Spy Music

Spy music is not the same as crime and suspense. In the first place, most of the classic crime themes preceded the James Bond films. And without James Bond films and John Barry, there might have been very few spy themes. Crime music is staccato, as in Johnny Staccato, very choppy, or melancholy and cool. Crime is always urban and usually jazz. Spy themes, on the other hand, are all orchestral grandeur. Strong brass and string sections, soaring past a rhythm suggestive of nimble sports cars, give rise to a bombastic expression of worldliness (or sex). Spy music is rarely subtle or quiet, even when a thrush is pausing for breath or effect. And a guitar is likely to plant the orchestra firmly in the 1960s. Spies and "eyes" travel in different circles--described by different music.

To most people, spy music is simply the James Bond soundtracks. Everyone has heard Shirley Bassey belt out "Goldfinger" a hundred times. But how many have heard her sing "The Liquidator" from the soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin? The Bond films inspired not just many more spy films but also a spate of spy-movie spoofs. James Bond films account for just a few of the soundtracks. And beyond soundtracks, there is the same sound in less likely. Tunes on all sorts of other albums from the period, recorded perhaps with no thought of spies or spy movies whatsoever, turn out in retrospect to be very "spy."

Buying: Spy music largely is overrated, but at least guns and bikinis never go out of style. Some of the jazzier budget-label records are better than some of the higher-profile soundtracks. The code is only partly cracked below.

