Columnist Michael Coate was kind enough to ask me to join his roundtable of Bond experts, all chiming in for The Digital Bits on the impact of Goldfinger, which opened 50 years ago this week. My role, of course, was mostly to talk about the song and the score, which still resonate today. Most of these guys are old friends and I’m glad to be in their company.
… that is, mi6-hq.com, which bills itself as “the home of James Bond 007.” It’s a widely visited Bond website with lots of Bond movie news. We did an email interview to help promote the paperback edition of my book The Music of James Bond, now out with a new chapter devoted to the music of Skyfall.
My old friend Jonathan McHugh was kind enough to invite me on his program to talk about the newly issued paperback version of The Music of James Bond. We covered a lot of ground in 20 minutes, including the backstory of the book, some of the fun stories associated with 007 music, and a bit about my teaching at USC. McHugh is a top music supervisor and attracts a lot of top industry people to his show, so I was especially pleased that he called.
Carl Davis has composed a new score for the 1923 Harold Lloyd classic Why Worry? at the TCM Classic Film Festival and the Turner folks very kindly asked me to conduct an hour-long interview with him yesterday at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
Carl, who is American but has been based in London for many years, has had a long and distinguished career writing for all kinds of movies and TV but has specialized in silent films. He explained the process and some of the technical complexities involved, and regaled the audience with anecdotes about working in the business for so long. (Here are some highlights from the conversation.) On a personal note, I was able to chat with him about his side specialty, conducting concerts of James Bond music in England and across Europe (he is quoted in my book The Music of James Bond).
He conducted 18 musicians that evening, live to picture, at the Egyptian Theatre down the street. True to form for this veteran composer, the score brightened, propelled, and lent additional humor to the film.
Veteran U.K. broadcaster Tommy Pearson asked me to join his two-hour Classic FM radio broadcast on the music of James Bond. The catch: he would be in London with Skyfall composer Thomas Newman and five-film Bond composer David Arnold, while I was in L.A. at the studios of KUSC-FM. It was all done live over two hours, with classic 007 music bits interspersed with the conversation. Amusingly, there was a camera in the L.A. studio (no one told me, or I’d have donned something other than an old T-shirt) so that the live audience in London could see me. Anyway, it was all great fun. Here’s an overview of the show; and more photos are here.
I am not sure YouTube has the right to air this, but it’s been seen an awful lot (and it’s in high-def!) so I am beginning to think either nobody cares or the rights are problematic. In any case, here is part 1 (of 14!) of the best television documentary ever made on the songs of 007. I was happy to participate (I’m more in the second half than the first). The droll narrator and the generally amusing tone make up for the unfortunate “countdown” format and the various idiocies perpetrated throughout (Alice Cooper, for example). It’s nearly two hours long but it’s so much fun that it’s worth your time. John Barry is delightfully candid, and he’s not the only one; producer Stephen Franklin convinced a lot of people to go on camera and be honest about their experiences (and their opinions).