On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Artist: John Barry
Genre: Film Soundtrack

Original CD Release
Year: 1988
Record Label: EMI-Manhattan
Catalog No: CDP-7-90618-2
CD Running Time: 37:52
  Remastered CD Release
Year: 2003
Record Label: Capitol-EMI
Catalog No: 72435-41419-2-8
CD Running Time: 79:46

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When his usual intelligence sources fail, James Bond (Agent 007) enlists the aid of crime boss Draco to track down Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of the evil SPECTRE organization. The trail leads to the mountains of Switzerland, where Bond goes undercover in Blofeld's hi-tech headquarters. He encounters a bevy of seductive women, but none more beautiful than Draco's daughter, Tracy, who wins 007 over with her fervent independence, caustic wit and love of adventure. Bond pledges his eternal devotion to her, but there are more immediate concerns: Blofeld is poised to unleash horrific germ warfare weaponry that will endanger every living thing on earth. Bond's adventures hurl him through artillery-laden ski pursuits, and a dramatic avalanche. (Synopsis from Hollywood.com)

Damned Rodan's Album Review
Rating (out of 5):

After the extreme departure of You Only Live Twice from its source novel, screenwriter Richard Maibaum and director Peter Hunt made a daring move to bring 007 back to his literary roots with On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Gone were the excessive gadgets, far-fetched outer space plots, and juvenile wisecracks of the previous film; in their place was a taut, intriguing spy adventure that remained relatively close to Ian Fleming's novel, moreso than any other film since From Russia With Love. The best of all classic cinematic elements were present: fabulous settings, hair-raising (but believable) stunts, well-drawn characters, and a host of beautiful women. Missing from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, however, was perhaps the biggest draw of all: Sean Connery as James Bond.

Ex-model George Lazenby became the second of Eon Production's James Bonds. His portrayal was not without merit, but he simply lacked the charisma of his predecessor, and by now the public firmly accepted Connery and only Connery as the super secret agent. Despite the superb screenplay, perfectly paced action, and one of the most noteworthy heroines in the Bond canon (in the person of Comtesse Teresa di Vicenzo, played by Diana Rigg), the film failed to win over audiences who had by now come to expect bigger and more outrageous spectacles with the release of each film. Such shallow attitudes had far more to do with On Her Majesty's Secret Service's lackluster reception than any inherent shortcomings of the film itself.

While the actor was different, James Bond himself was the same, reinforced by the main title's display of scenes from previous 007 adventures; this was no separate entity in and of itself, like the previous year's classic disaster Casino Royale. Given the difficulty of turning the film's title into something elegant and lyrical, John Barry composed a synthesizer-driven instrumental for the main theme, and in doing so gave us one of the best--if not the best--Bond title tracks ever written. In combination with Maurice Binder's brilliant opening title montage, it made for the most impressive title sequence of the series.

The soundtrack album, while certainly a more-than-worthwhile purchase, suffers more than most from the re-ordering of the music tracks. "We Have All the Time in the World," wonderfully sung by Louis Armstong, opens the album, while in the film it is not heard until midway through, when Bond and Tracy begin their romantic interlude. Never did a title theme seem more out of place; on the CD, it's Track 6 (originally the first track on side two of the LP). With the theme being woven into the exhilarating "Ski Chase" (Track 4), by all rights, the main title should have preceded it for optimum effect.

Highlighting the album is the atmospheric rendition of the James Bond theme, heard in "This Never Happened to the Other Fellow" (which is played in the precredit sequence and provides background for one of the movie's most memorable moments) and the end title. "Battle at Piz Gloria" effectively reprises the main theme, strategically placed (thankfully) near the end of the album to help build an emotional crescendo. Providing suspenseful atmosphere, "Journey to Blofeld's Hideaway" and "Over and Out" are classic Barry pieces that help maintain a sense of musical continuity with the previous Bond films.