Spy LPs

5Don Adams: Get Smart; United Artists UAL-3533 (spoken w/theme)
5The Agents (Julian Lee): Themes for Secret Agents; Liberty/Sunset SUS-5184
5Steve Allen/Ronald Stein: A Man Called Dagger ST; MGM SE-4516-ST
8Edwin Astley: Secret Agent Meets the Saint--Original Music from the TV Shows "Secret Agent" & "The Saint"; RCA Victor LSP-3467; 1965
Edwin Astley?: Secret Agent; RCA Victor LSP-3630
Edwin Astley?: The Saint; RCA Victor LSP-3631
5John Barry: From Russia with Love ST; United Artists UAS-5114
5John Barry: Goldfinger ST; United Artists UAS-5117
7John Barry: The Ipcress File ST; Decca DL-79124; 1965
5John Barry: Thunderball ST; United Artists UAS-5132
6John Barry: The Quiller Memorandum ST; Columbia OS-3060
6Count Basie: Basie Meets Bond; United Artists UAS-6480
7Elmer Bernstein: The Silencers ST; RCA Victor LSO-1120; 1966 (not the Dean Martin Sings Song from LP!)
5The Clee-Shays: Super Spy Themes; Triumph TRS-101
8Elliott Fisher: Bang! Bang! Bang!; Capitol ST-2455 (w/electronic sounds!)
7Jerry Goldsmith: Our Man Flint ST; 20th Century Fox TFS-4179; 1966 (arr. Arthur Morton/Warren Barker)
6Jerry Goldsmith: In Like Flint ST; 20th Century Fox S-4193; 1967 (arr. Marty Paich/Warren Barker/Lawrence Morton)
7The Reg Guest Syndicate: Underworld; Philips/Fontana SRF-67565/MGF-27565 (spy/crime/mod; English covers & 2 originals)
6Earle Hagen: Music from the Television Series I Spy; Warner Bros. WS-1637 (different than the Capitol LP)
6Earle Hagen: [Music from the Television Series] I Spy; Capitol ST-2839 (different than the Warner Bros. LP)
8Dick Hyman: The Man from O.R.G.A.N.; Command RS-891-SD; 1965
5Jazz All-Stars: Thunderball & Other Secret Agent Themes; Design DLP-206 (J.J. Johnson, Mundell Lowe, Milt Hinton..)
3Sol Kaplan: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold ST; RCA Victor LSO-1118; 1966
5David Lloyd & his London Orchestra: Confidential--Sounds for a Secret Agent; Epic LN-24151 (Bond covers, incl. Casino Royale)
7Ray Martin: Goldfinger & Other Music from James Bond Thrillers; RCA Camden CAS-913; 1965
7Ray Martin: Thunderball & Other Thriller Music; RCA Camden CAS-927; 1965
6The Parris Mitchell Strings [with Brass]: Thunderball; Pickwick SPC-5001
5Vic Mizzy: The Caper of the Golden Bulls ST; Tower ST-5086
7Hugo Montenegro: Original Music from "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."; RCA Victor LSP-3475; 1965
8Hugo Montenegro: Come Spy with Me; RCA Victor LSP-3540; 1966
9Hugo Montenegro: More Music from the Man from U.N.C.L.E.; RCA Victor LSP-3574; 1966
8Monty Norman: Dr. No ST; United Artists UAS-5108
5Riz Ortolani: The Spy with the Cold Nose ST; Columbia OS-3070
7Perry & the Harmonics: Intrigue with Soul; Mercury SR-61037 (mod soul jazz on a Bond theme)
7Teddy Randazzo: The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.; MGM SE-4410 (comp. Dave Grusin)
8The Revengers: Batman & Other Super Men; MGM/Metro MS-565 (Batman/crime/spy)
5Gian Piero Reverberi: The Dirty Game ST; Laurie SLP-2034
7Lalo Schifrin: Music from Mission Impossible; Dot DLP-25831
8Lalo Schifrin: More Music from Mission Impossible; ABC-Paramount PAS-5002
7Lalo Schifrin: Mrs. Pollifax--Spy; United Artists; 1970 (if LP exists)
6The Roland Shaw Orchestra: Themes from the James Bond Thrillers; London PS-412
3The Roland Shaw Orchestra: More Themes from the James Bond Thrillers; London
The Roland Shaw Orchestra: Themes for Secret Agents; London Phase 4 SP-44076
5The Roland Shaw Orchestra: The Return of James Bond in "Diamonds Are Forever"; London Phase 4 2-BSP-24 (2-LP; w/8x10 of Sean Connery)
4Sounds Orchestral: Impressions of James Bond; Cameo/Parkway 7050
Cyril Stapleton: The Saint
7Armando Trovajoli: Seven Golden Men ST; United Artists UAL-?/UAS-5193 (mono-only recording; crime/spy/wordless chorus/mod/whistling/drums)
7David Whitaker: Hammerhead ST; Colgems COS-110; 1968 (UK film; Madeline Bell sings title cut)
7Larry Wilcox & his Orchestra: Hot Rod Jazz--Tuff Saxes & Twangy Guitars; CBS/Columbia CS-8947 (hot rod/mod/Mexicali/bongo/spy/samba/jazz)
6The Zero Zero Seven Band Plays James Bond Thrillers; Alshire/Somerset SF-23200 (London; jazzy)
5Uncredited: Music from Thunderball ["The Sounds of Action...Romance...Violence!!"]; Alshire/Somerset SF-24700 (possibly Skip Martin)
6Uncredited: Reel D-95/96; Capitol Custom Hi-"Q" Series (production)
7Various: Swingin' Sounds for Secret Agents; Columbia Special Products CSM-444

