“Ah, James Bond’s 50th anniversary – we’ve been expecting it.” 1

“Ah, James Bond’s 50th anniversary – we’ve been expecting it.”

From the venerated and felicitate to the fatuous and superfluous, all facets of the media world have hung tightly to the 50th anniversary of 007 celebratory behemoth.


Any tenuous link, or connection to cinema’s longest-running franchise it seems is fair game. The durable alter ego, in so many ways, of his debonair and dandy creator Ian Fleming, James Bond continues to raise a smile; the fantasy still so appealing in the way that every film in the legacy, no matter the quality, is always met with a fond welcome and box office success.

Now in its sixth decade (Dr.No premiered on October 5th 1962) and fifty year, the 23rd outing Skyfall attempts to claw back some of the nuanced traits, ticks, rawness and charm of 2006’s Casino Royal: Daniel Graig’s debut was imbued with a touch of the more gritty intimacy of that rival super-agent Jason Bourne in this heralded, “back-to-the-basics” return.

Skyfall promises much. Directed by the punctilious British film and theatre director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road), with a starring role for an oddly blonde coiffured, super bad, Javier Bardem – his role as the masochistic assassin in No Country For Old Men comes in very handy – the storyline sees MI6 itself coming under heavy attack, with the lions share of the action and plot based in London. An old adversary of the matriarchal ‘M’, played with alacrity by Dame Judi Dench, returns to throw a “Spaniard” into the matrix, as the identity data of all her terrorist cell moles are stolen by a savvy, mooning and chilling cyber-villain, Raoul Silva.

Despite the misstep cliché that was Quantum Of Solace, this new adventure looks a winner.


To tie-in with the last 50-years of Bond revelry, here are just “(00)7” interesting and notable celebratory events, musical treats and soirées that pay tribute to the cinematic spy of choice.


Skyfall Soundtrack


001: SkyfallOriginal Soundtrack by Thomas Newman (Sony Classical) – Released Monday 29th October. 

A blessing perhaps, but the full score from Skyfall is missing the orotund main theme that Adele warbles (a compromise between Tina Turner’s Goldeneye and Adele’s own MOR plastic soul).

The longest track list soundtrack to date, the David Arnold meets subtle orchestrated tense suite is richer than the last offering, yet retreads the Pierce Brosnan tenure – especially Tomorrow Never Dies.

Director Sam Meandes’s long-time musical collaborator and multi-award winning composer Thomas Newman (a BAFTA, Emmy, two Grammys and ten Academy Awards nominations) hardly strays far from the blueprint laid down for posterity by John Barry, all those years ago.

The usual bombast and heralded fanfares are kept to a bare minimum: the opening set piece (which involves a perilous motorcycle stunt through Turkey’s capital) ‘Grand Bazaar, Istanbul’ moves with ease between ambient mystique and eastern flavored instrumentation; weaving a subtle take on the signature Bond mnemonic into the Asian theme.

That very same “gun barrel” twanged identification is revived with a chorus of congas, strings and sass on ‘Breadcrumbs’.

Throughout the 30-track soundtrack Newman keeps the mood with-strained and smooth, with an emphasis on the classical. There are occasional hints at a more modern and experimental sound, with Newman’s use of tampered-down, harmonically plucked and stretched guitar renderings on tracks such as  ‘New Digs’ and ‘Quartermaster’.

An obligatory “Bond girl” (this time played by the dusky-eyed exotic Bérénice Marlohe) paean, ‘Sévérine’, gives little away, its sweeping panorama strained strings and pinning flute would fit in comfortably on any 007 soundtrack.

Handled with a professional ear for poise, tempo and consideration, Skyfall offers few surprises and stays well within the restrictions of the Bond template.


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002: ‘50 Years of Bond Cars: A Top Gear Special’ – Aired 9pm Monday October 29th

Any excuse to put that school boy exuberance to use, the Top Gear team piss about in a myriad of iconic cars from the Bond films for our entertainment.

