Diamonds Are Forever
Artist: John Barry
Genre: Film Soundtrack

Original CD Release
Year: 1990
Record Label: EMI-Manhattan
Catalog No: CDP-7-96209-2
CD Running Time: 34:31
  Remastered CD Release
Year: 2003
Record Label: Capitol-EMI
Catalog No: 72435-41420-2-4
CD Running Time: 75:50

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After extensive travels, James Bond (Agent 007) returns valiantly from South Africa, having completed his mission to kill his arch enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. However, Bond arrives only to discover that there's a pressing case waiting for him: a large amount of diamonds has been stolen from the South African mines and two offbeat assassins are killing everyone in the smuggling ring, one-by-one. Bond goes undercover as Peter Franks, diamond smuggler, in search of recovering the merchandise. When Bond investigates mysterious activities in the world diamond market, he makes a shocking discovery: that the evil Blofeld is still alive, and has been stockpiling the precious gems to use in his deadly laser satellite capable of destroying massive targets on the planet. Bond, with the help of beautiful smuggler Tiffany Case, sets out to stop the madman, but along the way, he must contend with a host of enemies. He confronts offbeat assassins Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, two of Blofeld's best assassins. Bond must also navigate his way through the wiles of Bambi and Thumper—two gorgeous sexpots who are more than a match for Bond in hand-to-hand combat. Finally, there's the reclusive billionaire Willard Whyte who Bond suspects may hold a vital clue to Blofeld's elusive whereabouts. (Synopsis from

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

While most do not consider Diamonds Are Forever one of Connery's better outings, I have a special fondness for it since it was my introduction to James Bond in the cinema (although I remember seeing the trailer for the double bill of Thunderball and You Only Live Twice in 1970 and thinking "Now those I gotta see!" Somehow, though, I never did until several years later). The second time I saw Diamonds Are Forever, it was in 1973 at a drive-in, and I took my little cassette recorder and taped the soundtrack from the car speaker.

From then on, I was a John Barry freak.

The title song is another Barry masterpiece, one of my personal favorites. The return of Shirley Bassey brings not only a bit of nostalgia to the soundtrack but a certain elegance that might have been considered passé in those days of blossoming rock-styled or straight orchestral scores. From the soft chiming opening notes, to the lyrical, guitar-flecked verses, to the heavy bass steps that lead into a building crescendo of horns, the song's progression perfectly reflects the structure of the movie. While not as powerful as the Goldfinger main title, Diamonds Are Forever is a quintessential Bond theme.

Once again, the absence of some key tracks and the drastic reordering of the music on the album shows a lack of consideration on the producers' part. Several tracks following the main title come from much later in the film, and they do not mesh particularly well as a collection. However, "Bond Meets Bambi and Thumper" (track two) is an especially fine piece, bringing in a slow, deep-toned Bond theme, with a ringing synthesizer playing the traditional staccato guitar notes. It's a moody piece to presage Bond's rather unspectacular tumble with the two women who hold Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean) captive at his own desert hideaway.

As an aficionado of Barry's softer side, I particularly enjoy "Circus, Circus" (the background music of the scene at the famous Vegas establishment), "Tiffany Case," and the two instrumental variations of the title song, although it's somewhat puzzling why two very similar versions are placed back to back. (On the original LP, the second instrumental opened side two.) "Q's Trick" calls to mind traditional elevator music, but like all such Barry pieces, with its light emotional hooks, it stands the concept of mere muzak on its head. It plays in the background as Q (Desmond Llewellyn) demonstrates to Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) the handy little electromagnetic RPM controller he's designed to bust one slot machine after another.

Suspense abounds in "Death at the Whyte House" and "Bond Smells a Rat" (the latter of which is the featured title of no less than three cuts on various Bond soundtracks). Unfortunately, "Bond Smells a Rat" is the only track on the album to feature the eerie woodwind theme of Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, which plays prominently throughout the film. The two gay killers are reasonably interesting (and grotesque) in their own right, but it's Barry's haunting music heralding their appearance on the screen that really serves to give one a fair case of the creeps.

"007 and Counting" calls to mind the "space themes" from You Only Live Twice, but it lacks the mysterious edge of the earlier film's "Capsule in Space." The album ends on a dramatic if not unexpected note: "To Hell With Blofeld," a fine orchestration (the third) of Barry's 007 theme.

