huey-lewis-james-bond-

The idea for a Huey Lewis / James Bond Theme Song Challenge came to fruition in an innocent Twitter thread about the announcement of Billie Eilish as the artist chosen for the No Time to Die theme song. Because I’m a crotchety old coot (who also happens to think Billie Eilish is pretty talented) I complained, of course, that she’d been hired strictly to sell downloads with no creative impulse paid toward selecting an artist that would best serve the movie. More of the same old same old, in other words. (I’m not wrong, by the way, and I think the song backs me up here.) Here’s the thread that made Huey Lewis the focus of this endeavor, courtesy of @willmckinley, @professormortis, @jfkenney and @HouseofGlib.

The critical point here is that Bond themes had, on occasion, been incredibly fun. When people talk about their favorite Bond themes there’s a reason that Duran Duran and Paul McCartney’s songs come up most frequently. Any artist can be a Bond artist, fun is undervalued, and where the hell did all of that go? The rich catalog of Huey Lewis and the News proved this point 24 times over. This became quite an obsession with me over the last month. Some songs were obvious fits, others needed a lot of work. I had some help, James Kenney and Allan Mott added suggestions right away. I also pulled in the assistance of a like-minded Huey Lewis fanatic @IsaacsHauntedB. I’m grateful that I didn’t undertake this madness alone because it seems somehow more sane when people other than yourself contribute to these misguided, obsessive adventures. It might also make more sense after a little backstory.

The first CD I bought with my own money was Huey Lewis and the News’ Sports (1983) sometime around 1988, but I’d been a fan long before that. I’d heard “The Heart of Rock and Roll” on the radio and immediately went to find my neighbor Bryan. He would generously dub his records to cassettes whenever he found something I liked. Bryan had the most amazing collection of vinyl I’ve ever seen. Wooden crates stacked floor to ceiling, a maze of music instead of a dining room. I told him that I’d heard a song called “New York New York” and I needed to hear more. After a few more questions he divined that I’d discovered Huey Lewis and not Frank Sinatra. The next day he handed me a tape with Huey Lewis’ Sports and the band’s self-titled debut record filling up the rest of the space on the cassette.

huey lewis and the news

(L-R) Keyboardist Sean Hopper, bassist Mario Cipollina, rhythm guitarist Johnny Colla, lead singer Huey Lewis, drummer Bill Gibson and lead guitarist Chris Hayes of American pop rock band Huey Lewis and the News in a studio session on January 1, 1983 in New York City. (Photo by Waring Abbott/Getty Images)

So, in fact, my obsession with Huey Lewis predates any of my James Bond fandom by at least a couple of years. Having recently learned about Huey Lewis’ Meniere’s disease diagnosis I had Huey Lewis on the brain and on constant rotation. His songs resist becoming relics. Impervious to the dust and decay as a result of their indebtedness to timeless R&B rhythms and doo-wop choruses, Huey Lewis and the News doesn’t feel beholden to a single time or place — which is part of the reason I think the James Bond / Huey Lewis Challenge worked so well. The music doesn’t rely on 1980’s nostalgia because it is in turn nostalgic for the simple rock, blues and soul music of the 1950’s and 60’s. People have been having a good time to this brand of music for almost 70 years. And that’s exactly what James Bond should be — a damned good time.

Vol. 1: Dr. No – “If You Love Me You’ll Let Me Go” (from self-titled)

Inspiration: I knew I wanted “If You Really Love Me You’ll Let Me” because of its frenetic pace. I could increase the speed of the dot patterns as necessary to fit the music without worrying about making human silhouettes look twitchy and unnatural.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 3/10

Other Dr. No Title Credits Remixed: none!

Vol. 2: From Russia With Love – “Stop Trying” (from self-titled)

Inspiration: This was an early pairing — the first Huey Lewis song I put to a Bond title credit sequence, actually. I will tell you that I paired From Russia With Love with “Stop Trying” because I noticed that the boob shake roughly aligned with the arrival of the early rise to crescendo. I had to manipulate the speed of the first 20 seconds to make it match, but it’s a beautiful thing.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 4/10

Other FRWL Title Credits Remixed: Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Suck My Kiss”

Vol. 3: Goldfinger – “Bad is Bad” (from Sports)

Inspiration: This was all about pace. I couldn’t rely on much manipulation because the Goldfinger credits used clips from the movie. I couldn’t force the match by changing the credits too much. Plus, I needed to at least come up with a trademark Huey Lewis and the News song to make people forget Shirley Bassey. “Bad Is Bad” is not perfect — but it’s in the neighborhood. I’m smitten with a the moment when Huey says “…like a chainsaw buzzin” and the musical growl that follows aligns with Bond and Pussy Galore in bed.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 6/10

Other Goldfinger Title Credits Remixed: No Doubt – “Simple Kind of Life” / Bret MacKenzie – “I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)”

Vol. 4. Thunderball – “Naturally” (from Fore!)

Inspiration: Someone (I’m trying to scan my Twitter feed for the culprit) served this idea up on a platter. Or I dreamed it? (That’s alarming.) The doo-wop wollops in “Naturally” fit the underwater frolicking. Don’t argue when inspiration happens. I did some manipulating of individual cuts to make the music fit the pace a little bit better. I still think it works. You might disagree. Take a swim. (I like this as a companion to the visuals more than the Tom Jones original.)

