History of spy movies music
Whilst early espionage movies used silence more than music to create its desired effect, in the 1960s, when the spy genre grew, the theme tunes became an integral part. The most famous spy movie series also set the musical standard for much of what followed; John Barry's score for James Bond became an immediate classic, and the tune from the first Agent 007 film, Dr No, with its sweeping arrangement and dramatic strings, brought a lush style that has been followed for decades after.
Soon after, this trademark style was consolidated by Henry Mancini's orchestral arrangement of the Pink Panther theme. Its creeping, insistent riff builds suspense which is released by explosive blasts of saxophone. The song is a famous example of the lounge music genre that spy music has become known for.
Mission Impossible influence
Equally well known worldwide at establishing the aforementioned format is the Mission Impossible theme. The song was originally written by Lalo Schifrin for the sixties tv programme and subsequently used in its video game. It was reworked by Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen for the nineties movies, and its rhythmic pace and loud/quiet dynamic makes it one of the most recognisable ever theme tunes.Later soundtracks to detective movies have in part developed to include wider influences, but mostly return to the traditional origins. Successful spy series such as the Bourne and Oceans franchises put huge importance on its soundtracks. The latter was composed by David Holmes, who respected the spy music history whilst adding more modern electronic touches.
Bond movies famously have a different song and singer every time, unusually relying heavily on vocals and lyrics, whilst still keeping the jazz and lounge influences and the musical bombast of epic strings. The diversity and similarity of these songs has helped spy music to be one of the most recognized soundtrack genres.