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The great Bond title song that never was

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by the_pauley, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Was just making a compilation of Bond theme songs when this story came to mind.

    "Tomorrow Never Dies" contains probably the greatest latter day Bond song (possibly one of the best ever), but it isn't the title song, and yet once it was...

    It can't have escaped the attention anyone watching this movie that the closing song, "Surrender" by kd lang, kicks seven shades of **** out of Cheryl Crow's anaemic title offering. It is a classic Bond song in the greatest Barry/Bassey tradition, with the mighty lang voice delivering a stunning performance.

    What is not widely known however, is that the song was originally called "Tomorrow Never Dies" and was intended by David Arnold as the title song. Turn the sound down on the DVD and play the lang song over the opening credits and you'll see it's a perfect fit. Despite Arnold's protests the producers over-ruled him and rather hastily (as you can tell :rolleyes: ) commissioned a last minute replacement from Crow.

    Arnold fumed greatly about this at the time, but was always strangely silent as to the reasons for his original song's removal.

    However, there was a very strong whisper at the time that the movie's producers' became "nervous" about lang's "image", not quite gelling with the Bond franchise. Translation she's a butch lesbian. Word was that they actually feared this could harm the movie's box-office and a replacement was ordered and kd was relegated to the closing credits.

    If this story is true (and no one concerned has ever publicly offered a reason for the song's removal) then it speaks volumes to the idiocy of the corporate mind. All that came to mind for myself and about half a dozen friends when hearing this song at the end of the movie was "Wow! Now that's the best Bond song I've heard in years!" followed quickly by "Why the **** isn't it at the beginning of the movie?".

    "Lesbian" was the last thing that entered anyone's mind...

    Got to be one of the all time great Bond songs and a crying shame that it's relegated to the end titles, especially considering the wet-lettuce of a tune that replaced it... :(
     
  2. GalacticaActual

    GalacticaActual
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    yes , I must admit, I have thought about this before and much prefered the end credit music than the openeing theme.
    Didnt licence to kill also have a different end credit piece of music to the openening one as well?
     
  3. Garrett

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    It did but it was definitely not suitable for a opening credit as it was very tame. I was not too over keen on the opening title son for this film either although Gladys Knight was one of my favourite from 70’s/60’s (yes I got that the right way round).
    Living Daylights also had a end song by Chrissie Hines. Living Daylights is not only my favourite Bond film but has the best Bond soundtrack in my opinion, although probably not the best opening tune.
    AS to the opening song of Tomorrow Never Dies I thought it stunk, on fist hearing it I though the tracking of the soundtrack had got out of synchronization.
     
  4. Nobber22

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    I hate how they cut through the action in every Bond film with a song and credits. :mad: I'd rather the action just kept on going. I always fast-forward throught the credits and get back to the film asap.

    Actually I have always considered a film's opening credits to be a pointless, personal back-slap for those who worked in the making of the film. I don't give a monkey's who the Associate Director was or which woman was responsible for the costumes. Leave that crap until after the film, when someone who actually cares can scroll through to find out who was Key Grip on the London location. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Mr.The.Spoon

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    Despite people's feelings on the opening song in Die Another Day, I thought the opening credits were fantastic.
    There you have the indestructible Bond being repeatedly tortured and he seems to only be able to cope with it by hallucinating about scantily clad women :)
    If the torture had been in open movie rather than the credits, I think it would've had a higher certification and wouldn’t have had the same affect on the audience.
     
  6. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Blasphemy!!! :eek:

    These are Bond opening credits we're talking about here! As much a part of the 007 experience as the girls and gadgets! :nono:
     
  7. Lex

    Lex
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    There is a very simple answer to this question: the Sheryl Crow song is superb, whilst the KD Lang song sucks ass... sorted.
     
  8. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Juxtapose those names and you've got it Lexie! :smashin:
     
  9. Lex

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    Whilst it is possible to debate the artistic merits of movies, I can't help but feel that music is just a matter of personal taste... I really don't like the KD Lang song, whilst the sheryl crow song is one of my fave bond songs ever :)
     
  10. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    For my money the Crow song was the first of a run of three (and counting) positively inappropriate Bond title songs.

    For me the reason that the lang song works and the Crow one doesn't is that the lang song in every way - composition, lyrics, arrangement and vocal performance - is the perfect blend of form and content.

    In other words it is infinitely more suited to the task at hand in that it is a musical expression of the scale and scope of the subject matter in question.

    It quite simply spells out B-O-N-D in big letters. Note how phrases from its melody are constantly used to perfectly underscore the action scenes throughout the movie. Can you even imagine any part of the Crow song being suitable for those same scenes? The tempo and feel is too languid for starters.

    Arnold manages a deft feat with "Surrender" in that he composes an original melody, yet within seconds it spells Bond. It very cleverly achieves a trademark Bond sound and feel without using any Bond music that we've heard before, such as the 007 theme, but rather uses all of the sounds and arranging leitmotifs that we associate with classic John Barry Bond music.

    The cupped trumpets, the musical stings combining brass and percussion in sync, the underlying slow-paced counter melody from the strings, and not forgetting the huge, powerhouse, female vocal. Barry had Bassey and Arnold has lang, a voice more than up to the task of filling the Welsh lady's shoes.

    The lyric also cleverly reflects the sexual undercurrent of classic Bond songs such as Goldfinger and Thunderball in that the subject matter has an ambiguity, in that it could be about the Jonathan Pryce villain in the movie or a controlling sexual relationship.

    The song is not only a perfect marriage of form and content in its suitability to the movie, but it is a perfect marriage of form and content in relation to music and lyrics. Musically, lyrically, and arrangement-wise it is tight, controlled and focused.

