond tries to kill M. M sends back to Jamaica to get drunk and kill Scaramanga. A woman has sex with a giant hand. Bond turns down a knighthood.

Octopussy and The Living Daylights: In My Life – The Beatles

Bond's swan song. He ties up some loose ends, and teaches you, the reader, how to make the perfect breakfast.

All music © they're respective owners. James Bond is © Fleming and EON, whichever applicable.

It's been nice knowing you Jimmy. You fucking lunatic.

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