Notes on the Remastered Album:
Now this is more like it. The newly remastered CD has superb sound quality, and even some of the cuts from the original album release have been extended, such as "Bond Meets Bambi and Thumper" and "To Hell With Blofeld." The sharper sound quality and additional tracks reinforce the fact that Diamonds Are Forever is truly a John Barry master work. The "Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd" theme is a long-awaited treat, and—almost oddly—the track "Airport Source/On the Road" features some of Barry's finest incidental music, which is heard only briefly in the film. The "Gunbarrel and Manhunt" theme makes for a most welcome addition, since the opening version for this film is among the most dramatic—punctuated by shrill piccolos and seguéing into a brief oriental flute theme. In the film, a figure suddenly comes crashing through the paper door of a Japanese room as Bond goes on a rampage looking for Blofeld, presumably to avenge his wife's death in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The following action music that takes us through the pre-credits sequence and fight is alternately energetic and eerie.

Even the choral music accompanying Bond's near-cremation at Morton Slumber's funeral home is included—and it's really quite breathtaking. "Plenty, Then Tiffany" uses the chiming opening of the main title theme to good effect, though the composition isn't quite as poignant as "Tiffany Case." The additional and alternate cues, consisting of various action motifs and frenetic jazz riffs provide an entertaining mix to round out the album.

The new and extended music more than doubles the running time of the soundtrack, and Diamonds Are Forever, along with On Her Majesty's Secret Service, benefits from the newly available material perhaps more than any other. I give it top recommendation.

Updated 12/27/12

Film Credits
Producers: Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Saltzman (Eon Productions, Ltd.)
Associate Producer: Stanley Sopel
Director: Guy Hamilton
Screenplay: Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz (based on the novel by Ian Fleming)
Cinematography: Ted Moore
Film Editors: Bert Bates, John W. Holmes
Production Design: Ken Adam
Art Direction: Bill Kenney, Jack Maxsted
Title Designer: Maurice Binder
Music: John Barry; Monty Norman (James Bond Theme); Don Black (Title Song Lyrics)
Title Song Sung by Shirley Bassey
Film Running Time: 119 minutes

James Bond: Sean Connery
Tiffany Case: Jill St. John
Blofeld: Charles Gray
Plenty O'Toole: Lana Wood
Willard Whyte: Jimmy Dean
Bert Saxby: Bruce Cabot
Mr. Kidd: Putter Smith
Mr. Wint: Bruce Glover
Felix Leiter: Norman Burton
Dr. Metz: Joseph Fürst
M: Bernard Lee
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
Shady Tree: Leonard Barr
Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Mrs. Whistler: Margaret Lacey
Peter Franks: Joe Robinson
Dr. Tynan: David de Keyser
Sir Donald Munger: Laurence Naismith
Mr. Slumber: David Bauer
Klaus Hergersheimer: Ed Bishop
Bambi: Lola Larson
Thumper: Trina Parks

CD Tracks

1. Main Title: Diamonds Are Forever (2:40)/(2:52*)
2. Bond Meets Bambi and Thumper (2:16)/(3:09*)
3. Moon Buggy Ride (3:12)/(4:16*)
4. Circus, Circus (2:57)
5. Death at the Whyte House (3:43)/(4:54*)
6. Diamonds Are Forever (Instrumental Version) (3:45)
7. Diamonds Are Forever (Instrumental Version) (2:32)/(2:52*)
8. Bond Smells a Rat (1:51)
9. Tiffany Case (3:46)
10. 007 and Counting (3:31)
11. Q's Trick (2:26)
12. To Hell With Blofeld (1:28)/(5:09*)

*Indicates extended version on the remastered CD

Bonus Tracks (Remastered Edition)

13.  Gunbarrel and Manhunt (3:11)
14.  Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd/Bond to Holland (4:04)
15.  Peter Franks (2:55)
16.  Airport Source/On the Road (3:01)
17.  Slumber, Inc. (2:23)
18.  The Whyte House (2:22)
19.  Plenty, Then Tiffany (2:27)
20.  Following the Diamonds (4:04)
21.  Additional and Alternate Cues (9:11)


Diamonds Are Forever
Lyrics by Don Black
Sung by Shirley Bassey

Diamonds are forever.
They are all I need to please me.
They can stimulate and tease me.
They won't leave in the night,
I've no fear that they might desert me.
Diamonds are forever,
Hold one up and then caress it,
Touch it, stroke it and undress it,
I can see every part,
Nothing hides in the heart to hurt me.

I don't need love,
For what good will love do me?
Diamonds never lie to me.
For when love's gone,
They'll luster on.

Diamonds are forever,
Sparkling round my little finger.
Unlike men, the diamonds linger;
Men are mere mortals who
Are not worth going to your grave for.

I don't need love.
For what good will love do me?
Diamonds never lie to me,
For when love's gone,
They'll luster on.

Diamonds are forever, forever, forever.
Diamonds are forever, forever, forever.
Forever and ever.