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The Living Daylights
Album Cover Art
1987 Warner
1998 Rykodisc
Album 2 Cover Art
2003 EMI
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Contains Theme by:
Monty Norman

"The Living Daylights" Performed by:

"If There Was a Man" and "Where Has Everybody Gone?" Performed by:
The Pretenders

1998 Album Produced by:
Ian Gilchrist
Lukas Kendall
Labels Icon
Warner Brothers

Rykodisc USA
(June 9th, 1998)

(February 11th, 2003)
Availability Icon
The original 1987 Warner Brothers album was printed in only limited numbers and is long out of print. The expanded 1998 Rykodisc album was a regular U.S. release but has also fallen out of print. The 2003 EMI/Capitol album is a mass commercial pressing that was initially sold at a retail price of $10.
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Decorative Nonsense
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you're looking for one John Barry score from the James Bond franchise to start a collection with, for The Living Daylights is the ultimate maturation of the composer's work for the concept.

Avoid it... if the addition of synthesizers and drum loops to the jazzy orchestral tradition of the franchise could be just as obnoxious to you here as it was in A View to a Kill.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 6/19/98, REVISED 4/16/08
The Living Daylights: (John Barry) Alas, all good things must eventually come to an end. In the 25th year since introducing the character of James Bond to audiences in 1962, the 007 franchise was experiencing a transition. The softer side of the character of 007 was retired along with actor Roger Moore, who declined to return. And while Pierce Brosnan was the first choice as a replacement, he frustratingly couldn't accept the role due to contractual reasons. The producers then turned to Shakespearian actor Timothy Dalton, who had been among the original candidates to replace Sean Connery early in the 1970's. Dalton took the character in a direction that Brosnan would follow: the more serious and gritty Bond that was true to the Ian Fleming novels. Director John Glen continued his own trend of pressing storylines that were earthbound and realistic, and The Living Daylights makes use of both the Cold War tradition as well as the then-current war between the Soviets and Afghanistan. While Dalton would only appear in two Bond films before lawsuits tied up the franchise until the Brosnan era, he was quite effective, and along with both the well-grounded plot and a significant role for music in the film, The Living Daylights is among the strongest of the 1980's Bond films and grossed almost $200 million worldwide, the fourth highest total in the franchise at the time. The film also represented the 11th and final Bond adventure for composer John Barry, who was well engaged in a final phase of his career that brought him Oscar gold for his broad dramas for lush orchestras. All indications are that Barry would have liked to have contributed further to the franchise, but after the single entry by Michael Kamen for Licence to Kill and a disastrous score for Goldeneye by Eric Serra, young Brit David Arnold firmly rooted himself as the new (and retro-conscious) sound of the franchise. Perhaps the most tragic aspect of Barry's departure after The Living Daylights is the fact that the score was among his very best for the franchise, topping many collectors' lists along with On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Barry was himself adapting to meet the needs of the franchise as well, directing both the score and songs in such a way as to remain viable in the digital era while maintaining the consistently jazzy style of their roots. Without a doubt, he managed, along with the producers and director, to provide The Living Daylights with the precise balance that remained elusive through even some of Arnold's later efforts. Part of the reason for this success is the simple fact that music played a bigger role in the story of the film. The love interest is a cello player whose performances are integral to the plot, one of the songs is used as direct source material for a villain, and Barry himself makes a brief cameo as a conductor of an orchestra in the film. The incredible success of Duran Duran's song for A View to a Kill, which blasted through music charts in both the U.S. and U.K., caused several changes in philosophy regarding the songs, too. Not only would one popular rock band of the era be contracted to perform, but two. Barry had decided that the franchise's tradition of repeating the same song over the opening and end credits had become too generic, and in the process of selling the idea of being able to market multiple songs per Bond film, this idea met with enthusiasm from the producers and studio. In the end, two different bands ultimately contributed three songs for the picture, all of which co-written by Barry, giving the composer a wealth of material to adapt into his underscore. To match the appeal of Duran Duran for the opening title song, Barry worked with the Norwegian band a-ha and its lead writer, Pal Waaktaar, to produce a straight rock song. The melody of the song is quite strong, as is some of the orchestral and synthetic accompaniment Barry arranged for the song's instrumental interlude. The distinctly European sound of a-ha caused the song to perform far better in Europe, reaching fifth on the charts in the U.K. Perhaps by no coincidence, the film's other singing contributions came from the band The Pretenders, who were red hot at the time and offered a greater appeal to American listeners.

