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COLLECTING 007 – UK Records
WRITTEN & COMPILED BY KEVIN HARPER

OFF THE RECORD

Every James Bond film from Dr. No (1962) to Licence To Kill (1989) had its original soundtrack recording issued as a 33rpm 12" Long Playing vinyl record. Beginning with the release of GoldenEye (1995) the soundtracks were only issued on Compact Disc. The resurgence in the popularity of vinyl records in recent years has resulted in the re-release of several classic James Bond soundtracks in this format, with the track listings identical to the original version.

You Only Live Twice original motion picture soundtrack/John Barry

Although the title song for each film had been issued as a 45rpm 7" single by the artistes own recording label, contractually their performance was also included on the soundtrack LP as the opening track. All James Bond soundtracks up to and including Moonraker (1979) were released by United Artists Records. Subsequent soundtracks have been issued by the title artistes own record label. The double-sided LP format also dictated the track listing of the album, with side two usually opening with an instrumental version of the main theme, or another song featured in the film. Some tracks were also edited or created from two or more separate cues featured in the film. LPs were also restricted to a playing time of around 45-minutes over the two sides and the inclusion/omission of some tracks from some scores became a source of debate among fans for many years. It was only in the 40th anniversary year of James Bond in the cinema that remastered extended Compact Disc versions of the soundtracks were released. Lukas Kendall's groundbreaking 2002 series of James Bond soundtracks issued by Capitol-EMI restored many of the missing tracks, and in some cases doubled the length of the original album. Contractually the track listings for the original part of the album remained the same, with bonus tracks appearing at the end of the programme. Some album tracks were also expanded or adapted from their original release but retained their relative place in the listing. Until the release of the expanded CDs the James Bond soundtracks available on vinyl record were the closest thing to owning the film in the days before VHS videotape and DVDs. For many fans the soundtrack albums remain an integral part of the James Bond experience and collectible items in their own right.

UK 33rpm 12" Long Playing Records

The soundtrack LPs for the first five James Bond films were issued in both mono and stereo versions, but the only changes to the record sleeve were a different catalogue number and revised lettering. Dr. No did not have a vinyl LP release in the UK until July 1965. Collectors should note that the US LP releases of Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice originally had a different track listing to their UK counterparts. The UK LP of Goldfinger omitted John Barry's jazz instrumental version of the main theme, although this did appear on the 7" EP. The US LP of Goldfinger included the jazz instrumental but omitted the tracks ‘Golden Girl’, ‘Death of Tilly’, ‘The Laser Beam’ and ‘Pussy Galore's Flying Circus’. The US LP of You Only Live Twice featured Nancy Sinatra's reprise of the title song as the last track of the album, whereas the UK version replaced this with John Barry's ‘Twice Is The Only Way To Live’. The 2002 Capitol-EMI remastered CDs restored all these missing tracks.

Licence To Kill (1989) marked the last time a James Bond soundtrack would have its first release issued on vinyl until the long-awaited No Time To Die (2021). Subsequent films have had their albums released exclusively on compact disc with the title song artistes releasing their own CD singles, padded out with remixes and redundant extended versions of the title song. Although all James Bond title themes have been released as a 7" singles since 1989; these were not all commercially available, and frequently only supplied as promotional copies.

Dr. No Original Motion Picture Sound Track Album

Dr. No Original Motion Picture Sound Track Album rear sleeve

Dr. No Original Motion Picture Sound Track Album
United Artists Records ULP 1097 Mono (July 1965)
United Artists Records SULP 1097 Stereo (July 1965)

 

Dr. No did not have its soundtrack album released when the film originally played in UK cinemas in late 1962. At this time it was unusual for films to have their orchestral score released as a standalone album unless they were based on a stage musical, or a high-profile biblical epic. It was not until after Dr. No had been released in the USA and become a substantial commercial hit, that United Artists hastily issued a soundtrack album in June 1963. The album would not be available in the UK for another two years. Compiled by UA executives, the resulting record was an odd mixture of songs featured in the film; John Barry's arrangement of the ‘James Bond Theme’ heard over the main titles and throughout the film (although never in its entirety), and just two pieces of incidental music. The tracks entitled ‘The Island Speaks’ and ‘Love at Last’ are actually featured in Dr. No, with the rest of the album made up of Jamaican music and curious unrelated tracks such as ‘Audio Bongo’ and ‘Twisting with James’, which have no connection to the finished film. With the choice of music, and naming of tracks done by people not connected to the film, the resulting album was as odd then as it is now. Whilst it was not uncommon for tracks (or indeed complete albums) to feature music inspired by a particular film, the Dr. No soundtrack stands alone as it does not really represent the music or style of the film. John Barry's own score to Zulu (1964) was only featured on the A-side of the album, with the B-side made up of upbeat jazz/pop versions of his themes. As the original Dr. No recording sessions no longer survive, any expanded release could only come from what exists on the music & effects tracks that were used to create the final sound mix for the film in 1962. Several bootleg versions purporting to be ‘expanded editions’ of the soundtrack album feature a few short pieces of music composed by Monty Norman and actually heard in the film, but these have all been sourced from the M&E track that was available on the US laserdisc of Dr. No issued by Criterion in 1991, and subsequently withdrawn after EON Productions and MGM took exception to some of the comments made on the separate commentary track by several of the filmmakers (including director Terence Young and editor Peter Hunt), and threatened legal action unless the audio track was edited. A similar M&E track (and controversial commentary) was also available on Criterion's laserdisc of Goldfinger, which therefore includes those short pieces of music composed by John Barry not featured on the original soundtrack album.

