Recorded at CTS Studios, London, England in October 1971. Includes liner notes by Jeff Bond.
John Barry made his reputation with highly enjoyable and sophisticated soundtracks for early James Bond pictures, including From Russian With Love, Thunderball, and 1971's Diamonds Are Forever. Like many Bond soundtracks, Diamonds Are Forever features a dynamic mix of brass-heavy orchestral numbers, reconfigurations of the original Bond theme, dreamy ballads, and a celebrity vocal performance of the title track. Following up her "Goldfinger" hit, singer Shirley Bassey returns here with another bravura performance on the "Diamonds Are Forever" theme; although not as memorable as Bassey's earlier classic, the song still impresses with a catchy mix of rock elements (wah-wah guitar, electric bass, 4/4 beat) and full orchestration. And as is the fashion with soundtracks, this main title is recycled more than once -- in this instance, as both a flute-and-vibes lounge cut and as part of a darkly lush string arrangement. Along with easy listening, Henry Mancini-inspired cuts like "Tiffany Case," and "Q's Trick," Barry also gives a nod to Max Steiner's clamorous soundtracks with suspense and action backdrops like "Bond Smells a Rat" and "To Hell With Blofield." And the Bond theme gets its due on the noir-ish, cat burglar motif "Bond Meets Bambi and Thumper." With equally stunning pieces like the romantic waltz "Circus, Circus" topping things off, Diamonds Are Forever qualifies as one of Barry's most gratifying Bond soundtracks. ~ Stephen Cook