    Everything the Crow song is not. In comparison "Tomorrow Never Dies" is thematically unfocused musically and lyrically. It meanders both melodically and in terms of mood. It wanders uneasily between Crow's singer/songwriter style and American '60s TV crime show music. Listen to the chorus - Perry Mason theme anyone? The instrumental bridge 2/3 of the way through is particularly unfocused and weak. The song says everything except "James Bond".

    In addition it's stubborn refusal to move in any way interestingly out of a minor key for virtually the duration of the entire song keeps its tone firmly in the doldrums.

    I like Sheryl Crow's work, but in terms of vocal prowess compared to lang her voice is positively anaemic. Listen how her voice strains to almost a shreik (virtually falsetto) on the upper notes of the chorus, whereas lang can effortessly stride up the octaves reaching notes that Crow could never hope to aspire to, yet all the while maintaing the timbre present in her lower register. And just listen to that closing note! Right up there with Bassey's "He loves GOOOOOOLLLLLLD!"

    The subject matter is big, dynamic and spectacular and the music should reflect that. It needs a powerhouse title song and a powerhouse vocal performance to deliver it.

    Bono and The Edge before him with Tina Turner's Goldeneye almost had the recipe down pat. Arnold nails it squarely on the head. Crow comes nowhere near.

    That is why lang's song positively drips Bond, and why Crow's postitively drips as a Bond song.

    IMHO of course... :)
     
  11. lovemunkey187

    lovemunkey187
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    :thumbsup: totally agree.
     
  12. Lex

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    Nope. It sucks ass.


    Music is not about "form and content" it is about soul - the KD Lang song may well be "Musically and lyrically tight, controlled and focused" but it has no soul.


    Just my humble opinion of course ;)
     
  13. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Any creative / artistic endeavour - good or bad - be it music, film, painting, architecture, whatever, is very substantially about the merging of form and content. Indeed it is one of the key touchstones in any critical assessment. To flatly declare that a piece of music "...is not..." is akin to saying it has nothing to do with musical notes either...

    But you are right "soul" is extremely important too. I didn't think it needed pointing out that lang's performance of "Surrender" has innate, cool sensuality in spades, both in terms of the song and particularly the performance.

    In her own field Crow shines, but she is notoriusly unsuccessful in her occasional forays into other musical styles. A recent example being her complete misreading of Billie Holiday's "Good Morning Heartache", widely considered the only false note in Tony Bennett's otherwise excellent blues duets album, and singled out as so in more than one review. We can add spy movie chantoosy to her list of cross-genre mis-steps too, I feel...

    lang has been acclaimed (not just by critical opinion, but more significantly by her musical peers) as one of the truly great vocalists of the century, and has been frequently compared to Piaf and Patsy Cline, and much as I enjoy (and own a deal of) Cheryl Crow's body of work, comparitively there is more "soul" and musical timbre in lang's everyday speaking voice than there is in Crow's entire vocal range.

    How you can consider Cheryl Crow's perfomance (which in this particular song wanders between dirge-like lethargy and straining at the top of her vocal register - note deftly applied echo at said point in song to smooth out the edges) to be soulful and lang's performance to be lacking in the same department is frankly beyond me, and definitely a matter of opinion Lexie. One person who definitely doesn't share that opinion is the composer of the movie's score, no less...

    Something we're definitely going to have to differ on here Lexie! ;)
     
  14. Lex

    Lex
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    :smashin: :hiya: :clap:


    Would it make you even more mad if I told you that I think David Arnold sucks ass too!?! :D
    He did one half-decent (being generous) score for ID4, then repeated it note for note on Godzilla... and I find his efforts on the Bond movies to be completely bland, although to be fair I suppose John Barry was a very hard act to follow... that's no excuse for sucking ass though! :lesson:

    EDIT: didn't David Arnold do that song with Bjork for the Young Americans? ("Play Dead" I think it was called). If so I will let him off, although it was probably more Bjork than him that made it so good... :laugh:
     
  15. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Mad? Why? Am I married to the guy or a member of his fan club something? And "...even more mad..." seems to suggest that I'm mad at all. Care to point out where I've even given a hint of that? :)

    To be frank it's very difficult to give a rat's arse one way or another about the Beavis and Butthead school of musical criticism that is limited to what "...sucks ass..." and what doesn't.

    Yes he did. And I'm sure you're right - his composition of the music, arrangement of the score and his production of the record probably had nothing whatsoever to do with it being such a terrific piece of work. That stunning orchestral soundscape that the track is renowned for probably just magically appeared behind Bjork's voice out of thin air...

    Fortunately not everyone shares that opinion...

    But then what would John Barry know about it, eh? :smoke:
     
  16. Lex

    Lex
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    Geez - don't you have any sense of humour at all? :confused: I wasn't being serious! :rolleyes:
     
  17. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    :D Course I do Lexie! :D

    And on the subject of John Barry, see my latest thread on BAFTA's big cock up! :mad:
     
  18. stefmcd

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    IIRC Pulp also wrote a title song for Tomorrow never dies which obviously lost out to Crow's.

    I am sure it is available. Can't remember if its a b-side on a single or an album track.

    :)
     
  19. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    On the "Help the Aged" single as "Tomorrow Never Lies".
     
  20. GalacticaActual

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    Just to try and put it a bit more simply.
    At the end of T.N.D My self and a couple of friends all comented that the end credit song sounded more like a bond opening than the actuall song at the start. All three of us were of this opinion. Artistic merit ,or who has the better voice ,and who is the better composer is not important. The simple fact is that here were 3 film fans that like the bond movies and we all agreed that the end song should have been at the front of the movie :D
     

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