Q the Music is hanging it up

Q the Music, which does live performances of James Bond music and songs, will shut down permanently in 2022 after a farewell tour, Warren Ringham, the group’s director, announced on social media.

Ringham cited how Brexit and COVID-19 how changed conditions for the group.

“Whilst we have fought on for as long as possible, I myself as the director must now think about how my decisions will impact my own health and that of my family around me,” he wrote.

I never had the opportunity of witnessing a live performance by Q the Music. But those who have rave about the experience.

Below is a video Q the Music posted to YouTube about one of its performances. It runs almost two hours.

Media merry-go-round continues with AT&T-Discovery deal

One of the brands affected by Discovery’s deal with AT&T

The media business was shaken up, yet again, when AT&T announced today it’s opting to exit the media business and combining those assets with Discovery Inc.

Not that long ago, AT&T couldn’t wait to get into media as a way of combining “content” (Warner Bros., HBO, TBS, TCM, etc.) with wireless.

It was AT&T management that had Warner Bros. debut its 2021 film slate simultaneously in theaters (those that are open) and on the new HBO Max streaming service.

Never mind. AT&T’s media entities will be combined with Discovery’s, which include the likes of HGTV and The Food Network.

Why you should care: The deal announced today is a reminder that media (including, but not limited to, movie studios) remains volatile.

For James Bond fans, their hero is tethered to a media small fry, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. MGM reportedly is for sale. It would be no surprise if MGM gets gobbled up by a bigger media player.

Why you could care Part II: The AT&T-Discovery deal involves a lot of prominent media properties. Warner Bros. already has been affected by being acquired by AT&T. Who knows what happens next?

What happens next: MGM controls some prominent media properties (the Bond franchise among them). The AT&T-Discovery deal that well encourage additional media deals. MGM is owned by hedge funds so now may be the time to cash out.

We’ll see.

No Time to Die’s title song wins a Grammy

Billie Eilish photo included in previous Eon announcements.

No Time to Die’s title song has won a Grammy, it was announced Sunday on social media.

The song was performed by Billie Eilish and written by her and her brother, Finneas O’Connell. It won in the category of “Best Song Written For Visual Media.”

The song has been out for a long time. The title song debuted while the movie itself has been delayed multiple times. Fans have had ample chances to listen to the song. Eilish and her brother have commented in multiple interviews how the movie influenced the song.

No Time to Die is scheduled to come out on Sept. 30 in the U.K. and other countries. It will reach the U.S. and North America about a week later.

Here’s the tweet that the Grammys sent out on Sunday afterenoon:

1973: Live And Let Die’s unusual soundtrack packaging

Part of the Live And Let Die soundtrack packaging (Spy Command photo)

In the 21st century, vinyl music (you know, records) has been revived. Truth be told, it was the best format for movie soundtracks. There was more room for poster images and other art related to the movie.

One of the best examples of this occurred in 1973 with the release of Live And Let Die, the eighth James Bond film.

Most soundtracks of the era were single discs that fit into a sleeve. Live And Let Die’s soundtrack, likewise, was just one disc. But when you looked at the cover, you could open it and see two sets of images (see above).

The biggest image, naturally, was Roger Moore as the new James Bond. Still, all told, there were 11 either film stills or publicity images from the movie. It’s not the kind of presentation you get on a CD or a music download.

The cover was an image of the movie’s main poster art. The back cover was a listing of the tracks on the record.

The list included “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” (from the fake funeral scene) arranged by Milton Batiste. Batiste also composed “New Second Lind,” performed by Harold A. “Duke” Dejan and The Olympia Brass Band.

The other tracks were composed by George Martin except for the final track on side two, the film’s version of The James Bond Theme.

A final note: On this U.S. version of the album, Albert R. Broccoli gets top billing over fellow producer Harry Saltzman. Saltzman was actually the primary producer of the film. A lot of home video versions work from a version where Saltzman got top billing.

UPDATE: A former Bond collector (he sold his collection off some time back) advises me the 1969 U.K. vinyl release of the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service soundtrack also had a gate-fold cover as described above for the Live And Let Die soundtrack. I have a copy of the U.S. OHMSS vinyl soundtrack, but it only has a standard cover.

Also, a reader complained that I didn’t mention Paul McCartney and Wings. They performed the title song. It was written by Paul and Linda McCartney. Most fans know that but I decided to make up for that here.

UPDATE II: Another reader advises the U.K. version of the vinyl release of The Spy Who Loved Me also had a gate-fold cover. I have the U.S. vinyl release and no gate-fold cover.

To quote Commodore Schmidlapp from the 1966 Batman feature film: “Pip, pip, Yankee dollars.” Except, when it comes to Yankee Bond fans: “Go stuff it, you uncouth barbarians.”

UPDATE III: David Reinhardt of the Ian Fleming Foundation, up seeing this post provided gate-fold images from the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me soundtracks that appeared outside the U.S.

OHMSS soundtrack gate-fold images
The Spy Who Loved Me gate-fold images

As stated before: “Pip, pip.”

NTTD song to get even more exposure before film debuts

Billie Eilish publicity photo

The title song for No Time to Die will get even more exposure before the 25th James Bond film goes into theaters.

Performer Billie Eilish scored a Grammy nomination for the movie’s title song in the category of Best Song Written for Visual Media. The award show is at the end of January.

Eilish’s involvement with the song has been a buzz among Bond fans for almost a year. The MI6 James Bond website said Jan. 12 of this year that Eilish would become the youngest performer of a Bond song.

Eon Productions confirmed the news on Jan. 14. The song itself bowed on Feb. 13. This was when No Time to Die was scheduled to be released in April.

Then, No Time to Die was postponed to November. The song’s music video came out on Oct. 1.