Stunt(ed) driver Richard Hammond takes to the wheel of such dizzying exalted motors as the Aston Martin DBS (Goldfinger) and the semi-aquatic Lotus Esprit (a wet-dream of a beauty from The Spy Who Loved Me). Onset interviews and behind-the-scene vignettes are promised.




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003: ‘Christies James Bond Auction For Charity’ September 28th – October 8th


If you are one of the lucky few to have enough dosh to piss-up-the-wall than you to could have purchased Daniel Graig’s famous swimming “meat and two veg special” trunks for the insane price tag of $44,450 at the recent Christies 007 auction.  But hey it’s all right as it was all for charity.

The opening night featured a host of luminaries from the Bond franchise including, Roger Moore, Dame Judi Dench, Samantha Bond and the producers themselves, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.  Also making an appearance, David Walliams compered the sale of the Aston Martin DBS that featured in a Quantum Of Solace (original estimates of $100 – 150,000 were blown out of the water with the eventual $241,250). Walliams as effete and smarmy as usual, quipped that the proceeds would go towards, “the Roger Moore spray tan foundation.”

Other notable lots included a Tom Ford tailored 2-piece dinner suit, worn by Daniel Graig in Skyfall, which went for $46,850, and an Adele/Epworth signed copy of the orchestral score from the same movie that made $13,750. A respectable $1.2 million was eventually raised.



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004: ‘Bond on Bond’ Roger Moore (Michael O’Mara Books) – Available Now


Who could possibly deny the debonair and suave Roger Moore the chance to make a shilling from the franchise that made him? His anecdotal musings on the Bond legacy are collected in a light-relief book, imaginatively entitled ‘Bond On Bond’.

Older than Sean Connery when began his tenure – Moore was already forty-three when he starred in Live And Let Die – Roger finally quit after 1985’s A View to A Kill at the grand old age of 58. Always self-depreciative and mocking of his most famous role, Roger is a charismatic and charming orator – the only Bond actor to actually get the pomposity of the least secretive and clandestine spy ever.

An ambassador for a multitude of good cause, including UNICEF, we can forgive him almost anything, even his recent appearance on QVC – yes, Roger did succumb to the modern era’s pressure to flog your wares no matter how demeaning and excruciating.





005: ‘50 Years Of Bond Mini Mix’ A.Skillz & Krufty Kuts – Available now, download below


Turntable mixologist’s A.Skillz and Krufty Kuts have cut and pasted together a suitable “tongue-firmly-in-cheek” tribute to James Bond with this amusing mini mix. The fun will be in recognizing each phrase, sound bite and theme tune from the films, which have been interlaced, prodded and bent to fit into a break beat fueled lark!

For those who just wish to download the audio alone then the guys have posted it up on Soundcloud.





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006: ‘Best Of Bond…James Bond: 50 Years – 50 Tracks’ (EMI) – October 8th


An exhaustive collated compilation of Bond theme tunes, musical interludes, action sequence scores and tracks that never made the final cut, the ‘Best Of Bond’ (not the first such entitled compilation nor the last) does at least seem to, indeed, be the “best” one yet.

All the usual suspects are on show with disc one featuring all 22-movie theme tunes (omits Skyfall of course), but the second disc features some surprise choices, including John Barry’s ‘Dr.No’s Fantasy’ and the Marvin Hamlisch scored ‘The Pyramids’ scene from The Spy Who Loved Me. There’s also Scott Walker’s poignant, reflective smoky ‘Only Myself To Blame’ lament that failed to meet the Bond producers criteria for The World Is Not Enough, and K.D Lang’s moved to the end credits theme tune, ‘Surrender’.

A pretty good pick through the soundtracks, though not as good as my own choice list, which leads me to…



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007: ‘Happy Anniversary OO7: 50 Choice Musical Delights From The James Bond Soundtracks’ on Monolith Cocktail


A big old plug for my own humble, though no less important, music blog Monolith Cocktail. Over the last four months I’ve travailed and trawled through the entire catalogue of James Bond soundtrack albums and assembled my own 50 best mix of themes, suites and musical passages for your pleasure.




Feel free to disagree, argue or congratulate me.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.