Tuesday, February 27, 2018

"A View to a Kill" by Duran Duran

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2327
Date:  05/18/1985
Debut:  43
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Pop, Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Around the time that Duran Duran was on a break and members were doing side projects (Power Station, Arcadia), the band got an offer to write and record the theme song to the fourteenth James Bond film, A View to a Kill. The project came about due to a chance encounter between Duran Duran's John Taylor and Bond series producer Cubby Broccoli. Apparently, Taylor brazenly asked Broccoli when was he gonna get a decent Bond theme. Despite Taylor's snide comment, the two talked and before long Duran Duran were in the studio with Bond theme/score composer John Barry recording this title track. The single was released just a few weeks prior to the film's opening and it made a splash on the Pop chart nearly debuting inside the Top 40. It would soon become the band's second and final #1 on the chart. It would also make a brief appearance on the Rock chart at #42. The song would also mark the final recording at the time by the five original members of the band (they would reunite nearly twenty years later for the 2004 LP Astronaut).

ReduxReview:  Well, Taylor had a point. Although there had been a few good Bond themes over the years, nearly all of them were AC-leaning tracks that didn't really reflect the trends in music (the lone exception was McCartney's "Live and Let Die"). In other words, they seemed to appeal to the adult audience of Bond films instead of the younger generation who were beginning to have an influence on these flicks. Duran Duran finally broke that mold by doing something that appealed to the kids and ended up with a #1 hit. I have to say that they did a solid job incorporating that Bond-ish feel into something far more modern and appealing than previous attempts. While I don't think it ranks among Duran Duran's best hits, it was pretty solid and it helped to usher in a new, more modern direction in Bond themes.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song has the distinction of being (as of this posting) the only Bond theme song to reach #1 on the Pop chart. Two other Bond songs got close peaking at #2: Carly Simon's 1977 "Nobody Does It Better" and Paul McCartney & Wings' 1973 "Live and Let Die." Duran Duran's hit would be the last Bond theme to reach the Pop chart until Madonna hit #8 in 2002 with "Die Another Day." The intervening five theme songs by a-ha, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, and Garbage all missed the Pop chart. However, they were all hits on the UK chart. In the UK, the only Bond single thus far to hit #1 was the most recent one - Sam Smith's 2015 "Writing's on the Wall." While it was a hit in the UK, it didn't get anywhere in the US peaking at a lackluster #71. But that poor showing probably didn't matter to Smith who ended up taking home an Oscar for Best Original Song for his theme. Three years earlier, Adele's "Skyfall" theme (#8) became the first Bond theme to win an Oscar for Best Original Song.


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