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on April 10, 2017
An awesome book. I had never heard of Jon Burlingame, but obviously he is renowned as I saw mention of him on Facebook. This book is very complete. It talks about the movie music of the Bond films up through Skyfall, even including 1967's travesty, Casino Royale, and Never Say Never Again. Besides the main portions of each movie music chapter, Burlingame includes a shaded third of the page reference of a capsule summary of the film and where the album cuts fall into place, with added information. Nice photos for each chapter. The ultimate Bond book for its musical content!
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on October 19, 2012
"The Bond 'sound' was an accident," writes Jon Burlingame in his new book, The Music of James Bond. But that brassy, jazz/rock/swing palette - what composer David Arnold describes as "cocky, swaggering, confident, dark and dangerous" - became more than just the instantly identifiable sound of agent 007. As Burlingame writes, it became "the de facto sound of international espionage on screen."

More than just the sensational theme songs that themselves became cultural benchmarks, the music of the Bond films - especially those early Sean Connery efforts - set a standard that created a whole new genre. In 'The Music of James Bond,' leading film music journalist Jon Burlingame examines and contextualizes that music, covering the franchise's fifty year history (through 2009's Quantum of Solace).

The chapters - one on each of the 24 Bond films (including the two produced outside of the "official" canon) - cover the history, cultural context and reception of each film's music, along with an in-depth look at highlights from each score. Burlingame relies on extensive research as well as new interviews with key players, including Monty Norman, John Barry, George Martin, and David Arnold. These often provide more than just commentary, often revealing deep insight and reflection on the composers' work, as well as a look into the often hidden struggles each composer faced while trying to create the score.

The chapters on the Brosnan-era films, in particular, highlight the conflicts between the films' producers and the individual composers that marked the rise of the "music supervisor." A conversation with Goldeneye composer Eric Serra, for instance, brings us the heartbreaking revelation that the composer felt that his music - still controversial in fan circles - was practically lost in the mix. "Music was not a priority at all," he tells Burlingame. "For me it was a disaster; what you could hear did not make sense."

These kinds of details make the book invaluable not only to film score fans and Bond film aficionados but to film scholars in general. For the Bond films, taken as a whole, reflect the changes in the surrounding culture and in the business of filmmaking, and the music for these films provides a perfect snapshot of one aspect of that change. It's a terrific case study that should prove useful to both the armchair critic and the serious film student.

The Music of James Bond is an immensely readable and satisfyingly comprehensive study of an overlooked aspect to the Bond films' success. I couldn't put it down.
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VINE VOICEon October 17, 2012
The book is terrific, but I wouldn't expect any less from the author of TV's Biggest Hits: The Story of Television Themes from Dragnet to Friends This book charts the evolution of every Bond score in a lively, breezily-written narrative that is as entertaining as it is informative. Everything you ever wanted to know about the scores, themes, and business behind the Bond music is here. Even if you aren't a Bond fan, this book is a revealing look at the business, marketing, and creative influences on how movie scores assigned and produced. It's a must-have reference and historical book for all Bond fans and soundtrack collectors that will have you listening to all the Bond albums again and searching YouTube and iTunes to listen to the many rejected theme songs. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, learned a lot, and hope that Jon will be updating it every few years...though I am still waiting for the sequel/update to TV's Biggest Hits!
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on October 22, 2012
If I'd wanted to choose the ideal person to write a book on the music of James Bond, Jon Burlingame would have been top of the list by a long way. And he doesn't disappoint in this fascinating book, every chapter of which contains the real story of the music, exposing the myths and rumours along the way.

With reader-friendly score highlights for each film, plus many seldom seen before photos of the men and women behind the music, this is a book I would recommend to anybody with an interest in the history of popular music over the last fifty years. If you also like James Bond or film music in general, your ship has really come in!!
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on October 26, 2012
An amazing work by Burlingame, it gives a really objective insight into the process of scoring the Bond saga. For me, it gave some final answers about some specific issues such as the reality behind the TND song "contest" and why the big change from the CR (2006) OST to the following QoS, also the details about how "No good about goodbye" although it seems to fit the tune for that movie, was created some time after the movie was released. I definitely recommend this book. It was such a good reading that I finished it in two days.
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on November 5, 2012
Excellent look at the story behind the music (score & songs) of the James Bond franchise. All the business deals, rumours and gossip are addressed, and for musicians, there's also an analysis of the thematic elements used. A must read for fans of movie music.
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on November 15, 2012
I'm a nut for anything to do with the James Bond movies and I must have every book there is on the subject (Dressed to Kill anyone?) This is the first time that I've read anything that seriously deals with the music. I've read Jon Burlingame's liner notes on cd's and his pieces in Film Score Monthly and the guy knows his stuff. Each chapter deals with a specific film, the composer, lyricists, musicians, singers, director, editor & producers and how they all come together in putting the scores together. There is of course the famous story and feud about who created the James Bond theme, Monty Norman or John Barry. There is also Barry's on going slow burn about editor Peter Hunt inserting the Bond theme from Dr. No into several different films instead of letting Barry do a current version or write original music. Each chapter has a section giving you the highlights of each score. I'm not finished with the book yet, I'm only up to Diamonds Are Forever but I love this book! A lot of insight into the film and music process as well as the egos involved (amazingly producer Harry Saltzman hated the themes for both Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever!) Burlingame is as annoyed as I am that on 2 of the soundtrack cd's the title song is not included(Casino Royale & Skyfall),so you either have to download the single or wait for the next Best of Bond cd.

If you're a Bond or soundtrack fan this book is meant for you.
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on May 1, 2013
Being a JB fan (Bond and Barry) I found this book absolutely fascinating. The "inside baseball" aspect is the main draw here. The fits,stops and starts of composing the material that John Barry called "million dollar Mickey Mouse music" the work with lyricists and singers and an informative history that includes more stuff on Monty Norman than I've ever read before is simply magical.Very well written, Burlingame gives a nicely detailed assessment thruout and that includes the post Barry folks. Like so many oldtimers for me the formula was Sean Connery as Bond and music by John Barry. So while I revelled in what I read as a unvarnished homage to John Barry,Burlingame correctly acknowledges that Barry/Bond has moved on and gives the "new guys" their due.A terrific read.
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on April 25, 2013
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the music of the Bond films, and indeed to anyone contemplating working in the music industry.

I consider a substantial amount of the success of the 007 films can be attributed to the scores & title songs, which particularly in the first films of the series, added a layer of sophistication & energy that made the movies stand out and capture people's attention. Even today the original arrangement & recording of the James Bond theme by John Barry has a presence & power which has well & truly stood the test of time - remaining cool after 50 years is no small feat. This book gives a revealing insight into the process of how they were developed.
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on June 12, 2014
For the die-hard Bond fan--especially those of who enjoy he music--this is a fascinating look behind the scenes of how the music was written, how the singers and groups were selected (including those considered, but that never made the cut), hurdles and challenges the writers often faced, and awesome photos included. Burlingame also includes reviews of the CDs and tracks.
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