The Living Daylights
Artist: John Barry
Genre: Film Soundtrack

Original CD Release:
Year: 1987
Record Label: Warner Brothers
Catalog Number: 9-25616-2
CD Running Time: 35:23

Remastered CD Release:
Year: 2003
Record Label: Capitol-EMI
Catalog Number: 72435-41451-2-4
CD Running Time: 65:19

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After James Bond (Agent 007) helps Russian officer Georgi Koskov make a daring defection to the West, the intelligence community is shocked when Koskov is abducted from his remote hiding place. Bond leaps into action, following a trail that leads to the gorgeous Kara, who plays Bond as easily as she plays her Stradivari cello. As they unravel a complex weapons scheme with global implications, they are forced into soaring chases, a dangerous jailbreak, and an epic battle in the Afghanistan desert with tanks, airplanes, and a legion of freedom fighters on horseback. (Synopsis from

Damned Rodan's Album Review

Rating (out of 5):

While The Living Daylights brought us a new actor as James Bond (Timothy Dalton), a new Miss Moneypenny (Caroline Bliss), and a somewhat harder-edged script than the previous few Roger Moore outings, the score came courtesy of the very familiar John Barry—his final contribution to the Bond series. The film itself was reasonably well-received, with Dalton earning mixed but generally positive reviews for his interpretation of 007, which he derived directly from Fleming's novels. The film seemed an attempt to find the middle ground between more serious entries such as On Her Majesty's Secret Service and For Your Eyes Only—the type of film that would suit Dalton's dry, mostly humorless portrayal—and the lightheartedness of the Moore-era films. It did not quite succeed on either count, although the minimizing of the overt foolishness prevalent in The Man With the Golden Gun, Moonraker, Octopussy, and A View to a Kill made for more than a breath of fresh air. Working against the movie was the most colorless villain ever to threaten 007—"General" Brad Whitaker, played by Joe Don Baker—and a pedestrian plot, which, as a product of the dying days of the Cold War, failed to generate much in the way of new twists.

After the success of Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill" as a single in 1985, it was inevitable that The Living Daylights would feature a theme of similar style and substance. This time, the main title was performed by the Swedish group A-ha, whose single "Take On Me" (and to a lesser extent "The Sun Always Shines on TV") had propelled them to the top of the charts in both Europe and the United States. With music and lyrics by Barry and A-ha member Pal Waaktar, the song did not fare nearly as well commercially as the Duran Duran single, but on film it was easily as effective, if not moreso, than the former—partially because Maurice Binder at least halfway acquitted himself after his gaudy mess from A View to a Kill. In addition, for the first time, an altogether different song played during the closing credits: "If There Was a Man," performed by Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders. Original end title songs would become an ongoing trend that has continued to the present, with varying success. Hynde and the Pretenders also provided a song titled "Where Has Everybody Gone?" that could only be heard in small doses on film, as the music coming from the headphones of the killer Necros's (Andreas Wisniewski) ever-present Walkman. (Necros's novel way of dispatching most victims was to strangle them with the headphone cord; shades of Red Grant and his ever-pragmatic wristwatch.)

The original Warner Brothers release of the soundtrack album in 1987 was woefully short, although it did include most of the best music from the film. In 1998, Rykodisc released a full-length soundtrack, with almost the double the running time of the original, and also featuring a short video clip from the movie. The recent Capitol-EMI remastered edition (2003) is the same as the Rykodisc release, sans the extra video feature.

For this film, Barry composed a score steeped in tradition, featuring distinctive, wailing brass; deep string bass lines; and heavy martial cadences on percussion; but to add emphasis and give the score a more contemporary sound, a number of tracks featured a uniquely 80s' techno beat, such as "Necros Attacks," "Ice Chase," and "'Assassin' and Drugged" (a cut from the extended version). Despite what might seem a dated effort some 16 years later, the soundtrack holds up remarkably well, and even foreshadows the sharp, techno-driven scores of David Arnold for Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.

Barry uses a soft, instrumental version of "If There Was a Man" to underscore scenes featuring Kara (Maryam d'Abo), such as "Kara Meets Bond" and "Approaching Kara," to excellent effect. While Maryam d'Abo has never received great acclaim as a Bond girl, I find her very appealing, with a sometimes subtle, sometimes straightforward charm and a wide-eyed innocence that belies a long-suffering heart. Bond appropriately shows increasing tenderness toward her as he attempts to draw her away from her dangerous relationship with the ostensibly defecting Russian General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe). Her best scene takes place as Bond is attempting to spirit her out of Bratislava, Czechoslavakia, where she insists upon retrieving her Stradivarius cello from the conservatoire. "No way!" Bond flatly states. Cut to Bond waiting impatiently for her outside the building in his Aston Martin Volante.

Notes on the Remastered Edition
If the original Warner release of the soundtrack is an abridged but entertaining album, the extended version nearly doubles the pleasure; the bonus tracks provide a full half hour of previously unreleased music. Among the best are the "Gunbarrel" opening theme, which opens track 13, "Exercise at Gibralter"; "Approaching Kara"; "'Assassin' and Drugged"; "Air Bond"; and "Murder at the Fair," a particularly suspenseful piece (used during the murder of the rather timid agent Saunders [Thomas Wheatley]) that incorporates instrumental snippets of "Where Has Everybody Gone?" and the main title theme. The alternate end title track provides a beautiful instrumental version of "If There Was a Man."

Reaction to John Barry's final James Bond score is wildly mixed. Many consider it the crowning achievement of 25 years of 007 scoring; others find it sorely lacking in the elements that made his best work so compelling—often pointing to its late 80s techno sound as the culprit. Personally, while I don't consider The Living Daylights Barry's finest score, I do like the title song, and the soundtrack itself is imbued with an agreeably dark ambience that perfectly complements Dalton's performance as Bond. It rises head and shoulders above the score for the subsequent Timothy Dalton Bond film, and Barry's absence from future entries in the series feels almost as if an old friend has been buried.

