It’s a shame that one of the most iconic moments in Bond history is blighted with this turgid, pandering-to-the-times, piece of artificial bullshit titled Bond ’77. You think it couldn’t get any worse, but then halfway through Bond ’77 – and really, calling the song that just irks of self-importance as though everybody was waiting for the theme tune to be updated – we get a horn part. It’s not a horn part in the style of John Barry (who must be vomiting in the cinema aisle at this very moment); it’s a horn part in the style of K.C. & The Sunshine Band. Only worse.
Then old James’ parachute opens and it’s alright. Hamlisch’s delicate piano introduction kicks in and we get one of the better theme songs in the series, courtesy of Carly Simon. The rest of the soundtrack isn’t that bad actually. It’s always been one of my favourite Bond films, and would probably be my firm favourite if Barry was in the composer’s chair.
The first appearance of Jaws, the launch of a white Lotus Esprit off a jetty into the ocean, a super hot Bond Girl (the future Mrs. Ringo Starr), the fight sequences in Egypt and on Stromberg’s Atlantis; this film has everything. In fact, it’s the film where Roger Moore really hits his stride and becomes his own Bond. If Live And Let Die was a transitional film, and The Man With The Golden Gun was a film where his performance was too close to Connery’s, The Spy Who Loved Me finds Moore raising his eyebrows and filling the screen with his natural, smarmy charm.
“That was Bill Withers who, thank the Lord, is still with us” – Alan Partidge.
I love a bit of Bill – who doesn’t? He’s one of those singers that, even when singing what is essentially a soppy love song, he comes across as a hard bastard. Looking on his Wikipedia page, he was born in Slab Fork, West Virginia. How masculine does that sound? “My name’s Bill, and I come from Slab Fork.” He sounds like he was chiselled out of granite. You wouldn’t mess with him, that’s for sure.
I’m not sure what he’s been doing since 1985 – the year of his last record (and even that was six since the previous one) – but these ‘best of’ compilations keep churning out (there are eight compilations listed on Wikipedia, against eight studio albums).
Wikipedia reports that he runs a publishing company in Beverly Hills. It’s a shame that he doesn’t record any more, although I guess it might be a very good thing – recording a respectable body of work, and then leaving the music business. Why don’t other people do that sort of thing – and I’m talking to you, Paul McCartney!
Alan Partridge: ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’. What a great song. It really encapsulates the frustration of a Sunday, doesn’t it? You wake up in the morning, you’ve got to read all the Sunday papers, the kids are running round, you’ve got to mow the lawn, wash the car, and you think “Sunday, bloody Sunday!”. Aidan Walsh: I really hate to do this to you, Alan, but it’s actually a song about… Paul Tool: Yeah, bloody Sunday is actually about a massacre in Derry in 1972. Alan Partridge: A massacre? Ugh. I’m not playing that again.
I have four favourite U2 songs. Two of them are on this album. Both times I have seen U2 play live, I have been willing them to play Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Year’s Day – and both times they’ve played both songs. My other two favourite songs are (Pride) In The Name Of Love, which they only played the first time I saw them, and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, which they only played the second time I saw them.
I really wish they had kept making albums like this and The Unforgettable Fire – they lost something (their sense of humour?) from The Joshua Tree onwards.