On Oct. 2, the film’s release date was pushed back to April 2021. Nevertheless, Eilish performed the song on Oct. 5 on The Tonight Show in the U.S. The movie’s star, Daniel Craig, appeared on the same telecast.

The April-November-April delays stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic. But, with the Emmys telecast, the song No Time to Die will be one of the most exposed Bond title songs in the history of the film series.

Apple uses Bond theme to introduce new iPhone

Apple Inc. used The James Bond Theme as part of a presentation to introduce the new iPhone 12 Mini.

Normally, that wouldn’t be much of a deal. However, today’s event comes a couple of days after The Wall Street Journal reported that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, is under pressure to strike a sales deal. Apple was listed as one of the potential buyers.

Whether coincidence or conspiracy, it was something Bond fans noted. You can view the use of the Bond theme below via a video from CNET.

Margaret Nolan, Bond’s ‘Golden Girl,’ dies

Margaret Nolan, an actress who appeared in Goldfinger and A Hard Day’s Night, has died, according to director Edgar Wright.

Wright reported her passing on Twitter:

Nolan was 76, according to her entry on Wikipedia.

Nolan had a small role as Dink in Goldfinger, a woman James Bond (Sean Connery) meets in Goldfinger. But it was the film’s main titles, designed by Robert Brownjohn, where Nolan made her biggest impact.

In Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel, Auric Goldfinger has a fetish of having women painted gold. Brownjohn jumped on the idea for his main titles. Nolan, clad in a bikini, was painted gold, with scenes from the movie (as well as scenes from Dr. No and From Russia With Love) projected onto her body.

Brownjohn’s visuals of Nolan coupled with the title song written by John Barry and lyricists Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, helped make Goldfinger a huge hit. The lyrics referred to a “Golden Girl.” Both the song and the images captured the imaginations of audiences in 1964.

She also had a small role in A Hard Day’s Night starring The Beatles. Bond fans could spot her instantly.

Below is an image from her brief appearance in Goldfinger outside of the main titles.

“Dink, say goodbye to Felix.”

And below is one of the Goldfinger posters with the Nolan image.

Goldfinger poster

UPDATE (Oct. 12): The official 007 Twitter feed took note of Nolan’s passing this morning.

Zimmer’s site lists track titles for NTTD soundtrack

Hans Zimmer

Post concerns a possible spoiler, but it’s not spelled out in the post itself. But if you’re queasy about spoilers at all, leave now.

The Hans Zimmer website  has a listing of the track titles for No Time Time to Die’s soundtrack.

One page on the site lists 21 track titles for the soundtrack. The title for track No. 16 may indirectly refer to something from an Ian Fleming novel. In case this is up by mistake and gets yanked you can view (if you are so inclined) a screengrab of part of the page.

The soundtrack is now available for pre-ordering, Decca Records said today on Twitter.

Zimmer replaced Dan Romer as No Time to Die’s composer. Steve Mazzaro, who scored The Rhythm Section for Eon Productions, provides additional music for the 25th James Bond film.

UPDATE: The soundtrack list is now out from various sources, including the Film Score Reporter site. Continue reading

No Time to Die’s music video debuts with some new shots

No Time to Die’s music video debuted today. It includes some additional shots from the movie, mostly of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux as James Bond and Madeline Swann.

The song itself came out months ago. Performer Billie Eilish is photographed in black and white.

I could add more but the spoiler adverse would dislike it even with the usual advisory. So you can view it for yourself below if you wish.

Bond 25 questions: The trailer, soundtrack edition

No Time to Die poster released Sept. 1.

The No Time to Die publicity machine got reactivated this week, including a new trailer and details about the soundtrack being released.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

What’s the big takeaway?

It’s very clear that No Time to Die is back to “saving the world” territory.

The new trailer shows agent Nomi (Lashana Lynch) saying villain Safin “will kill millions.” Bond (Daniel Craig) says if his team is unsuccessful there won’t be anything left to save.

Eon Productions has shied away from such sweeping, big stakes since Craig took over as Bond. Quantum of Solace, for example, dealt with water rights.

I’m not exactly sure about the stakes of SPECTRE. Bond and his allies sought to prevent something from being deployed related to observing people. But SPECTRE already seemingly had the ability to record every single phone conversation on the planet. It wasn’t very clear how things would be any worse if SPECTRE succeeded.

Anything new catch your eye?

The No Time to Die ad that debuted during the Super Bowl showed Bond and Nomi is a plane or glider. In the new trailer, we see it can become a submarine.

That idea isn’t new. One of the earliest Gerry Anderson shows was Supercar, a craft that could fly and be a submarine. (I actually had a Supercar toy as a kid.) The 1964-68 series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea featured the Flying Sub, which flew and could travel undersea.

Still, it’s an element of fantasy that hasn’t been part of the Daniel Craig era of James Bond films.

Hey, what happened to Steve Mazzaro?

For the uninitiated, No Time to Die composer Hans Zimmer told Variety in June that he needed Steve Mazzaro’s help to do the movie’s score because of a tight deadline.

As part of that interview, Zimmer said: “Steve should really be the top name on the Bond film.”

Naturally, there was no mention of Mazzaro in the press release Eon Productions put out with the soundtrack cover.

There were quotes from the likes of Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson and director Cary Fukunaga about the genius of Hans Zimmer. Of course, Fukunaga doesn’t mention how his composer choice, Dan Romer, got fired from the project.

Does that surprise you?

No. When I read the Zimmer interview in Variety, I took his remark about how Mazzaro should get top billing as an empty compliment, not something he meant seriously.

Still, it’s another example of how studios and “artistes” count on people not remembering what has been said previously. So it goes.