As befits its sideways status, it has a naïve romance to it that pairs better with lovestruck Peter Sellers than smirking Sean Connery. David then defected to the official movies to write, with Barry, the touching lyrics for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service love song “We Have All the Time in the World”—as warbled by the incomparable Louis Armstrong, a fitting match for the only properly romantic movie in the series.
Roger Moore and Barbara Bach star in The Spy Who Loved Me Carly Simon’s 1977 “Nobody Does It Better”, from The Spy Who Loved Me, is in a similar vein—its relaxed tempo and triumphantly soppy lyrics perfectly tuned to the era of Love Story (it was written by ubiquitous ‘70s composer Marvin Hamlisch—“But like heaven above me/The Spy Who Loved Me/Is keepin’ all my secrets safe tonight”).
The sincerity and charm of all three haven’t even been dented by their incessant abuse by clip-show compilers, Guinness ad-men, Kanye West and Jay-Z, or corporate PowerPoint presenters—a true testament to their undimmed majesty.
After the chart-topping heights of “A View to a Kill”, Duran Duran’s masterful mood piece (and a-Ha’s slightly less impressive follow-up for 1987’s The Living Daylights, whose synth-keyboard accompaniment gives me a Pavlovian urge for Special K whenever I hear it), the series settled into a musical pattern of irrelevant soft-rock.
From Licence to Kill right through to Quantum of Solace’s duet “Another Way to Die”, the songs archly combine the subjects of Goldfinger and Thunderball by warning the listener of the dangers of James Bond himself.