Woke up this morning to the sad news that Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch has passed at the age of 68. He is responsible for over 40 film scores and is perhaps best known for The Sting, The Great Gatsby and The Goodbye Girl. He also won an Oscar in 1974 for the classic song “The Way We Were“.
I will remember him as the man who got me into Bond music. Whilst I am first and foremost a John Barry Bond music fan, without Marvin Hamlisch that may never have happened. He composed the score to The Spy Who Loved Me (this soundtrack really deserves a reissue which does the actual score justice). He also composed the first song in the Bond series which wasn’t called the title of the film – Nobody does it better. Remember that one? It was one of the three Oscar nominated Bond tunes (the other two being Live and Let Die and For Your Eyes Only – interesting John Barry was criminally never nominated – despite the fact he did Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds are Forever).
The track I really loved as an 8 year old (and replayed ad nauseum to my parents) was on my James Bond’s Greatest Hits tape called “Bond 77“. This was a Bond styled disco track in the style of The Bee Gees (something he would later go on to admit in interview). I still adore this track, so much so I even edited a music video to it a few years back. I enjoy the unreleased versions of it from the film score even more!
The Spy Who Loved me is definitely one of my favourite non-John Barry Bond scores, despite being very much of its time. One of the things I will remember Hamlisch for is the in-depth interview he gave for Open University talking about his scoring of a Bond movie. This series this is from is amazing and I very much doubt we will ever see the likes of such a Bond documentary ever again. For the benefit of those interested and in tribute – here is the video:
68 seems far too young, but at least he leaves behind an amazing legacy. RIP Mr Hamlisch, may your music live on!