From Russia With Love Sound Track

From Russia With Love Sound Track rear sleeve

From Russia With Love Sound Track
United Artists Records ULP 1052 Mono (October 1963)
United Artists Records SULP 1052 Stereo (October 1963)

Goldfinger Original Motion Picture Score

Goldfinger Original Motion Picture Score rear sleeve

Goldfinger Original Motion Picture Score
United Artists Records ULP 1076 Mono (October 1964)
United Artists Records SULP 1076 Stereo (October 1964)

 

Thunderball Original Motion Picture Score

Thunderball Original Motion Picture Score rear sleeve

Thunderball Original Motion Picture Score
United Artists Records ULP 1110 Mono (December 1965)
United Artists Records SULP 1110 Stereo (December 1965)

 
You Only Live Twice Original Soundtrack Recording

You Only Live Twice Original Soundtrack Recording rear sleeve

You Only Live Twice Original Soundtrack Recording
United Artists Records ULP 1171 Mono (June 1967)
United Artists Records SULP 1171 Stereo (June 1967)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

On Her Majesty's Secret Service Original Motion Picture Soundtrack  rear sleeve

On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
United Artists Records UAS 29020 Stereo (December 1969)

The original UK pressing featured a gatefold sleeve with an illustration of George Lazenby as James Bond by Yves Thos

Diamonds Are Forever Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Diamonds Are Forever Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

Diamonds Are Forever
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
United Artists Records UAS 29216 Stereo (November 1971)

Live And Let Die Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Live And Let Die Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

Live And Let Die
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
United Artists Records UAS 29475 Stereo (July 1973)

 

The Man With The Golden Gun Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Man With The Golden Gun Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

The Man With The Golden Gun
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
United Artists Records UAS 29671 Stereo (December 1974)

The Spy Who Loved Me Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Spy Who Loved Me Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

The Spy Who Loved Me
Original Motion Picture Score
United Artists Records UAG 30098 Stereo (September 1977)

The original UK pressing featured a gatefold sleeve
with a selection of stills from the film

Moonraker Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Moonraker Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

Moonraker
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
United Artists Records UAG 30247 Stereo (July 1979)

 

For Your Eyes Only Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

For Your Eyes Only Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

For Your Eyes Only
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Liberty Records LBG 30337 Stereo (June 1981)

 

Octopussy Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Octopussy Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

Octopussy
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
A&M Records AMLX 64967 Stereo (June 1983)

 
A View To A Kill Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

A View To A Kill Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

A View To A Kill
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Parlophone ‎064 24 0349 1 Stereo (June 1985)

 

The Living Daylights Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Living Daylights Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

The Living Daylights
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Warner Bros Records WX 111 Stereo (June 1987)

 

Licence To Kill Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Licence To Kill Original Motion Picture Soundtrack rear sleeve

Licence To Kill
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
MCA Records MCG 6051 Stereo (July 1989)

 

Original soundtrack?
Although the James Bond albums always bear the words ‘Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [or Score]’ this is not actually the case. As with all motion picture recordings, the music heard in the film is usually different to that which appears on the soundtrack album. Two separate sessions usually take place; one where the music that the director, composer and film editor have spotted, timed and chosen for the final sound mix is recorded, and another session often with different musicians when the soundtrack album recordings are performed. Some soundtrack album recordings often combined several different tracks for a more pleasurable listening experience, omitting many of the shorter cues which only appear in the film as brief punctuation to a scene, or to support the action on screen. Composers themselves will sometimes create album versions of certain music tracks that bear little resemblance to what appeared in the film. Other cues are combined into suites, or cross-faded to create a new hybrid track.

The Spy Who Loved Me soundtrack album poster

For the release of the expanded and remastered James Bond compact discs issued by Capitol-EMI in 2002, producer Lukas Kendall in most instances had access  to the recording session master tapes, and was able to include many pieces not used on the original soundtrack album. Several cues, most notably the gunbarrel sequences, have been restored to their rightful place at the start of many tracks and most films now have this iconic piece of music included on the compact disc version of the soundtrack album. Other tracks such as the opening of ‘A Drop in the Ocean’ from You Only Live Twice and ‘Moon Buggy Ride’ from Diamonds Are Forever, now have additional passages of music included.

Perhaps the most frustrating James Bond soundtrack release is The Spy Who Loved Me composed by Marvin Hamlisch. As the soundtrack album is a re-recording, many tracks sound very different to how they appeared in the film, whilst others are unique to the LP. Even the great Bernard Herrmann, who re-recorded his own Psycho score several times, could never replicate the ferocity and tempo of the original film recording sessions. Although the Bond LPs are now for the most part greatly expanded from their original release, and appear on compact disc in vastly superior sound quality to the earlier releases, many audiophiles are returning to the long playing record format, and several soundtracks have been reissued on vinyl in recent years. Naturally the LP format means fewer tracks, but sometimes less is more. Many classic albums have a much better listening experience in their shorter version than those expansions with every single note of music placed in the correct running order. The recent expanded re-releases of David Arnold's The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day from US label LaLaLand Records have everything fans could possibly want and more, now spread across two CDs. Although the master tapes for The Man With The Golden Gun do exist and were available to Lukas Kendall in 2002, there were insufficient funds remaining to complete the project and they went back on the shelf. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll see further expanded remastered James Bond CDs, as there is still much unreleased music from the earlier films that deserves to be heard.

Read the full fascinating
story behind the album regarded by some music
critics as the
finest-sounding
LP of all time!

 

There is one James Bond record however that always stood head and shoulders above all else, and whose sound quality on vinyl made it one of the most sought-after recordings of all time. The film is the one that most fans prefer to forget, but who can forget the outstanding quality of the music? It can only be 1967's Casino Royale - the film that was too much for one James Bond!

Tijuana-What Brass!

   

UK EPs and Compilation albums

US Soundtrack albums


FACT FILES INDEX

 

FACT FILES The James Bond Films