Duran Duran – A View to a Kill

First Hit #1: July 13, 1985

A View to a Kill wasn’t a good movie. I say this as a fan of the Bond series overall, and someone who actually briefly convinced himself that Roger Moore’s last adventure was worthwhile. It could have been a good movie, Christopher Walken is a great villain and Grace Jones is a fantastically unsettling screen presence. Unfortunately, Moore had long aged out of the role and had ceased to act, instead wandering around with a perpetually stunned expression on his face flatly delivering quips.

That’s a shame, because apart from those villains it also happened to have a pretty great soundtrack, with this song forming its centerpiece. The combination of John Berry and Duran Duran seems like it should have been a disaster, a composer with decades of experience partnering with a young new wave group that wasn’t really concerned with what happened decades before. The collaboration worked though, because Duran Duran actually mixes well with Berry’s characteristic brassy sound. They manage to make a sexy song, which all Bond songs need to be, and also make it something that sounds a bit foreboding and dangerous. It’s also something that announces its presence immediately, and never allows you to zone out around it. The punches of brass that start the song are a typical Berry trait – he does it a lot with the Bond themes – and they announce intent, generate interest, and when combined with Simon Le Bon’s vocals provide a certain contrast that keeps the song invigorating.

It’s the first time a Bond theme has landed at #1, which seems strange, but the song itself is deserving. Shame about the film.

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One Response to Duran Duran – A View to a Kill

  1. RBerman says:

    Duran Duran had a lot of great songs in this period, but this is not one of them. It’s basically “Union of the Snake” with a new chorus, and those brass exclamation points replacing the keyboard highlights of “Snake.” Still, the Bond theme songs serve as an excellent time capsule of which pop star was deemed most marketable at any point in time, and Duran Duran fit that bill well in 1984-5.

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