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A House for Mr Biswas

Monday, 9 May 2016

Hello everyone

Back in 1962, a young singer and West End composer was asked if he'd be interested in providing the music for a brand new spy thriller. Made with a budget of under $1 million, the new United Artists feature was based on a well-known series of books and producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman needed someone to write its score.

Monty Norman was initally unsure about the assignment, but with the promise of 6 weeks location filming in Jamaica (and he could take his wife!) he agreed to the job. Norman wrote a Caribbean themed score for Dr No but by the time the release was approaching the producers had still not agreed on a theme song.

It was then that Norman remembered an song he had written for a musical based on VS Naipaul's novel A House For Mr Biswas. The musical had been abandoned before casting but Norman remembered a tune which would, following John Barry's arrangement, become The James Bond Theme, still one of the most recognisable pieces of music in cinema history.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Monty at his home and he shared with me the story of how The James Bond Theme came into being, including the bizarre lyrics for the original tune which were ditched in order to make 007's theme an instrumental one.

Having also interviewed Vic Flick, the musician who played guitar on the iconic theme, this chapter of The Complete James Bond Themes will tell the definitive tale of this most famous of all film themes.

And, Monty kindly signed a couple of CDs which are now available to early supporters of the book. Pledge now at unbound.co.uk/books/james-bond

Next time: Talking Oscars, Cagney and Lacey, Cubby Broccoli and Donna Summer with a true film composing legend.

Until next time!

Nick

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