Some people might consider tracks such as "Try" and the instrumental version of "We Have All the Time in the World" as elevator music. But Barry's elevator music is intricate, atmospheric, and emotional, reminiscent of "Cafe Martinique" on the Thunderball soundtrack. One of my favorite Barry "soft" cuts, "Try" highlights Bond's arrival at the Hotel Splendide, marvelously capturing the setting's elegance and the impending romantic encounter with Tracy. Its value to the album is unquestionable.

Not quite as unquestionable is the inclusion of the very silly "Do You Know How Christmas Trees" are grown, sung by Nina, which sounds not unlike a child's Christmas tune. In the film, it plays only in the background of the scene at the skating rink, where Tracy meets Bond after his escape from Blofeld's facility at Piz Gloria. As a standalone piece, it seems somewhat intrusive and out of place, and it's one of the most curious pieces to be included on a soundtrack since "Twisting With James" on the Dr. No album.

Notes on the Remastered Edition
The 2003 Capitol-EMI remastered edition of this album, like the Diamonds Are Forever release, rectifies most of the problems existing on the original version. Several of the original tracks are considerably more complete, especially "This Never Happened to the Other Fellow," which now opens, appropriately, with the "Gunbarrel" James Bond theme. The only real improvement that could have been made would be to switch the order of the main title theme and "We Have All the Time in the World" to better reflect the original sequencing of the movie. The new material, however, justifies changing the overall rating of the album from 4 to 5 stars.

"Journey to Draco's Hideaway" opens with a light flute and string rendition of "We Have All the Time in the World," punctuated by a few dark, suspenseful notes, then proceeds into the proper "Journey" theme (which, in the original edition, was interpolated into the track "Journey to Blofeld's Hideaway," rendering its title erroneous). "Bond and Draco" is a soft instrumental of "We Have All the Time in the World" that incorporates a few ringing notes of the Bond theme, which plays in the background as Marc-Ange Draco explains to Bond his difficulties with his daughter Tracy.

An especially nice addition is "Gumbold's Safe," which starts out with low cello notes thumping an ominous verse, gradually rising into a tense, ringing chorus of horns and keyboards as Bond attempts to break in, photocopy, and reseal Gumbold's safe before the shady barrister can return to his office. "Hip's Trip," from The Man With the Golden Gun, appears to have been patterned after this track, if not so successfully.

"Bond Settles In" is an exercise in low-key suspense, with instrumentation somewhat reminiscent of Thunderball's softer themes. "Bond Meets the Girls" features a quintessential 60s "wowing" brass introduction, then softens to a mildly atmospheric tune that plays as Bond gets acquainted with Blofeld's unsuspecting "angels of death." "Sir Hillary's Night Out (Who Will Buy My Yesterdays?)" reprises the intro to "Bond Meets the Girls" and then becomes a melodic piano and flute piece as he makes his way to the flirtatious Ruby's suite. Then, heavy strings and pulsing chimes rise as hypnotic lighting and Telly Savalas's mesmerizing voice send Ruby into a trance, where she is susceptible to Blofeld's commands. "Blofeld's Plot" is similarly dark and suspenseful, featuring a strange, chiming rendition of "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown" interspersed with staccato bursts of drums and horns. "Escape From Piz Gloria"--featuring the finest interpolation of the main title theme--and "Bobsled Chase"--with its tense version of the fight music from "This Never Happened to the Other Fellow"--round out the album with exciting, fast-paced action music of typical Barry calibre.

With the incompleteness of the soundtrack addressed, and excellent sound quality overall, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, one of John Barry's all-time best film scores, finally rates as the best of the James Bond soundtrack albums. In recent years, the film has begun to garner some of the respect it deserves, and one can only imagine what high regard it might have been held in had Sean Connery rather than George Lazenby played Bond.

