Berklee Pays Tribute to the Music of James Bond

By 
Eugene Ahn
November 19, 2020
Press release
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The virtual concert, which includes the premiere of a new Bond theme composed by a Berklee student, takes place on Thursday, December 10.

As part of the fall 2020 Signature SeriesBerklee’s most outstanding lead vocalists, instrumentalists, and arrangers will pay tribute to novelist Ian Fleming’s immortal Secret Intelligence Service agent, 007. The concert, Berklee Singers Showcase: Bond… James Bond: Theme Songs, will be broadcast on Berklee’s YouTube channel on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. EST.

The show is produced by Maureen McMullan ‘09, Berklee concert and event producer, and will feature a full rhythm section, horns, strings, background vocalists, and dancers, who will interpret a stylistically diverse selection of Bond theme songs curated from across the franchise’s 50-year history. The evening will feature iconic songs made famous by music legends Tina Turner, Paul McCartney, and Gladys Knight, alongside more contemporary hits by Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, and the late Chris Cornell. 

“I think the James Bond theme songs resonate with so many people and stand the test of time because they are classic set pieces in their own right—often serving as stylistic time capsules indicative of the contemporary era in which they were recorded,” says McMullan. “With the soon-to-be-released 25th installment of the Bond franchise, No Time to Die, I felt it was an opportune time for us to pay homage to this exciting repertoire, while providing a multifaceted opportunity to showcase Berklee’s amazing student performers, songwriters, arrangers, track producers, and engineers.”

The show will also feature the world premiere of the winning song entry from Berklee’s James Bond cocurricular songwriting competition. Hosted by Berklee Presents, in collaboration with Berklee’s Songwriting and Film Scoring departments, the original songwriting contest asked applicants to incorporate hallmarks of classic James Bond theme songs, including lyrical content, musical line clichés, and the “spy chord” (E minor major nine). The winning entry, “How the Story Ends," was composed by student Karissa Bone.

“The contest was open to the entire Berklee community, and Karissa's wonderful song was our winning entry,” says McMullan. “We had a stellar panel of judges, which included Bonnie Hayes, chair of Songwriting, Pat Pattison, noted songwriting professor and author, as well as Sean McMahon, chair of Film Scoring.”

As the world eagerly awaits the release of No Time to Die, relive the history of James Bond’s music served straight up or with a twist. Expect an evening filled with fun, elegance, and thrill befitting a spy. 

Watch the concert on Berklee’s YouTube channel on Thursday, December 10, at 7:30 p.m. EST:

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