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 5/10

Other Thunderball Title Credits Remixed: Johnny Cash – “Thunderball”

Vol. 5: You Only Live Twice – “Tell Me a Little Lie” (from Picture This)

Inspiration: Another one that brought to me by my partners in Huey Lewis / James Bond crime. I asked @IsaacsHauntedB on Twitter if he had any inspiration for this project as he is also a big Huey Lewis fan. He had a few wonderful suggestions, but I think this is his masterpiece. Again, due to the graphic nature of this sequence I was allowed certain freedoms in attempting to match music and visuals. I didn’t have too much to do, however, besides sit back and enjoy. The background synth matches nicely with the lava spews. The recurring line “Tell me a little lie / to remember you by” highlights the lie that James Bond died in the opening of the film. So much to chew on here.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 3/10

Other You Only Live Twice Title Credits Remixed: Pizzicato Five – “It’s a Beautiful Day”

Vol. 6: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – “Old Antone’s” (from Small World)

Inspiration: One of the title credit stragglers. I didn’t have a song I obviously wanted to pair with OHMSS. I went through a dozen potentials before just putting it to the side. As my potential options dwindled, I recognized I hadn’t found a home for any song from Huey Lewis’ Small World record. “Old Antone’s” had a certain jukebox/bar room appeal that thematically paired with the martini-themed credit sequence. I like that it’s an oddball song for Lewis matched with a Lazenby’s odd-man out Bond. The two feel right together. Signification speed manipulations required.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 6/10

Other On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Title Credits Remixed: Chicago – “25 or 6 to 4”

Vol. 7: Diamonds Are Forever – “Doing It All For My Baby” (from Fore!)

Inspiration: Huey Lewis didn’t really have too many songs about diamonds. (He had zero songs about diamonds.) With diamonds being featured so prominently in the sequence, I needed to come up with something reflecting their omnipresence. That limited my options, but after a quick sift through song titles, I came up with a shortlist of semi-romantically-inclined mid-tempo Huey Lewis songs. You’d actually be surprised how many I considered. Only one -almost- fit the mid-tempo pace of the cuts. After a little finagling, this one lined up and makes it feel like an 80’s rom-com remake of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. If I rated these in terms of invisible blood, sweat and iMovie tears, this one wins, hands down.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 7/10

Other Diamonds Are Forever Title Credits Remixed: Madonna – “Material Girl”

Vol. 8: Live and Let Die – “Some of My Lies Are True” (from self-titled)

Inspiration: Live and Let Die needed a pure Huey Lewis burner. His faster cuts almost all came from that wonderful, raw debut record. My options were limited and I still overshot the mark. I overestimated the rapidity of the editing on this title sequence. It actually floats from shot to shot using pans and zooms rather than quick cutting. I loved some of the ways this song lined up, however, so I waved the magic wand to helped ease the two into harmony.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 5/10

Other Live and Let Die Title Credits Remixed: The Cult – “Fire Woman” / AC / DC – “Highway to Hell”

Vol. 9: The Man with the Golden Gun – “I Want a New Drug” (from Sports)

Inspiration: I didn’t have ideas so I went with extratextual thematics. I figured it takes drugs and lots of drugs to make this movie, so why not use the obviously connected Huey Lewis track. I worried about the song’s connection to Ray Parker’s Ghostbusters, but when you’re running out of truly great Huey Lewis songs it would be a crime to cancel out “I Want a New Drug” because Ray Parker beat me to it. I struggled to make this one play nice, but I think it worked out in the end. Honestly, trying to upstage Lulu with Huey Lewis was just an impossible proposition.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 8/10

Other The Man with the Golden Gun Title Credits Remixed: Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx – “Gold Digger” / Ice Cube & Parliament – “Bop Gun (One Nation)” 

Vol. 10: The Spy Who Loved Me – “Hip to Be Square” (from Fore!)

Inspiration: This one comes straight from @HouseOfGlib’s imagination. One of the greatest Huey Lewis tracks with one of the great James Bond title credit sequences. I toiled to make some of the cues in the second half of the sequence line up, but this one came together without much hassle. I probably have Allan to thank for bringing this pairing to my attention, thus inspiring this deep dive.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 4/10

Other The Spy Who Loved Me Title Credits Remixed: Madonna – “Like a Virgin”

Vol. 11: Moonraker – “Is It Me” (from Picture This)

Inspiration: From the original thread in which the challenge was born, Twitter friend James Kenney (@jfkenney) immediately tossed out a couple ideas that stuck. There’s not much to say about this one — except that it just worked and the transition from spinning circus act to the simple chords opening “Is It Me” is a little bit of the sublime.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 2/10

Other Moonraker Title Credits Remixed: Kate Bush – “James and the Cold Gun”

Vol. 12: For Your Eyes Only – “Do You Believe in Love” (from Picture This)