12/27/12 16:46

Film Credits
Producers: Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Salzman (Eon Productions, Ltd.)
Associate Producer: Stanley Sopel
Director: Peter Hunt
Screenplay: Richard Maibaum (based on the novel by Ian Fleming)
Cinematography: Michael Reed
Film Editor: John Glen
Production Design: Syd Cain
Art Direction: Robert W. Laing
Title Designer: Maurice Binder
Music: John Barry; Monty Norman (James Bond Theme); Hal David (Song Lyrics)
"We Have All the Time in the World" Sung by Louis Armstrong
"Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?" Sung by Nina
Film Running Time: 140 minutes
James Bond: George Lazenby
Tracy: Diana Rigg
Blofeld: Telly Savalas
Marc-Ange Draco: Gabriele Ferzetti
Irma Bunt: Ilse Steppat
Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Sir Hilary Bray: George Baker
M: Bernard Lee
Campbell: ernard Horsfall
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
Grunther: Yuri Borionko
Olympe: Virginia North
Toussaint: Geoffrey Cheshire
Che Che: Irvin Allen
Raphael: Terence Mountain
Gumbold: James Bree
Hammond: John Gay
Ruby: Angela Scoular
Nancy: Catherina von Schell
The Scandinavian Girl: Julie Ege
The Chinese Girl: Mona Chong
The Jamaican Girl: Sylvana Henriques
The American Girl: Dani Sheridan
The English Girl: Joanna Lumley
The Indian Girl: Zara
The Australian Girl: Anouska Hempel
The German Girl: Ingrid Back
The Israeli Girl: Helena Ronee
The Irish Girl: Jenny Hanley

CD Tracks

1.  We Have All the Time in the World (3:16)
2.  This Never Happened to the Other Fellow (4:28) / (5:06*)
3.  Try (3:28)
4.  Ski Chase (2:55) / (3:39*)
5.  Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown? (3:22)
6.  Main Theme: On Her Majesty's Secret Service (2:37)
7.  Journey to Blofeld's Hideaway (3:29) / (4:53*)
8.  We Have All the Time in the World (3:00)
9.  Over and Out (2:42) / (3:12*)
10.  Battle at Piz Gloria (4:04)
11.  We Have All the Time in the World/
      James Bond Theme (4:38)

*Indicates extended version on the remastered edition

Remastered Edition Bonus Tracks

12.  Journey to Draco's Hideaway (3:41)
13.  Bond and Draco (4:34)
14.  Gumbold's Safe (4:59)
15.  Bond Settles In (2:17)
16.  Bond Meets the Girls (3:27)
17.  Dusk at Piz Gloria (2:33)
18.  Sir Hillary's Night Out (Who Will Buy My Yesterdays? (4:47)
19.  Blofeld's Plot (5:19)
20.  Escape From Piz Gloria (4:53)
21.  Bobsled Chase (2:04)


We Have All the Time in the World

Lyrics by Hal David
Sung by Louis Armstrong

We have all the time in the world.
Time enough for life to unfold
All the precious things love has in store.
We have all the love in the world.
If that's all we have, you will find
We need nothing more.

Every step of the way will find us
With the cares of the world far behind us.

We have all the time in the world,
Just for love.
Nothing more, nothing less,
Only love.

Every step of the way will find us
With the cares of the world far behind us.

We have all the time in the world,
Just for love,
Nothing more, nothing less,
Only love.

Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?
Lyrics by Hal David
Sung by Nina

Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?
They need sunshine.
Sunshine can´t grow Christmas trees alone;
They need raindrops.
Raindrops can´t grow Christmas trees, here´s the reason why;
In the winter rain will freeze, and the trees will die.

Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?
They need sunshine and raindrops, friendship and kindness, and most of all...they need love.

Do you know how Santa gets around? He needs snowflakes.
Snowflakes cannot do it all, I found. He needs reindeer.
Reindeer, even though they try, they need other things.
Once a year they have to fly, and they don´t have wings.

Do you know how Santa gets around?
He needs snowflakes and reindeer, sunshine and raindrops, friendship and kindness, and most of all...he needs love.

Do you know how Christmas cards are made?
They need pictures.
Pictures can´t complete them I´m afraid.
They need greetings.
Greetings say what´s in your heart, that´s what they are for.
But, when loved ones are apart, Christmas cards need more.

Do you know how Christmas cards are made?
They need pictures and greetings, sunshine and kindness, and most of all...they need love.