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Duran Duran - A View To A Kill (1985)

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  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.76
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“A View to a Kill” is the thirteenth single by the English new wave and synth-pop band Duran Duran, released on 6 ...

“A View to a Kill” is the thirteenth single by the English new wave and synth-pop band Duran Duran, released on 6 May 1985. Written and recorded as the theme for the 1985 James Bond movie of the same name, it became one of the band’s biggest hits. It remains the only James Bond theme song to have reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100; it also made it to number two for three weeks on the UK Singles Chart.

In 1986, composer John Barry and Duran Duran were nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for “A View to a Kill”. The song was the last track recorded by the most famous five-member lineup of Duran Duran until their 2001 reunion. It was performed by the band at Live Aid in Philadelphia, their final performance together before their first split. Following Barry’s death, the band paid tribute as their encore at the 2011 Coachella Festival, Simon Le Bon reappearing in a tuxedo for a pared-down version backed by an orchestra, before launching into the full, upbeat track. Bassist John Taylor told the crowd: “We lost a dear friend of ours this year – English composer John Barry. This is for him.”

About the song

The song was written by Duran Duran and John Barry, and recorded at Maison Rouge Studio and CTS Studio in London with a 60-piece orchestra.

Duran Duran were chosen to do the song after bassist John Taylor (a lifelong Bond fan) approached producer Cubby Broccoli at a party, and somewhat drunkenly asked “When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?” This inauspicious beginning led to some serious talks, and the band was introduced to Bond composer John Barry, and also Jonathan Elias (whom Duran Duran members would later work with many times). An early writing meeting at Taylor’s flat in Knightsbridge led to everyone getting drunk instead of composing.

Singer Simon Le Bon said of Barry: “He didn’t really come up with any of the basic musical ideas. He heard what we came up with and he put them into an order. And that’s why it happened so quickly because he was able to separate the good ideas from the bad ones, and he arranged them. He has a great way of working brilliant chord arrangements. He was working with us as virtually a sixth member of the group, but not really getting on our backs at all.”

Due to a clear separation of areas of responsibility, the cooperation between band and composer turned out to be harmonic to a large extent. The band was in charge of the actual songwriting and Barry created the final arrangement including the orchestra part. The song was finally completed in April 1985, and released in May 1985. In the UK it entered the singles chart at No. 7 before peaking at No. 2 the following week, and remained at that position for three weeks. In the US, it entered the charts at No. 45, and on 13 July it reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It remains the only Bond theme with this chart performance.

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