Duran Duran

The Playlist: Duran Duran

Following the release of their 14th album, Paper Gods, bassist John Taylor reveals the tracks that inspired their 007 theme

In 1984, Duran Duran were at their peak, with an international number-one single in The Reflex. “But we still had a goal,” says bassist John Taylor. “We wanted to write a James Bond theme.”

Then, at a party, he spied Bond film producer Cubby Broccoli and asked when “someone decent” would record a theme. His cheeky line worked, and Duran Duran’s A View To A Kill is the most commercially successful Bond song to date. Following the release of his band’s 14th album, Paper Gods, Taylor reveals the tracks that inspired their 007 theme.

Shirley Bassey: Diamonds Are Forever

“We listened to this one for inspiration, because we wanted to be part of that great tradition of classic Bond themes. What makes this and other great Bond songs so special is the lush string elements, famously composed by John Barry. We felt very fortunate that Barry agreed to add a 60-piece orchestra arrangement to our song – it was the icing on the cake.”

© AvengedS939 // YouTube

Shirley Bassey: Goldfinger

“Arguably the most important ingredient for a Bond song is a sense of drama and sexual potency. In order to achieve that, you need strong lyrics and an even stronger performance. No one has delivered these elements as impressively as Shirley Bassey on this track. It set the bar for Bond themes, because it has a sense of menace that encapsulates the 007 ethos perfectly.”

© juanmurs // YouTube

Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

“We also considered the kind of music Bond himself would enjoy. There’s a line in Goldfinger where Sean Connery says that “drinking Dom Pérignon ’53 above the temperature of 38°F [is] as bad as listening to The Beatles without earmuffs”, so I think Bond’s a music snob. He’d rather listen to something grand and British like The Lark Ascending, because of its beauty and drama.”

© Richard Brittain // YouTube

Peter Gabriel: No Self Control

“When we recorded A View To A Kill, Bond songs had stopped being momentous. Our challenge was to create a modern take on the 007 theme. Peter Gabriel’s hyper-modern drum sounds and recording technique were a big inspiration. We used synths to add sound effects to the song, which was a novelty, because at that time they were used in the Bond movies, but not in their themes.”

© TheImplosiveduck // YouTube

The Rolling Stones: Honky Tonk Women

“Every good Bond theme needs a solid groove, so when we recorded ours at the legendary Maison Rouge Studios in London, we needed to find a good reference song for that purpose. We eventually agreed on Honky Tonk Women as our way to go, because of Charlie Watt’s rhythm track with that legendary cowbell intro. It’s so laid-back, but still tight. It’s second to none.”

© The Rolling Stones // YouTube

Read more
11 2015 The Red Bulletin

Next story