Revised 12/27/12 16:43

Film Credits
Producers: Albert R. Broccoli & Michael G. Wilson
Associate Producer: Barbara Broccoli
Line Producer: Arno Ortmair
Associate Producer: Tom Pevsner
Director: John Glen

Screenplay: Richard Maibaum & Michael G. Wilson (based on the story by Ian Fleming)
Cinematography: Alec Mills
Film Editors: Peter Davies, John Grover
Production Designer: Peter Lamont
Title Designer: Maurice Binder
Music: John Barry; Monty Norman (James Bond Theme); Pal Waaktar (Title Song Lyrics)
Title Song Sung by A-Ha
End Title Song Sung by Chrissie Hynde
Film Running Time: 130 minutes

James Bond: Timothy Dalton
Kara Milovy: Maryam d'Abo
Gen. Georgi Koskov: Jeroen Krabbé
Brad Whitaker: Joe Don Baker
Gen. Leonid Pushkin: John Rhys-Davies
Kamran Shah: Art Malik
Necros: Andreas Wisniewski
Saunders: Thomas Wheatley
M: Robert Brown
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
Sir Frederick Gray, Minister of Defense: Geoffrey Keen
General Anatol Gogol: Walter Gotell
Moneypenny: Caroline Bliss
Felix Leiter: John Terry
Rubavitch: Virginia Hey
Col. Feyador: John Bowe
Rosika Miklos: Julie T. Wallace
Linda: Kell Tyler
Liz: Catherine Rabett
Ava: Dulice Liecier
Chief of Security, Tangier: Nadim Sawalha
Koskov's KGB Minder: Alan Talbot
Imposter: Carl Rigg
Chief of Snow Leopard Brotherhood: Tony Cyrus
Achmed: Atik Mohamed
Kamran's Man: Michael Moor
Kamran's Man: Sumar Khan
Jailer: Ken Sharrock
Gasworks Supervisor: Peter Porteous
Male Secretary, Blayden: Antony Carrick
004: Frederick Warder
002: Glyn Baker
Orchestra Conductor: John Barry

CD Tracks

1.  Main Title: The Living Daylights (4:16)
2.  Necros Attacks (2:04)
3.  The Sniper Was a Woman (2:30)
4.  Ice Chase (4:05)
5.  Kara Meets Bond (2:47)
6.  Koskov Escapes (2:33)

7.  Where Has Everybody Gone? (3:37)
8.  Into Vienna (2:50)
9.  Hercules Takes Off (2:17)
10.  Mujahadin and Opium (3:13)
11.  In-Flight Fight (3:12)
12.  End Title: If There Was a Man (2:54)

Bonus Tracks (Remastered Edition)

13.  Exercise at Gibralter (6:22)
14.  Approaching Kara (2:22)
15.  Murder at the Fair (2:23)
16.  "Assassin" and Drugged (2:44)
17.  Airbase Jailbreak (4:38)

18.  Afghanistan Plan (3:35)
19.  Air Bond (1:46)
20.  Final Confrontation (1:59)
21.  Alternate End Titles (3:22)


The Living Daylights

Lyrics by Pal Waaktar and John Barry
Performed by A-Ha

Hey driver, where we going?
I swear, my nerves are soaring.
Set my hopes up way too high,
The living's in the way we die.

Comes the morning and the headlights fade away,
Hundred thousand people, I'm the one they frame.
I've been waiting long for one of us to say,
Save the darkness and let it never fade away.

In the Living Daylights,
In the Living Daylights.

All right, hold on tight now,
It's down, down to the wire.
Set your hopes up way too high,
The living's in the way we die.

Comes the morning and the headlights fade away,
Hundred thousand changes, everything's the same.
I've been waiting long for one of us to say,
Save the darkness and let it never fade away.

In the Living Daylights,
In the Living Daylights.

Comes the morning and the headlights fade away,
Hundred thousand people, I'm the one they frame.
In the Living Daylights,
In the Living Daylights.

Where Has Everybody Gone?
Performed by Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders

Where has everybody gone?
I've got this feeling, God, am I here on my own?
Where's my support now, where's the ranks of the strong?
In this faceless crowd, where can I belong?

Everybody's gone insane to catch a plane to help the heavens closer,
They want the kingdom but they don't want the king,
They want his throne.
And there's no time, there's no time at all!

Where has everybody gone?
With great pleasure, I sing your national song,
Because your beautiful land will soon be long gone...
And the ashes of your memoirs will be strewn across the lawn!

Hack your face, save your case, reserve your place in the ever-after,
Cause hallowed halls are lined with walls,
That are cracked with delirious laughter.
And there's no time, there's no time at all.

Where has everybody gone?
There's no time, there's no time at all.
You won't survive...and you`ll soon be long gone...gone, your`ll soon be long gone!

If There Was a Man
Performed by Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders

If there was a man I could dream of,
I'd dream about a dream come true.
If there was a man I could ever love,
I'd wait a million years for someone just like you.

All my life I've been belated.
Never taking any chances...always hesitating.
Where's the payoff? Where's the glory?
Where's the one I'm holding out for?
Was he walking through the door,
The one that you walked through...if it isn`t you?

If there was a man I could dream of,
I'd dream about a dream come true.
If there was a man I could ever love,
I'd wait a million years for someone just like you.

Happy endings never find me!
I'd put all my fantasies and hopes of love behind me.
All my moments overdue but...

If there was a man out there for me
I wish it would be someone who could love me true
If someone was you.