Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Brigitte and Counting

One of my favorite John Barry compositions ever. One of my favorite pieces of movie score. Certainly my favorite cue from any of the Bond films (of which I have seen them all sans Spectre).

Also one of my favorite Stereolab songs.

I must have watched Diamonds Are Forever a couple dozen times as a kid. (Yes, I know it's not usually considered one of the better Bond efforts, but for some reason we had the middling-to-bad Bond movies on VHS at my house - for which I will blame my father's taste, since they were his tapes - so I have a soft spot for this one. I don't have a soft spot for A View to a Kill, however, which we also had. But, given how abysmal the Brosnan films were as well as a few other egregious turds in the pantheon, I think Diamonds are Forever ends up ranking firmly in the middle. But, I digress.) I had a habit of holding my portable cassette recorder up to the TV speaker if I liked something - I had tapes of Doctor Who, Star Trek, idents - the Themes tune, WGBH's nightmarish ident (which I used to run in reverse for 30% more horror), Showtime's interstitial muzak, the Tri-Star Pegasus tune, the legendary HBO movie theme, etc. are all part of my DNA. It's why one of my all-time favorite Doctor Who serials is the one that features a cactus as the villain - I taped the fantastic BBC RadiophoniC Workshop score by Peter Howell and Paddy Kingsland.

I loved "007 and Counting" so much I taped that cue (I didn't know the name of it at the time, of course) and listened to it quite a lot. When I heard Stereolab's "Brigitte" years later, it was incredibly familiar, and eventually I placed it. I'm not making a dig at Stereolab - it's cliche but Stereolab changed my life more than any other band or artist. When I heard "Locusts" and immediately realized Broadcast had lifted the bassline from Morricone's "Invenzione per John," I was also delighted (Duck You Sucker was the only Western movie I genuinely enjoyed as a child, and it was likely my introduction to Morricone). Somehow this post, which I set out to write simply to post a couple of fantastic pieces of music, turned into a treatise on artists lifting other artists' work. If the artist takes it in their own unique and creative direction, I think it's great. There's a quote attributed to John Lennon, likely incorrectly (it's also attributed to Picasso, based on a quick Google search just now): "Good artists copy; Great artists steal."

John Barry always brought his best, no matter the film or how mediocre (or bad) the film, just like Morricone, Lalo, Jerry Goldsmith (one of his most beautiful scores is for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, usually considered by Trek fans as one of the worst of the lot - I actually quite like the film, but again, digressions), etc.

Edited to add this:

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