Partly Spy LPs

7Ray Anthony: Like Wild!; Capitol ST-1304 ("707")
5Burt Bacharach: After the Fox ST; MCA-25132; 1966 (w/Hal David, Hollies, Peter Sellers)
7Burt Bacharach: Casino Royale ST; Colgems COSO-5005; 1967 (w/Herb Alpert, Dusty Springfield)
6John Barry Plays Film & TV Themes; Capitol ST-2527
6John Barry Plays Goldfinger; United Artists UAS-6424
6John Barry Revisited; Ember SE-8008; 1971 (UK; "007 Theme")
4Terry Baxter, his Orchestra & Chorus: 108 Now Hits ("Mission Impossible"); Columbia DS-1069; 1973
7Hal Blaine: Have Fun!!! Play Drums!!!--The Drum Lessons; ABC/Dunhill DS-50035 (drums/breakbeats/instruction/spy "Secret Agent Man"/mod/space-electronic)
7Blue Stingrays: Surf-n-Burn; Epitone 86001; 1997 (Tom Petty's Heartbreakers in faux-'60s instrumental surf group; "Goldfinger")
8Brian Briggs: Brian Damage; Avatar/Bearsville AALP/BKR-6996; 1981 ("Spy vs. Spy")
6John Cacavas & his Orchestra: Music for Drama (Orchestral); Chappell International CAL-4014; 1974 ("Design for Action"; spy/crime/suspense)
8Al Caiola: Sounds for Spies & Private Eyes; United Artists UAS-6435
6Al Caiola: Tuff Guitar Tijuana Style; United Artists UAS-6473 ("Thunderball")
6Al Caiola: The Return of the Seven; United Artists UAS-6560; 1967 (themes/Western/spy)
7Al Caiola: The Power of Brass; United Artists UAS-6666; 1968 ("Mission Impossible")
6Al Caiola: Let the Sunshine In; United Artists UAS-6712 (partly electric sitar; "Stiletto")
7Al Caiola: Blockbuster Movie/TV Themes; Two Worlds TW-9102; 1972 (Theme from the "Magnificent 7 Ride" '73; United Artists/Avalanche AV-LA058-F; 1973)
3The Challengers: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; GNP/Crescendo GNP-S-2018
7The Challengers: 25 Greatest Instrumental Hits; GNP Crescendo GNP-609 (2-LP part-compilation)
4Floyd Cramer Plays the Big Hits ("Mission Impossible," 2 lps); RCA Camden ADL2-0128; 1973
4Philip Dante & his Orchestra: Great Themes from the Foreign Films ("A Man Alone from 'The Ipcress File'"); Kapp/Four Corners of the World FCL-4220
6Danny Davis/Kenyon Hopkins/Ray Ellis: Music from the James Bond Motion Pictures (a.k.a. James Bond/Goldfinger); MGM/Metro MS-520
8Wade Denning & the Port Washingtons/Uncredited: The Amazing TV Themes; MGM/Leo the Lion CH-1023; 1966 (children's LP)
5Derek & Ray: The Keyboard Sounds of Today!; RCA Victor LSP-3665; 1966
-John Gregory/Chaquito -- see crime
7Jimmie Haskell: From Russia with Love Theme; Capitol ST-2075
6King Henry & the Showmen Vol. VIII; KHP 376 (lounge act from Easton, PA; spy/Moog-ondioline/disco/trucker/novelty)
6Al Hirt: The Horn Meets "The Hornet"; RCA Victor LSP-3716; 1966 (TV themes; arranged by Frank Hunter)
5Dick Jacobs & George Cates: Coral Records Presents "Main Title"; Coral CRL-57065 ("Man w/The Golden Arm/Molly-0")
6Ole Jensen & his Music; Chappell LPC-1040; 1970 (production/bongo bop/beatnik/spy "Dynamovement No. 1"/mod/flute/Tibetan)
8Sonny Lester w/Little Egypt: How to Belly Dance for Your Husband; Roulette SR-59029
5Pete King/Frank Rossi: Music from the Score "The Last of the Secret Agents?"; Dot DLP-25714
5Dean Martin Sings Songs from "The Silencers"; Reprise RS-6211
6Hugo Montenegro: This is Hugo Montenegro; RCA Victor VPS-6036; 1971 (2-LP compilation)
5Jerry Murad's Harmonicats: Great Themes from TV & Motion Pictures; Columbia/Harmony HS-11223
6Stanley Myers: Kaleidoscope ST; Warner Bros. WS-1663; 1966? (w/John Mayer, Diwan Motihar, Keshave Sathe)
5Sandy Nelson: "In" Beat; Imperial LP-12305
3Riz Ortolani: Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell ST; United Artists UAS-5192; 1969 ("293rd Squadron")
9Nelson Padron: Nelson & his Loco Drums; Kubaney MT-325 (jacket # KLS-3025; Latin jazz/descarga/drums/spy "The James Bond Medley")
