Credits for GoldfingerI’ve been a James Bond fan since I first saw DR. NO in 1963 but I don’t think I realized how important the film score was to the series’ success until I saw GOLDFINGER (1964). The dazzling opening credit sequence with Shirley Bassey belting out the title song was a revelation to me and I immediately bought the soundtrack, playing it constantly. " /> Credits for GoldfingerI’ve been a James Bond fan since I first saw DR. NO in 1963 but I don’t think I realized how important the film score was to the series’ success until I saw GOLDFINGER (1964). The dazzling opening credit sequence with Shirley Bassey belting out the title song was a revelation to me and I immediately bought the soundtrack, playing it constantly. " /> Credits for GoldfingerI’ve been a James Bond fan since I first saw DR. NO in 1963 but I don’t think I realized how important the film score was to the series’ success until I saw GOLDFINGER (1964). The dazzling opening credit sequence with Shirley Bassey belting out the title song was a revelation to me and I immediately bought the soundtrack, playing it constantly. " />

Cool Cruel and Brassy – The Theme from “Goldfinger”

Goldfinger credits

I’ve been a James Bond fan since I first saw DR. NO in 1963 but I don’t think I realized how important the film score was to the series’ success until I saw GOLDFINGER (1964). The dazzling opening credit sequence with Shirley Bassey belting out the title song was a revelation to me and I immediately bought the soundtrack, playing it constantly. I even took the soundtrack LP along with my small portable turntable (2 speed -33 1/3 & 45 – battery operated) on the family vacation during the summer of 1965. Holding the turntable on my lap, I drove everyone crazy as I played GOLDFINGER and other records along the back roads of Tennessee and Georgia on our annual trip to Dalton to see relatives.

portable turnable

For obvious reasons, my turntable playing would only last as long as everyone’s tolerance for it but whenever I could I’d stick on GOLDFINGER, particularly the theme song, which sounded very “adult” to me. It wasn’t anything like the Herman’s Hermits “Best of” album or any of the pop 45s I’d brought along.

 
 

 

Goldfinger soundtrack

John Barry’s arrangement was big and bold, conjuring up a world of sophistication and high class sleaze, and Shirley Bassey’s commanding vocals brought out the casual cruelty of the lyrics, enunciating words like “SUCH” with haughty delight. So there we were driving past tobacco fields over bumpy roads with my record skipping and Bassey’s voice booming “Pretty girl, beware of..(scratch)…THIS HEART IS COLD…he loves only..(scratch)..only gold….” The record was practically ruined by the time we reached our destination much to everyone’s relief.

Shirley Bassey

Even today the GOLDFINGER theme song remains a personal favorite and a perfect example of Barry at his most bombastic which is completely appropriate for the Bond films. I love the THUNDERBALL theme song almost as much and Tom Jones is the only male singer I can think of that can match Shirley Bassey in terms of dramatic phrasing and power. Of course, Bassey would go on to sing two more Bond theme songs, “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Moonraker,” but neither of those theme songs sunk their hooks into me like GOLDFINGER. Part of the magic formula might have been the collaboration of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley on the GOLDFINGER lyrics.

 

The John Barry Sound

The third Bond film was also John Barry’s first opportunity to shine as the composer for the Bond franchise. He worked uncredited on DR. NO and he was the orchestra conductor on FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE but both of those films were scored by Monty Norman, the former big band singer who penned the famous “James Bond Theme Song” used in every 007 feature. The success of GOLDFINGER also helped launch Barry’s career in Hollywood but as the years passed I found myself liking less and less of his work and preferred his golden period in the sixties – BEAT GIRL (1960), SÉANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON (1964), THE KNACK (1965), THE IPCRESS FILE (1965), BORN FREE (1966), YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967), PETULIA (1968) and MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969).

 

Sean Connery discovers Goldfinger's handy work

GOLDFINGER, of course, is the one that made me take notice of John Barry but also made me realize that film scores and soundtrack albums were not necessarily background music and opened my ears to a whole new realm of listening pleasure.

