“Writing’s on the Wall” is the theme song for the next James Bond film, “Spectre,” which has its world premiere on October 26, 2015. Here’s a look at the iconic music of James Bond franchise, as presented on the release “Best of Bond…James Bond: 50 Years-50 Tracks.”
It’s the first anniversary package since 1992’s “The Best of James Bond: 30th Anniversary.” And in some ways the 2 CD Limited Edition version of the 1992 set is actually better than this new version. The liner notes are more comprehensive, for one thing. In the 1992 set, there’s a short write up for each track, and release and chart information is provided — something lacking in the new edition.
The bonus tracks on the 1992 set are also more interesting. You get both Dionne Warwick’s and Shirley Bassey’s versions of “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” for example (the title is taken from the phrase Italians used to describe Mr. Bond; the song was originally going to be used in the film “Thunderball” but was cut, and Tom Jones sang the title song); the new set only gives you Bassey’s version. The 1992 set also has demos of “Goldfinger” and “You Only Live Twice,” which are great to have. It’s curious they weren’t recycled on the new set, since the intention was to have it be 50 tracks as tie in with the 50th anniversary. The demos would certainly have been preferable to the instrumental themes used on the Best of Bond as padding.
So, what do you get? Well, all the theme songs from the Bond films that came out after “License to Kill”: “GoldenEye” (by Tina Turner), “Tomorrow Never Dies” (Sheryl Crow), “The World is Not Enough” (Garbage), “Die Another Day” (Madonna), “You Know My Name” from “Casino Royale” (Chris Cornell), and “Another Way to Die” from “Quantum of Solace” (Jack White & Alicia Keyes). The music’s also been remastered, giving it more “oomph.”
Aside from Tina Turner’s “GoldenEye,” the new songs tend to not be as much fun. There was often a tongue-in-cheek, kitschy element to the ‘60s songs in particular, such as “From Russia With Love,” “Thunderball,” and “Goldfinger” (which is the best Bond theme song, bar none). Though surely people can debate the best Bond song as they debate who the best Bond is.
If your interest is in the rarities, the 1992 set truly is the “Best.” But the new Best Of Bond release also comes in a single disc edition (and as a digital download). So if you’re just interested in picking up a collection of all the Bond theme songs, the 2012 single disc set will fill the bill nicely.