John Barry

Goldfinger [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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One of John Barry's best efforts, with a particularly striking title song belted out by Shirley Bassey between blasting brass fills, Goldfinger was also the first James Bond soundtrack to hit the number one spot on the U.S. charts (ironically, displacing another United Artists soundtrack, A Hard Day's Night), even as Bassey's performance hit number eight as a single. While Barry effectively expanded his collection of Bond themes with Thunderball (underwater themes) and You Only Live Twice (space themes), Goldfinger was a prime opportunity to lock in some of the action themes that would recur over the next 35 years. Of particular note is the track compiling Barry's cues for the robbery of Fort Knox ("Dawn Raid on Fort Knox"), which provides a slow build so wonderfully agonizing that the remainder of the album, including "The Arrival of the Bomb and Count Down," with its pounding drums and roaring brass, actually serves as stress relief. In February of 2003, Goldfinger was issued in a remastered edition that featured not only significantly improved sound but also added an extra nine minutes of music, contained in four sections of the soundtrack that originally appeared only on the British LP edition. Rather than mere filler, those cuts -- "Golden Girl," "Death of Tilley," "The Laser Beam," and "Pussy Galore's Flying Circus," the latter particularly entertaining -- add significant elements to the score, which otherwise always seemed somewhat sketchy on the album. The sound is also a significant improvement over any previous edition of the soundtrack, and the only flaw is that the makers didn't program the bonus tracks into the body of previously extant music, but on CD it's easy enough to do that ourselves.

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