The Living Daylights

Author: Janet


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The Living Daylights was the final Bond film to date to be scored by composer John Barry. The soundtrack is notable for its introduction of sequenced electronic rhythm tracks overdubbed with the orchestra—at thetime, a relatively new innovation.

The title song of the film, “The Living Daylights”, was recorded by the Norwegian pop-music group a-ha, the first non-English speaking artists to provide a Bond song. The group and Barry did not collaborate well, resulting in two versions of the theme song. Barry’s film mix is heard on the soundtrack (and on a-ha’s later greatest hits album Headlines and Deadlines). The version preferred by the band can be heard on the 1988 a-ha album Stay on These Roads. However, in 2006 a-ha member Pal Waaktaar complimented Barry’s contributions “I loved the stuff he added to the track, I mean it gave it this really cool string arrangement. That’s when for me it started to sound like a Bond thing”.

In a departure from conventions of previous Bond films, the film uses different songs over the opening and end credits (a trend that would continue until 2006, when “You Know My Name“, the Chris Cornell song that served as the title song for Casino Royale, was also played over the last half of the end credits for that same film). The song heard over the end credits, “If There Was A Man”, was one of two songs performed for the film by Chrissie Hynde, of The Pretenders. The other song, “Where Has Everybody Gone”, is heard from Necros’s Walkman in the film. The Pretenders were originally considered to perform Daylights’ title song. However, the producers had been pleased with the commercial success of Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill“, and felt that a-ha would be more likely to make an impact in the charts.

The original soundtrack release was released on LP and CD by Warner Bros. and featured only 12 tracks. Later re-releases by Rykodisc and EMI added nine additional tracks, including alternate instrumental end credits music. Rykodisc’s version included the gunbarrel and opening sequence of the film as well as the jailbreak sequence, and the bombing of the bridge.

Additionally, the film featured a number of pieces of classical music, as the main Bond girl, Kara Milovy, is a cellist. Mozart’s 40th Symphony in G minor (1st movement) is performed by the orchestra at the Conservatoire in Bratislava when Koskov flees. As Moneypenny tells Bond, Kara is next to perform Borodin’s String Quartet in D major. Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations and the finale to Act II of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (in Vienna) also feature. At the end of the film, Kara also performs the Dvořák cello concerto in B minor to rapturous applause. – adapted from Wikipedia

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