The OO7 Theme

chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,049MI6 Agent
edited May 2021 in James Bond Music

I have been listening to Bond soundtracks again recently and am fascinated by the variations on this theme.

Barry plays about with themes a lot. There are often different distinct musical versions of his main themes - I'm thinking the jazz version of Golden Gun, the Source Instrumental for Diamonds, that kind of thing.

He doesn't use the Bond Theme much and it doesn't crop up on the soundtracks ( a legal issue I seem to recall ) but Barry's OO7 Theme is used and each time he introduces it, he's put a different spin on the orchestration.

Two versions on the FRWL soundtrack. A revitalised effort for Thunderball. Introduction to Little Nellie in YOLT. The boat chase in Moonraker. Perhaps most outstanding is the driving, thumping guitars on Diamonds Are Forever's To Hell With Blofeld, which simply doesn't come across on film but is brilliant on CD. Bet its even better on vinyl.

I'm not entirely sure what my point is, just to say how good the theme is and how versatile Barry is by using its familiarity and anthemic sway at such appropriate moments.


  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,758MI6 Agent
    edited May 2021

    If I'm honest I've never been keen on 007. I just don't hugely enjoy the melody and I don't think it suits Bond the character all that much as it's quite a triumphant march, plus it feels like it's from a time when Barry didn't quite have the Bond sound fully formed. If I had to have an alternate Bond theme it would be OHMSS every time- that has a feeling of danger and excitement as well as sounding very Bond.

  • AlexBond89AlexBond89 Posts: 1MI6 Agent

    I’ve never been a massive fan of 007. It’s really misused in Moonraker. It’s far too slow and sounds like elevator music. No real urgency to it

  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,570MI6 Agent

    I’ve always loved the theme, particularly the version in MR. I think it’s amazing in all the versions after the original, which sounds more old-fashioned than the rest. Barry really developed it well for TB, using it in a more exciting way than in any other Bond film. Like the Bond Theme, it also features the MinorMajor9 chord, so it still has the Bond sound. While it’s not nearly as versatile as the Bond Theme, I think 007 always makes a scene feel more fun.

    Visit my blog, Bond Suits
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 33,419Chief of Staff

    While it's easy to understand why the other composers didn't use it, I think it's a pity that it never turned up again after MR and by now probably never will.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,758MI6 Agent

    That's very interesting about the E Minor Major 9 chord: I've not heard of that. I'm not very musical so it's always nice to find out about these things! Is it in a particular place in 007 or is it just something used throughout?

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,049MI6 Agent

    @AlexBond89 I remember reading that Barry learnt while scoring TB that one of the key successes of musical accompaniment was not to slow the action down by making the music frenetic. This is one of his successes in that movie. The fact we hardly notice the soundtrack, or if we do it is adding to the experience not a detriment to it, is testament to his point.

    In MR the boat chase isn't the most gripping of scenes. Overall, Barry is quite sparing with music and action in this film. Several big fights are played out without any accompaniment at all. So he comes to a fairly protracted pursuit, one which isn't taking place at high speed, has no crashes, no dialogue, no public incident, the only noise will be explosions, bullets, engines and water. He'd probably watched LALD and saw how the chases in that one panned out without music. He knows none of his new themes will work, so he adds a previously used theme and slows it down a beat or two, which speeds up the pedestrian action on screen. I think it works brilliantly. As the chase reaches its climax, the repetitive sonorous thump of the OO7 Theme acts like a pounding heart, just like the thumps in the Cable Car Fight, Snake Fight and Bond Smells a Rat sequences do. MR seems to be a very underrated score chiefly because many observers consider the film unsuccessful. Yet a great score can raise a mediocre film, and I think that's what Barry's orchestrations do here.

    He did, of course, miss out the best opportunity to use The OO7 Theme when he utilised Elmer Bernstein's The Magnificent Seven as Bond horse rides over the pampas. It would have fitted perfectly to that brief scene as it does contain a brassy, cavalry western feel.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,394MI6 Agent

    I cant find a youtube link, but the 007 Theme was used in a key scene in the Trainspotting sequel

  • Unknown007Unknown007 Posts: 186MI6 Agent

    Would have to say I prefer to hear the Dr No, The James Bond Theme any day!

Sign In or Register to comment.