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Topic: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

They were the biggest band in the world in the '60s and the only thing more popular than Bond itself.

So, I wonder, why weren't the Beatles enlisted to write and record a Bond song?

My Top 10 Bonds: Octopussy, Goldeneye, From Russia With Love, Tomorrow Never Dies, Licence to Kill, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights, Moonraker, Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me.

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

By the time the Beatles were a worldwide sensation, John Barry was in charge of Bond themes. Because of that, Barry was the only one writing Bond themes. LTK was the first time a Bond song and score were not connected. At the time of Goldfinger, the Beatles were a band for teenagers, so despite their popularity it was not the right thing for Bond. By the time of YOLT and OHMSS they were a very mature band, but they would not have appealed to Broccoli and Saltzman, and probably not to Barry either. Tom Jones and Nancy Sinatra were also tremendous stars, so it’s not like Bond was getting unknowns to perform the themes.

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

I didn't know that about LTK- one of my faves!

Was that because Barry thought that Aha were a pain in the proverbial on TLD?

I suppose you're right that the Beatles wouldn't have appealed to Eon. Both Broccoli and Saltzman were middle-aged and wouldn't have liked them. Tom Jones, on the other hand, had a style they would have recognized. A more bombastic Frank Sinatra, perhaps.

Always thought the earmuffs line in GF would've alienated many youths in the audience ajb007/smile

My Top 10 Bonds: Octopussy, Goldeneye, From Russia With Love, Tomorrow Never Dies, Licence to Kill, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights, Moonraker, Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me.

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

I think, that The Beatles would have been a totally different payleague than Tom Jones for example.
Additionally, they may have insisted writing their own song which may have been inacceptable for John Barry back then.

And lets remember, back in the day, you either where a Beatles Guy or a Stones Guy, so either choice would have alienated 50% of the audience.

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

DavidJones wrote:

I didn't know that about LTK- one of my faves!

Was that because Barry thought that Aha were a pain in the proverbial on TLD?

Barry didn't work on LTK because of his throat issues, and who knows why Michael Kamen wasn't chosen to write a theme.

If Barry was in good health and did come back for LTK, I'm sure he would have demanded greater control over the title theme after what happened with A-ha. Barry would not do a film if he couldn't write the theme.

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

Because nobody would have listened to them without earmuffs.

"I'm afraid I'm a complicated woman. "
"- That is something to be afraid of."

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

They had a formula, why mess with it?

They did for LALD and got Macca in, but they were trying something different then with Moore, see also the George Martin soundtrack, and maybe it's Martin who got Macca on board.

Until then, Bond music was cabaret or Vegas type stuff, and it suited the movies. The Beatles just didn't.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

Napoleon Plural wrote:

maybe it's Martin who got Macca on board.

Nope, the other way round NP.

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

Matt S wrote:

By the time the Beatles were a worldwide sensation, John Barry was in charge of Bond themes. Because of that, Barry was the only one writing Bond themes. LTK was the first time a Bond song and score were not connected.

Well, Barry didn't write the theme for the first Bond movie he scored! ajb007/smile

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

emtiem wrote:
Matt S wrote:

By the time the Beatles were a worldwide sensation, John Barry was in charge of Bond themes. Because of that, Barry was the only one writing Bond themes. LTK was the first time a Bond song and score were not connected.

Well, Barry didn't write the theme for the first Bond movie he scored! ajb007/smile

Officially, no. Barry was also just starting out and had little power to get what he wanted.

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

Matt S wrote:
emtiem wrote:
Matt S wrote:

By the time the Beatles were a worldwide sensation, John Barry was in charge of Bond themes. Because of that, Barry was the only one writing Bond themes. LTK was the first time a Bond song and score were not connected.

Well, Barry didn't write the theme for the first Bond movie he scored! ajb007/smile

Officially, no.

'Officially'? I've never heard any suggestion that it wasn't Bart's work...?

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

emtiem wrote:
Matt S wrote:
emtiem wrote:

Well, Barry didn't write the theme for the first Bond movie he scored! ajb007/smile

Officially, no.

'Officially'? I've never heard any suggestion that it wasn't Bart's work...?

Barry arranged the theme, as Bart was unable to read or write music. I have heard that Barry put something of his own into the song.

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

As Matt says, Lionel Bart couldn't read or write music. He would demonstrate his melodies by either humming them or picking them out one-fingered on a piano to an orchestrator, who would then write them down and add chords * (possibly Bart would be asked if he liked this or that chord). The chord sequence to FRWL is reasonably varied and certainly beyond the abilities of a one-fingered pianist.

It should be noted that after the, er, situation with the DN score Cubby Broccoli approached John Barry to write the score for FRWL while Harry Saltzman asked Lionel Bart to come up with the title song. GF was the first time Barry was given the whole score to do (the whole enchilada, The Bond Experience?  ajb007/biggrin ). 

The vocal version of FRWL, as sung superbly by Matt Monro, was orchestrated by Johnnie Spence- JB had nothing to do with this, despite it turning up on various compilation albums bearing his name. The instrumental main title version was, however, very much in JB's hands. He added an intro and coda ("James Bond Is Back"), re-orchestrated the whole piece including the use of different chords from Spence, and threw in the "bebop" section of the Bond Theme at the end- hence leading to the rather complicated composer credit for the music used in the title sequence.

* this is similar to Monty Norman's method. On a personal note, as a small-time composer (two albums available on iTunes etc, third one in process) I find this method strange- I have difficulty with the concept of demonstrating a composition if the composer is unable to play an instrument (usually piano or guitar) to convey his/her ideas fully to the musicians who will be playing it. The chords behind a melody line are often crucial.

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

Barbel wrote:

As Matt says, Lionel Bart couldn't read or write music. He would demonstrate his melodies by either humming them or picking them out one-fingered on a piano to an orchestrator, who would then write them down and add chords * (possibly Bart would be asked if he liked this or that chord). The chord sequence to FRWL is reasonably varied and certainly beyond the abilities of a one-fingered pianist.

Are the other compositions credited to him simpler?

Barbel wrote:

It should be noted that after the, er, situation with the DN score Cubby Broccoli approached John Barry to write the score for FRWL while Harry Saltzman asked Lionel Bart to come up with the title song. GF was the first time Barry was given the whole score to do (the whole enchilada, The Bond Experience?  ajb007/biggrin ). 

The vocal version of FRWL, as sung superbly by Matt Monro, was orchestrated by Johnnie Spence- JB had nothing to do with this, despite it turning up on various compilation albums bearing his name.

So not John Barry at all. This is a rollercoaster! ajb007/smile

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Re: Why Didn't The Beatles Do a Theme Song?

emtiem wrote:

Are the other compositions credited to him simpler?

Some are (eg "Living Doll"), some aren't (eg some "Oliver!" songs).