Soundtrack Review: Moonraker

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Composed and conducted by: John Barry

One of the last James Bond novels to be adapted to film was Moonraker. The timing was perfect since Star Wars had sparked a science-fiction craze a couple of years earlier. Its more realistic plot of a madman planning to fire a single earth-to-earth rocket was of course adjusted to feature an actual space station and laser battles in the climax. The villain of the Moonraker film plots to kill off earth’s human population and repopulate it with a genetically perfect remnant. As usual, James Bond and his love interests are there to stop him. Famed henchman Jaws also makes a comeback (though his menace is drastically neutered).

Despite continuing tax issues, John Barry was able to score Moonraker and here he provides one of his most out-of-the-box Bond scores, featuring choir and a heavier than normal dosage of romance. It is a surprisingly slow work to accompany such a wacky action film. Unfortunately, the album was not able to be expanded in its re-release and only a half-hour of music is available on the main soundtrack. This is frustrating because I think there was almost enough room on an LP to fit the entire score. There is a lot of random pairings of cues in the tracks, so it would take some editing software to rearrange the music chronologically if that’s a big deal for you. Continue reading