7Felix Randolph: Spanish Spy; REP LP-104 ("Spanish Spy"; Latin-rock guitar on Hollywood label by composer of "Caramba"--hit for the Champs; whistling)
8The Raybeats: Guitar Beat; Passport PVC-8904; 1981 ('80s/guitar/surf "The Calhoun Surf/hot rod "B-Gas Rickshaw"/space-rock "Big Black Sneakers"/crime "Big Black Sneakers"/spy "International Operator")
6Richard Rome: Theme from Thunderball; Gladwyne 2021
7Randy Rosa at his Custom X-66 Hammond with Synthesizer: Computerized, Synthesized, Organized; R&R Productions 60742 (Virgina private press; organ/Moog/spy "You Only Live Twice")
6Salvador & his Orchestra: Caribbean Carnival; Strand SLS-1088 ("The Little Children of Panama")
8Lalo Schifrin: Once a Thief & Other Themes; Verve V6-8624; 1965
3Dick Schory: The Happy Hits; RCA Victor LSP-2926; 1964 ("From Russia with Love")
8Lalo Schifrin: The Liquidator ST; MGM SE-4413
6Lalo Schifrin: There's a Whole Lalo Schifrin Goin' On; Dot DLP-25852
5The Secret Agents: Mission Impossible & Other Action Themes; Pickwick/Design DLP-287 (spy/crime/organ)
5Jimmy Sedlar: Movie Hits of '66; Kapp KS-3467; 1966
4Billy Strange: The James Bond Theme--Walk Don't Run '64; GNP Crescendo GNPS-2004
4Billy Strange: Goldfinger; GNP Crescendo GNPS-2006
5Billy Strange: Secret Agent File; GNP Crescendo GNPS-2019
5Billy Strange/Neil Norman: Secret Agent File; GNP Crescendo GNPS-2166; 1984 (18-cut compilation; w/The Olympic Orchestra; Les Baxter co-producer of "Moonraker")
7Mel Taylor & the Magics In Action!; Warner Bros. WS-1624 (drums/bongo rock/guitar/spy "From Russia with Love"/mod/mod Latin)
7Reg Tilsley/Tilsley Orchestral No. 8: Theme and Variation; De Wolfe DWLP-3174; 1970 (production/crime/spy; short cues)
7Jack Trombey & the International Studio Group: Living Power 10"; De Wolfe DWLP-2970; 1966 (spy/crime)
Jack Trombey & John Reids: Eye for an Eye 10"; De Wolfe DWLP-2969; 1966 (presumably spy/crime)
8The Ventures [Batman Theme]; Liberty/Dolton BST-8042
6West Virginia University Percussion Ensemble: Percussion on the Rocks; Century 39523 ("Mission Impossible"; school/stage)
6Larry Wilcox: Hot Rod Jazz--Tuff Saxes & Twangy Guitars; Columbia CS-8947 ("Theme from 'Who Do You Kill?'")
5Si Zentner & his Orchestra: From Russia with Love; Liberty LST-7353
7Si Zentner & his Orchestra: Warning Shot [ST & other themes by Jerry Goldsmith]; Liberty LST-7498; 1966
8Uncredited: New Original TV Themes--Green Hornet--Tarzan--The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; Cameo/Wyncote SW-9173
4Various: The Detectives and Agents & Great Suspense Motion Picture Themes; Mainstream S-6079
4Various: Dr. Goldfoot & the Girl Bombs ST; Capitol/Tower ST-5053
6Various: Stereo for the Swinging Season; RCA Victor PRS-238 (3-LP box; Ray Martin)
4Various/Uncredited: T.V. '67--Dragnet--I Spy--T.H.E. Cat; Cameo/Wyncote SW-9184

Spy 45s

8Ann-Margret: Mister Kiss Bang Bang/What Did I Have That I Don't Have?; RCA Victor 47-8734 (w/Perry Botkin, Jr.)
6Les Baxter: Melodia Loca (The Drive-You-Crazy Song)/Foreign Intrigue; Capitol F-3478
5The Bondsmen: Goldfinger/Little Quickie; Cheltenham CH-1005 (guitar instrumental)
5The Detergents: Double-O-Seven/The Blue Kangaroo; Roulette R-4603
6The Gallants (H.B. Barnum): The Man from U.N.C.L.E./The Vagabond; Capitol 5376 (prod. David Axelrod; guitar instrumental)
8Mamie Galore: Special Agent 34-24-38/I Wanna Be Your Radio; St. Lawrence 1004 (spy funk!; prod. Monk Higgins)
8Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers: Sock it to 'em J.B. Parts 1 & 2; Atlantic/Like 301 (funk; J.B.=James Bond!)
8Lee Merril & the Golden Horns: Ballad of the Green Hornet/Off the Wall; ABC-Paramount/Boom 45-60,013 (mod/spy/drums; Shorty Allen)

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