Diamonds Are Forever

1971
LP: United Artists UAS 5220
Original CD: EMI Records CDP 7 96209-2
Remastered CD: Capitol 72435-41420-2-4
Lyric by Don Black

Tracks 13 through 21 are new to the remastered edition.
  1. Diamonds are Forever (vocal by Shirley Bassey)
  2. Bond Meets Bambi and Thumper
  3. Moon Buggy Ride
  4. Circus Circus
  5. Death at the Whyte House
  6. Diamonds are Forever (instrumental)
  7. Diamonds are Forever (instrumental)
  8. Bond Smells a Rat
  9. Tiffany Case
  10. 007 and Counting
  11. Q's Trick
  12. To Hell with Blofeld
  13. Gunbarrel and Manhunt
  14. Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd/Bond to Holland
  15. Peter Franks
  16. Airport Source/On the Road
  17. Slumber, Inc.
  18. The Whyte House
  19. Plenty, then Tiffany
  20. Following the Diamonds
  21. Additional and Alternate Ques

Review

First the generalities and then I'll talk about the remastered edition. By the way--if you read the On Her Majesty's Secret Service review, then much of this will be the same.

Diamonds Are Forever brought Sean Connery back into the fold as Bond, and the music took a step back as well. Gone were the hard-driving, up-tempo chases and synths. Back were Barry's trademark slow tempi, lush orchestration and melifluous melodic line. The music primarily took from two inspirations--one is the musical tinkle meant to suggest the twinkle of diamonds; the other is the Las Vegas sound--big band jazz in the Billy May/Nelson Riddle style. You know the sound--Martin and Sinatra, show girls, splashy multi-colored signs for the great old casinos--the Sands, the Dunes, the Sahara.

Now normally I'm against "remastered" editions because usually it's just a way to get fools like me to buy the same music over and over again, but these releases promised extra music to boot, so I laid out my money again. The remastering really did make a difference. When I ripped them as MP3s and played them on the computer, I could not tell much difference at all. When I played them on my big stereo with the good headphones, then the differences came through. The remastered CD sounds much better.

So that leaves the extra music. That is definitely worth it. If you liked Diamonds Are Forever before you'll love it more with the extra music. There are two levels of extra music on this CD. The first level is comprised of the bonus tracks that were not available on the earlier releases--this includes the famous "Gunbarrel" that should have been on all the albums to begin with, "Peter Franks," where Bond gets into a nasty elevator fight, "Slumber, Inc." where he almost gets creamated, and "Plenty, then Tiffany," where the luscious Lana Wood gets her nearly-naked ass thrown out a high hotel window. Among others. My favorite currently is the swinging "Airport Source," a longer version of a bit that showed up in the film.

The other level is subtler and pays off for people like me who played the LP until the needle cut through or burned holes in their CDs--little additions and changes to the original ques so make them conform to the movie. Listeners familiar with the "Main Title" will immediately recognize the difference--the remastered version begins with that horn blat and a slightly longer intro into Shirley's vocal, which conforms to the movie version. Earlier releases began with a gentler, twinkling beginning to the song.

The only problem I have with this release is the cover, which is identical to the previous release--the only way you know from looking at the front that it's the new edition is by the horizontal strip on the left side of the jewel case--something I did not notice in the record store when I was thumbing through the albums. The back of the CD is different--but how many people look at the back? Regardless--if you're going to buy the remastered editions--take care that you get the remastered editions.

Links

EMI's artist profile for JB