Last week I read Moonraker by Ian Fleming and watched the film of the same name. The book was better than the movie – big surprise – but neither were spectacular. The novel was a straightforward old-school thriller that, unfortunately, lacked mystery. It’s plot was more cohesive and believable than the film’s, but it didn’t keep me guessing. While I’ve yet to read them all, Fleming’s Casino Royale is still my favorite in the series and coincidentally it’s also my favorite Bond film. But back to Moonraker the movie. The opening scene, where Bond is fighting another man in mid-air for a parachute, is one of the greatest in cinematic history (check it out below). And the movie’s theme, written by Hal David and sung by Shirley Bassey, is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. For your viewing and listening pleasure, I’ve also included the opening title sequence from Moonraker below. The bottom line is this: If you’re a James Bond fan, you should read the book and see the movie. Just don’t expect either of them to blow you away.
I woke up this morning and read that Hal David died from complications related to a stroke. Working with Burt Bacharach, he wrote innumerable songs for a variety of recording artists, but their most memorable material was sung by the incomparable Dionne Warwick. Bacharach, David and Warwick defined the 1960s with hits such as “I Say A Little Pray,” “Don’t Make Me Over” and “Walk On By.”
To celebrate 50 years in show business, Dionne Warwick’s upcoming album, Now, produced by Phil Ramone, will feature four new songs written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. While I look forward to hearing the rest of the album, these four songs will serve as a reminder of the magic these three musical giants created when working together.
Below is a 14-minute medley by Dionne Warwick, in 2000, during a tribute to Burt Bacharach and Hal David, as well as a lesser-known, but beautiful Bacharach-David song, “Sunny Weather Lover.” Enjoy!