Barry's work with singer, writer, and mainstay of The Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde, yielded results far more true to the traditional sound of the franchise. Her primary contribution to The Living Daylights was the love ballad to be heard over the end credits (the formula that Barry was arguing for at the time), though she would also be responsible for a source song representing the villain's henchman, Necros. While the ballad, "If There Was a Man," is predictably alluring and reached success on the British charts, the spirited and harder rock song "Where Has Everybody Gone?" representing Necros achieved greater heights on American charts. There has been significant speculation that Barry may have lobbied to have "Where Has Everybody Gone?" made into the title piece of the film, and the synchronization of the wild, descending brass motif at the end of each bar of the song with the words "living daylights" is perhaps no coincidence. Ultimately, this song's only vocal use in the film coincided with the henchman's headphones during the buildup to an assassination attempt. Barry quickly made use of this theme for the character throughout the film, as well as the incorporation of the love ballad for the Russian cello-playing spy, Kara. The title theme was adopted, usually with the same rock instrumentation, as an action motif similar in style of usage as the theme to A View to a Kill. Unique to the score are the continued references to Monty Norman's original theme for 007, as well as a lush motif for the location of Afghanistan. Minor suspense motifs with connections to Bond scores of the previous generation are a bit more sparse, but Barry does continue to develop on some of them in this final effort. The score for The Living Daylights is often heralded as one of the great successes of the franchise if only because of the fact that it has so many melodies to choose from that almost every cue makes reference to one. There are only a few standalone cues of dull suspense and, in fact, there are quite a few dramatic touches of Somewhere in Time and Out of Africa, as well as the composer's 1960's epics, referenced as well.

Ratings Icon
Average: 4.1 Stars
***** 658 5 Stars
**** 243 4 Stars
*** 133 3 Stars
** 88 2 Stars
* 74 1 Stars
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Marcato - September 1, 2007, at 1:29 p.m.
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Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1987 Warner Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 35:14
• 1. The Living Daylights - performed by a-ha (4:14)
• 2. Necros Attacks (2:00)
• 3. The Sniper Was a Woman (2:27)
• 4. Ice Chase (4:00)
• 5. Kara Meets Bond (2:43)
• 6. Koskov Escapes (2:20)
• 7. Where Has Everybody Gone? - performed by The Pretenders (3:33)
• 8. Into Vienna* (2:44)
• 9. Hercules Takes Off (2:12)
• 10. Mujahadin and Opium (3:09)
• 11. Inflight Fight (3:08)
• 12. If There Was a Man - performed by The Pretenders (2:44)
* track not heard in film
1998 Rykodisc and 2003 EMI Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 65:17

Notes Icon
John Barry in The Living Daylights
John Barry can be seen conducting in a scene from The Living Daylights. He can also be seen vigorously conducting an orchestra in Deadfall. Neither appearance is credited.

Both the expanded albums (from 1998 and 2003) have extensive notes about the film and score, including material by Geoff Leonard and Pete Walker. As with its two sister releases, the 1998 Ryko album is an enhanced CD with credits, notes, trailer, and a few multimedia extras.

The correct order of the tracks on the 1998 and 2003 albums is as follows: 13, 1, 3, 6, 2, 7, 14, 5, 4, 15, 16, 17, 10, 18, 9, 11, 19, 20, 12 (tracks 8 and 21 not used).

Lyrics for "The Living Daylights":

Hey driver, where're we going
I swear my nerves are showing

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 people...I'm the one they blame
I've been waiting long for one of us to say
Save the darkness, let it never fade away
In the living daylights

All right, hold on tighter now
It's down, down to the wire

Set your hopes way too high
The living's in the way we die

Comes the morning and the headlights fade in rain
Hundred thousand changes...everything's the same
I've been waiting long for one of us to say
Save the darkness, let it never fade away
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
Copyright © 1998-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Living Daylights are Copyright © 1998, Warner Brothers, Rykodisc USA, Capitol/EMI and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/19/98 and last updated 4/16/08.
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