The soundtrack album for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the once-reviled 1969 James Bond film that’s enjoyed a critical reappraisal among fans in recent decades, isn’t a Christmas record, true. But the film, which starred George Lazenby — a handsome and hardy but unengaging Australian model with no prior acting experience — in his single appearance as 007, is set at Christmas.
Its soundtrack features some of the best music in the entire 50-year franchise. You’ve got John Barry’s kinetic opening title theme (reprised in Brad Bird‘s The Incredibles, among other places). You’ve got its elegiac love theme, “We Have All the Time in the World,” with lyrics by Hal David, beautifully sung by Louis Armstrong.
And as I discovered only weeks ago, you’ve also got Nina‘s (whose?) “Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?”
With its crisply annunciated Julie Andrews-style lead vocal and creepy children’s choir, it would seem more at home in, say, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (written by Bond creator Ian Fleming) than in a Bond joint. It’s lack of suitability for its original context makes it a perfect fit for my annual yulemix, which I have this year decided to call Children Go Where I Send Thee! Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable Hard Eight: The Desolation of Nog. I have my reasons.
Matt Mira and Matt Gorley just posted the OHMSS episode of their terrific James Bonding podcast last week. Highly recommended.