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Monty Norman - James Bond Theme




The "James Bond Theme" is the main signature theme of the James Bond films and has featured in every Eon Productions Bond film since Dr. No. The piece has been used as an accompanying fanfare to the gun barrel sequence in almost every James Bond film.
The "James Bond Theme" has accompanied the opening titles twice, as part of the medley that opens Dr. No and then again in the opening credits of From Russia with Love. It has been used as music over the end credits for Dr. NoThunderballOn Her Majesty's Secret ServiceThe World Is Not EnoughCasino Royale, and Quantum of Solace.
The song uses a surf rock style guitar riff. At the time of the first film's release, surf rock was a recent craze.
Monty Norman has been credited with writing the "James Bond Theme", and has received royalties since 1962. For Dr. No, the tune wasarranged[1] by John Barry who would later go on to compose the soundtracks for eleven James Bond films. Courts have ruled twice that the theme was written by Monty Norman despite claims and testimony by Barry that he had actually written the theme. Norman has consequently won two libel actions against publishers for claiming that Barry wrote the theme, most recently against The Sunday Times in 2001. It is generally acknowledged that Barry came up with the arrangement used in Dr. No.
Norman describes the distinctive rhythm of the guitar in the first few bars of the "James Bond Theme" as "Dum di-di dum dum". He claims that it was inspired by the song "Good Sign Bad Sign" sung by Indian characters in A House for Mr Biswas, a musical he composed based on a novel by V.S. Naipaul set in the Indian community in Trinidad. Norman showed his manuscript music from A House for Mr Biswas in a filmed interview and sang its lyrics. In 2005, Norman released an album called Completing the Circle that features "Good Sign Bad Sign", the "James Bond Theme," and a similar sounding song titled "Dum Di-Di Dum Dum." For these songs Norman added lyrics that explain the origin and history of the "James Bond Theme".
Though the "James Bond Theme" is identified with John Barry's jazz arrangement, parts of it are heard throughout Monty Norman's score for Dr. No in non-jazzy guises. Barry's arrangement is repeated ("tracked") in various scenes of the first Bond film. This is consistent with the account given by Barry and some of the film makers themselves, contained in supplementary material on the DVD release of Dr. No: Barry was called in to make an arrangement of Norman's motif after Norman had completed the score. There is no information about the distinctive ostinati, countermelodies, and bridges introduced by Barry that are juxtaposed with Norman's motif in order to flesh out the arrangement. These added musical figures have become as recognizable to listeners as Norman's motif itself, which is probably responsible for the controversy over the authorship of the "James Bond Theme" as listeners have come to know it.
The "James Bond Theme" was recorded on 21 June 1962,[1] using five saxophones, nine brass, a solo guitar and a rhythm section.[2]The guitar riff heard in the original recording of the theme was played by Vic Flick on a ParagonDeluxe guitar plugged into a Vox AC15 amp. (Flick would later play guitar on the original recording of Ron Grainer's theme music from the 1967 television series The Prisoner.) He was paid a one-off fee of £6 for recording the famous James Bond Theme riff. John Scott played the saxophone.[1]

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