#Johnuary continues with John Barry’s Thunderball soundtrack.

The story behind the title song is quite interesting. Originally the title song was going to be Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and it was sung by Shirley Bassey. You can hear her version below.

But there were some kind of problems with her voice (no idea what, I really like it) so it was re-recorded by Dione Warwick.

Shirley Bassey actually sued the producers for using Warwick’s vocals. Interesting that they chose to still use Bassey several times after that for title songs of other Bond films.

United Artists, however, then said they wanted to hear the film title in the theme song. So John Barry teamed up with lyricist Don Back and wrote Thunderball in a rush.

Tom Jones has the honour of singing on this 3rd Bond title track. A very cool string to his bow as well as being drinking buddies with Elvis and erm, being a judge on The Voice?

There is the famous story of Tom Jones fainting after the final note, because it was so high and he held it so long. He said afterwards, “I closed my eyes and I held the note for so long when I opened my eyes the room was spinning.”

Again John Barry here is calling back to the Bond riffs that we know so well and associate with the Bond action. The first few notes are very similar to the first few notes of the James Bond Theme. Ignoring the first introductory note, the next four notes are pretty much the same first four notes of the main part of the James Bond theme (see the ‘Brass crash main riff’ bit in my James Bond Theme post). And yet again, like Goldfinger, he calls in the main riff from the James Bond Theme at 0:38, 1:19 and 2:17.

You can hear a great example of Barry’s jazz influences at 1:43 with the great trumpet piece.

This is another example of a song that ends up with the last line of vocals being the title of the movie. Another single word Bond title.

After the title song had been changed from Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang to Thunderball, John Barry rewrote some of the score and wrote a couple of additional tracks because he liked the theme song to resonate throughout the score in some ways.