James Bond Soundtracks 1962 to 1969
1970 to 1989 / 1995 to Today

A great deal has already been said about the Bond soundtracks elsewhere so suffice it to say that musically, the Bond scores of the 60's were perfection. The Bond factory was at its best and we'll probably never see or hear anything like it again. The first film, Dr. No (1962), hit the screens with a score by Monty Norman who gets legal credit for writing the James Bond theme, but it was arranged by John Barry who probably made it one of the most recognizable pieces of music in the world. Barry took over the scoring duties for "From Russia With Love" (1963), "Goldfinger" (1964), "Thunderball" (1965), "You Only Live Twice" (1967), and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969).

Nineteen sixty-seven was a good year for Bond fans. Not only did we get "You Only Live Twice", but "Casino Royale" (1967) also hit the theaters with a score by Burt Bacharach and a theme played by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. While the LP was famous for it's audiophile qualities, the score has been released on CD several times. Most recently on the Quartet and Kritzerland labels. All are re-mastered from original tapes with a couple of extra tracks as well as transfers from mint original LPs. Quartet's 2021 50th Anniversary release includes the hard to find 45 version of Mike Redway's vocal of the theme making it the most complete.

A two CD "30th Anniversary Limited Edition" released in the 90's contained one disc of film themes and another with great unreleased material from "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball". Most of it is on the remastered CDs now, but there is an unreleased version of "Goldfinger" recorded by Anthony Newly and a "Thunderball" suite with a little music NOT on the re-mastered CD. Not to mention two versions of "Mr. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang" by Dionne Warwick and Shirley Bassey (originally intended as the title theme) and a completely different version of "You Only Live Twice" recorded in 1966 by Julie Rogers.

Of course, the final word on the Bond Music phenomenon would have to be "The Music Of Bond" by John Burlingame. Absolute must reading for any Bond music fan. The hardback covers all the films up to "Quantum of Solace" with an added chapter on "Skyfall" in the more recent softcover version.

A few notes...

  • The re-mastered soundtracks are exquisite! Goldfinger includes all the tracks from the American and British releases. Thunderball includes the original stereo LP music plus the alternate Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang from the mono LP and a slew of unreleased bonus tracks. YOLT and OHMSS have nearly complete scores. It's almost more than a 007 geek can stand!

    • Fanatic record collectors will want to note that the "Mr. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang" cuts on "Thunderball" are different on the mono and stereo LP releases. Both are on the re-mastered CD.

    • The British and American LP releases of "You Only Live Twice" have different final tracks. The British release has an instrumental titled "Twice Is The Only Way To Live" while the American release has "You Only Live Twice- End Title" with the Nancy Sinatra vocal. (Both are on the re-mastered CD)

    • There are single versions of "Goldfinger" and "YOLT" that are different than the soundtrack versions and can be found on compilation CDs by Shirley Bassey and Nancy Sinatra.

    • In the German film release of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", the song "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown" is sung in German by Katja Ebstein. This is on a hard to find 45.