 
 

 

14 Responses Cool Cruel and Brassy – The Theme from “Goldfinger”
Posted By MDR : October 20, 2007 5:16 pm

That one's always been a favorite for me too, Jeff.  Great article!

Posted By MDR : October 20, 2007 5:16 pm

That one's always been a favorite for me too, Jeff.  Great article!

Posted By Rick J : October 20, 2007 11:26 pm

"Goldfinger" is also my favorite Bond song.  But when writing about John Barry, I also am a fan.  He has a unique sound.  Don't forget "Born Free" although it did not have the same impact.  But "The Wrong Box" has a very comic flavor to it, and enjoyable to listen to.  His theme for "Out of Africa" always gives me thoughts of the Flying over Africa sequence.

Posted By Rick J : October 20, 2007 11:26 pm

"Goldfinger" is also my favorite Bond song.  But when writing about John Barry, I also am a fan.  He has a unique sound.  Don't forget "Born Free" although it did not have the same impact.  But "The Wrong Box" has a very comic flavor to it, and enjoyable to listen to.  His theme for "Out of Africa" always gives me thoughts of the Flying over Africa sequence.

Posted By Medusa : October 23, 2007 2:21 pm

Jeff, you must have been the ultra-coolest kid around, traveling to a James Bond soundtrack across the rural South!  I hope you blew some people's minds (other than your parents') on your exciting Shirley Bassey-fueled journey!Great memory!

Posted By Medusa : October 23, 2007 2:21 pm

Jeff, you must have been the ultra-coolest kid around, traveling to a James Bond soundtrack across the rural South!  I hope you blew some people's minds (other than your parents') on your exciting Shirley Bassey-fueled journey!Great memory!

Posted By Ken : November 1, 2007 3:10 pm

Jeff, I , too,  became "tuned in"  to film music starting with Barry's Goldfinger score.  But what makes you say that From Russia With Love was scored by Monty Norman?  Both the film and the LP credit John Barry as the  score's composer (except for the title song by Lionel Bart)?

Posted By Ken : November 1, 2007 3:10 pm

Jeff, I , too,  became "tuned in"  to film music starting with Barry's Goldfinger score.  But what makes you say that From Russia With Love was scored by Monty Norman?  Both the film and the LP credit John Barry as the  score's composer (except for the title song by Lionel Bart)?

Posted By Stephen Thorn : November 3, 2007 10:52 am

Yes, Goldfinger is an excellent song.  I also loved "You Only Live Twice," which is my favorite Bond movie.  But I bought the album to "Man with the Golden Gun" (in 8-track, no less) and played it to pieces.  I still consider the title cut one of my favorite songs, period (even sing it in the shower sometimes).  Good to meet another fan.  <stephenthornsinboxatyahoodotcom>

Posted By Stephen Thorn : November 3, 2007 10:52 am

Yes, Goldfinger is an excellent song.  I also loved "You Only Live Twice," which is my favorite Bond movie.  But I bought the album to "Man with the Golden Gun" (in 8-track, no less) and played it to pieces.  I still consider the title cut one of my favorite songs, period (even sing it in the shower sometimes).  Good to meet another fan.  <stephenthornsinboxatyahoodotcom>

Posted By Gene Conroy : January 30, 2008 12:17 am

Monty Norman wrote the score for Dr. No except for the "James Bond Theme" which was written but NOT credited to John Barry. ( Due apparently to contractual obligations.)  However, "From Russia With Love" WAS written by John Barry and NOT Monty Norman as the author contends.  In my youth  I wore out many 33 and 1/3 record albums of this, my favorite John Barry soundtrack.

Posted By Gene Conroy : January 30, 2008 12:17 am

Monty Norman wrote the score for Dr. No except for the "James Bond Theme" which was written but NOT credited to John Barry. ( Due apparently to contractual obligations.)  However, "From Russia With Love" WAS written by John Barry and NOT Monty Norman as the author contends.  In my youth  I wore out many 33 and 1/3 record albums of this, my favorite John Barry soundtrack.

Posted By cheryl : July 22, 2010 9:17 am

what type of turnable is this?

Posted By cheryl : July 22, 2010 9:17 am

what type of turnable is this?

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