Moonraker: Back to Earth with a bump

I clearly remember the moment at my dear Gran’s house, armed with a cassette recorder waiting quietly by her Ferguson television. I was patiently waiting to watch and record Moonraker which was on telly (Bond on the telly was a big event back in those days). Even if I was unable to record the picture, I could at least record the sound. I remember thinking the music was one of the most amazing things I’d ever heard. Indelibly marked in my psyche was the music during the opening pre-titles, the gondola chase, the hand-glider escape/following to the Aztec lair, the flight into space. I listened to these every bedtime, night after night. This along with John William’s Jaws score were my introductions into the power of film music. My older daughter responds to John Barry’s music in a similar manner to me (I did spot over Christmas she too has started recording CDs using her audio device using the speech recorder – a lovely moment of reflection).

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Somewhere during the mid-nineties came the magical moment when I finally bought the CD soundtrack. Yes, it was as beautiful as I remembered, but many of the lovely cues were also missing – not a hint of the Bond theme even. The history behind this being that Moonraker was filmed in France and the score was therefore recorded in Paris. Many of the Bond scores were remastered and expanded but the master tapes for Moonraker were (and presumably still are) missing. Moonraker still remains a Holy grail for Bond and Barry fans alike.

So you can imagine my excitement when the kickstarter campaign offering to re-record the missing cues comes along.

It was to be recorded by conductor Nic Raine who is one of the champions of re-recording John Barry’s material. He worked also worked alongside him on the scores for both A View To A Kill and The Living Daylights.

It was no surprise to me that within a day the campaign had almost reached the half-way point, and within a week or two it had supassed its goal. I was so excited, I may have even tweeted about it! Mr Barry’s local Yorkshire rag also picked up the story. Sadly however this was just not to be and within hours the campaign was forced to be cancelled for reasons (still?) unknown! I can only imagine someone behind the scenes got wind and wanted to use some legality to exploit project for financial gain. Ah well, it was fun whilst it lasted. On the plus side – it does show there is a market for these scores, so fingers crossed this still happens.

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