The Spy Who Loved Me (soundtrack)

The Spy Who Loved Me
Soundtrack album by Marvin Hamlisch
Released 1977
Recorded April 1977
Label EMI
Producer Frank Collura (Reissue)
Marvin Hamlisch chronology
Funny Lady
The Spy Who Loved Me
The Absent-Minded Waiter
James Bond soundtrack chronology
The Man with the Golden Gun
The Spy Who Loved Me
Re-release cover
Singles from The Spy Who Loved Me
  1. "Nobody Does It Better"
    Released: 1977

The Spy Who Loved Me is the soundtrack for the tenth James Bond The Spy Who Loved Me. The soundtrack is one of only two Bond soundtracks to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score. The other score nominated was Skyfall (2013).

Theme song

The theme song "Nobody Does It Better" was composed by Marvin Hamlisch with lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and was performed by Carly Simon. It was nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Song but lost to "You Light Up My Life". It was one of five Bond theme songs to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. The other four were "Live and Let Die" in 1973, "For Your Eyes Only" in 1981, "Skyfall", and "Writing on the Wall". "Skyfall" went on to win the award in 2013 and "Writing on the Wall" won in 2016.

It was the first theme song with a title different from the film's, although the phrase "the spy who loved me" is in the lyrics. Hamlisch states in the documentary on the film's DVD that the song's opening bars were influenced by a riff in a Mozart tune. The driving disco rhythm to "Bond '77" is very similar to the Bee Gees' 1976 single "You Should Be Dancing".

The theme song became a hit that is still popular today and has been featured in numerous films including Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Little Black Book (2004), Lost in Translation and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004). In 2004, the song was honoured by the American Film Institute as the 67th greatest film song as part of their 100 Years...100 Songs countdown.


The film's soundtrack was composed by Marvin Hamlisch, who filled in for veteran John Barry due to his being unavailable for work in the United Kingdom due to tax reasons. The soundtrack, in comparison to other Bond films of the time, is more disco-oriented and included a new disco rendition of the "James Bond Theme", titled "Bond 77".

An element of the Barry style remains in the suspenseful film sequence in which Bond and Amasova try to track down Jaws at an antiquated site in Egypt. The accompanying Hamlisch music echoes Barry's "Stalking," from the pre-credit fantasy sequence of From Russia with Love, featuring Bond (Sean Connery) and villain Red Grant (Robert Shaw).

A large percentage of the music in the film was re-recorded for the soundtrack album and, therefore, does not sound exactly like the music in the film, the track "Bond '77" being the most obvious. It is a cue that was recorded several times specifically for different moments of the film (the opening ski chase, the car chase on land, then underwater and the gun battle with the troops on the Liparus). The soundtrack album uses a different 'medley' version, slower in pace, which features aspects of most of the variations of the track used throughout the film, compiled into one song. This version was also released as a 7" single on United Artists records (the track "Ride to Atlantis" was the B-Side). The main theme by Simon also differs in the film; it has a fade out on the album/single but in the film's opening titles, it has a more abrupt ending, finishing with a long electronic note. The track "Anya" on the album does not feature in the film. There are also many cues used in the film that have yet to appear on any soundtrack release.

The "Bond '77" recordings featuring in the film are the soundtrack's most disco-influenced part. The soundtrack to the 1981 Bond film For Your Eyes Only by Bill Conti is far more disco-oriented, featuring funky guitars, bongos and a lot of electronic synthesizers.

Track listing

  1. "Nobody Does It Better (Main Title)" – Carly Simon – 3:29
  2. "Bond 77" – 4:19
  3. "Ride to Atlantis" – 3:28
  4. "Mojave Club" – 2:13
  5. "Nobody Does It Better (Instrumental)" – 4:43
  6. "Anya" – 3:19
  7. "The Tanker" – 4:24
  8. "The Pyramids" – 1:37
  9. "Eastern Lights" – 3:22
  10. "Conclusion" – 1:37
  11. "Nobody Does It Better (End Title)" – Carly Simon – 3:25

In addition, Hamlisch incorporates into his score several pieces of classical music. As Stromberg feeds his duplicitous secretary to a shark, the villain plays Bach's "Air on the G String". He then plays the second movement's opening string section, Andante, of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 as Atlantis rises from the sea.

"Nocturne No. 8 in D-Flat, Op. 27 No. 2" by Chopin crops up later, when Bond first meets Stromberg, as reportedly does an excerpt from Saint-Saëns' "The Aquarium" from The Carnival of the Animals.

Finally, Hamlisch cheekily segues his score into an excerpt from that of David Lean's 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia when Bond and Anya Amasova are wandering through the desert; according to a documentary on the DVD, this idea was originally a joke by one of the film editors who played the music over the dailies of the scene. It became a trend, with the subsequent two films in the series similarly referencing 'classic' film music within their scores.

See also


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