When considering cinema and music, no theme has proved
to be more memorable and timeless than that of James
Bond. For countless fans, it is indeed with ritualized
anticipation that they await the appearance of 007 at
the open of each new film. No cinematic experience
quite matches it. A sequence of white dots roll across
the screen, then open to reveal our favorite British
spy targeted through the barrel of a gun.
He confidently strolls on screen; he turns,
shoots, and slays an unseen assassin. It is only with
the combination of this imagery and the appropriate
music, does it truly supply the audience with the
proper effect. Chill inducing, heart-pounding
The genius of this theme belies its elegant
simplicity. Its chords and melody performed
for the first time in history in CTS Studios,
Bayswater, London, England in 1962. The James Bond
theme has become the everlasting ode to all that is
smooth, sultry, and spy; ultimately attesting that
nobody has done it, does it, or will do it better than
the music of 007. The world, therefore, owes a debt of
gratitude to the one of the most influential
guitarists of all time, the man behind Bond's twang,
the incomparable Vic Flick.
Vic at the Cannery, Las Vegas, with the Rip Chords
Flick's illustrious career has literally spanned
decades, from acoustic folk in the late 1950's to live
stage performances and session recordings of the early
1960's and ultimately, to partake in the soundtrack of
cinema's ultimate spy, James Bond. In Flick's career,
he has had the opportunity to work with some of the
biggest names in music history. Tom Jones, Nancy
Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, Shirley
Bassey, Jimmy Page, John McLaughlin, and Eric Clapton
are but a few of the musical giants that have shared
the recording studio floor with Vic Flick.
Flick's musical career originated at the tender age of
age of fourteen, when he traded his piano lessons for
acoustic guitar. Flick's first major gig in the late
50's was with an acoustic band that toured with Paul
Anka, named the Bob Cort Skiffle Group. On the
same tour with Paul Anka of the United Kingdom was the
John Barry Seven, led by Oscar winning composer, John
Barry. Months later, after a call from Barry, Flick
joined the Seven, becoming the lead guitarist by 1958.
The John Barry 7
Flick became a highly regarded session player, lending
his masterful guitar skills to a variety of recordings
and instrumental themes. Flick's first memorable foray
into film scoring was his work with composer Barry on
the 1960's cult film, Beat Girl. Some critics regard
the score of this film, as the genesis for the Bond's
theme; as the slick title track of Beat Girl is
reminiscent of pre-Bond emanations. From this moment,
Flick's contribution to the 60's music scene was soon
to become immense.
Monty Norman was contracted to compose the first Bond
Three weeks before the film release
date; the main theme of James Bond remained
uncompleted. Film producer, Cubby Broccoli, contacted
Barry and commissioned him to complete a suitable
final score. With the aid of Flick's excellent guitar
skills, they finished the score in time, and went on
to make movie history. Flick performed the legendary
Bond theme on what he refers to as a "big, blonde
f-hole Clifford Essex Paragon Cello-Bodied guitar,
fitted with a DeAmond Volume Pedal into a Vox 15-Watt
Amplifier." Thanks to the efforts of Robert Rush
of The Rip Chords,
the guitar has now made its home in
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The sound of the 007 theme was a breakthrough in
session recording due to its technique. In the early
60's, the orchestra would record only one take, on
what the studios referred to as "compatible stereo."
This unique recording method allowed for the sound of
the guitar to "bleed" into adjacent microphones of the
orchestra, adding a lustrous and ambient quality to
the final recording.
In 1963/1964, Ringo's Theme was written by Lennon-McCartney and credited to the George Martin Orchestra
as additional music for "A Hard Days Night". The song, vocally, is "This Boy" and is
both in the movie and on the soundtrack.
Sir George Martin wanted a guitar sound close to the "James Bond Theme" and booked Vic for the gig.
Instead of the Clifford Essex, Vic used a '62 Fender Stratocaster with a '62 Fender Vibrolux amplifier
and got the exact sound George was happy with.
Flick's guitar virtuoso is also in composition, as is
prevalent in his banjo solo in the Kentucky sequence
in Goldfinger; and his haunting guitar styling in the
gypsy encampment scene featured in the film From
Russia with Love.
Flick's complete 007 filmography:
From Russia with LoveGoldfingerThunderball,
You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service,
Diamonds Are Forever, and License to Kill.
Since the Bond films, Flick has also added his talent
to films such as The Pink Panther, The Ipcress File,
Midnight Cowboy, and many more. The newest Bond
composer David Arnold, who has given Flick numerous
accolades to the inspiration of his orchestration, has
ensconced his trademark style. Flick and his style has
been honored by several remakes and tribute music, by
musicians and DJ's alike, including the likes of
Propellerheads, Moby, and Proteus 7.
Vic Flick continues his legacy to this day, by still
creating and composing music for a new generation of
fans of all ages across the globe.