Inspiration: I’ve never done a title credit remix for For Your Eyes Only because of the Sheena head. Lyrics that didn’t match her lip syncing never sat well. Well, today I said “screw it” and pasted a Huey Lewis head over Sheena every time she appears, which I’d forgotten is almost the entirety of the song. iMovie doesn’t like to allow simple animations so I used Keynote to make a couple of clips and left each instance comically, absurdly rudimentary. I figured the easy visual gag was better than failing to produce something “good.” Other than animating five Huey Lewis heads, I didn’t mess with the pace of the credit sequence at all.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 10/10 (blame Sheena)

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Vol. 13: Octopussy – “Now Here’s You” (from self-titled)

Inspiration: Another from the mind of @IsaacsHauntedB. The pace worked, almost. I singled out five different cuts and manipulated each to match the song. The juice was worth the squeeze. There’s just something about that little laser James Bond traveling across sexy lady parts that works with this jaunty Huey Lewis number.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 4/10

Other Octopussy Title Credits Remixed: The Muppets – “Octopus’ Garden” / Tears for Fears – “Head Over Heels” 

Vol. 14: A View to a Kill – “Walking on a Thin Line” (from Sports)

Inspiration: Another credit sequence heavily associated with one of the absolute great Bond pop songs. Hence, I needed one of the absolute great Huey Lewis pop songs — at least one of my personal favorites — to compensate for the loss of Duran Duran. The tempo lined up and all I could do was celebrate Bond’s awkward, neon era with a new dose of Huey Lewis and the News. Note the way the line “Don’t you know me / I’m the boy next door” makes the sniper crosshairs super creepshow.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 3/10

Other A View to a Kill Title Credits Remixed: Fatboy Slim – “Weapon of Choice”

Vol. 15: The Living Daylight – “Jacob’s Ladder” (from Fore!)

Inspiration: I’ve edited so many of these I don’t even know how this match came about. I had to find some way to give “Jacob’s Ladder” a title sequence. After trying it with five or six different ones that didn’t work at all, I slapped it on The Living Daylights without any expectations. Maybe it’s not ideal. But this exercise also reminded me that the actual sequence itself is pretty lackluster. “Jacob’s Ladder” actually makes it better. The opening gunshot match beguiled me. I must have played it twenty times. If only animated .gifs had sound.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 3/10

Other The Living Daylights Title Credits Remixed: Corey Hart – “Sunglasses at Night”

Vol. 16: Licence to Kill – “Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do” (from Picture This)

Inspiration: @IsaacsHauntedB’s first suggestion. Another song I didn’t even have on my radar. This is why we bring other minds in to work on these misguided schemes. A little nip here and a tuck there, but otherwise this was pre-fabricated.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 3/10

Other Licence to Kill Title Credits Remixed: Paul Simon – “Kodachrome”

Vol. 17: GoldenEye – “It Hit Me Like a Hammer” (from Picture This)

Inspiration: Pure banal thematic association with Huey’s lyrics. “It Hit Me Like a Hammer” paired with ladies with hammers. It’s no more complicated than that. Of course, this required a lot more effort than most. I spent the better part of a morning tweaking this video before just ending the personal nightmare, reminding myself that no one was actually paying me to do this. The tempo’s not wildly off (not nearly as much as you’d expect) — but it’s off just enough to make this a square peg.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 8/10

Other GoldenEye Title Credits Remixed: Bobby Brown – “Humpin’ Around”

Vol. 18: Tomorrow Never Dies – “Little Bitty Pretty One” (from Four Chords and Several Years Ago)

Inspiration: I wanted desperately to find a match from Huey Lewis’ cover album Four Chords and Several Years Ago. Oddly enough this turned out to be one of my absolute favorite Huey Lewis Title Credit Remixes. It’s just fun. And fun is why we did this in the first place. “Little Bitty Pretty One” was originally recorded by Bobby Day in 1957, but popularized that same year by Thurston Harris. It’s been covered multiple times over the years, including an Aaron Carter spin for Disney’s The Princess Diaries (2001). The Jackson 5 did a nice version in 1972, but Huey Lewis embraces the doo-wop more so than any of the others.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 5/10

Other Tomorrow Never Dies Title Credits Remixed: Rolling Stones – “Time is On My Side” / The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” / Saint Etienne – “Tomorrow Never Dies”

Vol. 19: The World is Not Enough – “The Power of Love” (from Back to the Future)

Inspiration: The last song I matched. The Power of Love scared me because it is so iconic, and so perfectly associated with Back to the Future. I wrestled with The World is Not Enough and “The Heart of Rock and Roll” for some time before throwing in the towel. @HouseofGlib reminded me to go back to “The Power of Love” and so I did. When the “Ahhhh” happens right when the inky title blob pops on screen I was sold. I sped up the dancing oil ladies… and really most every sequence. It still looks a little slow compared to the music — but any faster and the whole started to look really wonky. There may be a better song out there for TWINE — but if I swapped it out we wouldn’t have another excuse to listen to “The Power of Love.”

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 5/10

Other The World is Not Enough Title Credits Remixed: Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve – “Black Crow”

Vol. 20: Die Another Day – “It’s All Right” (from People Get Ready: A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield)

Inspiration: Irony. Pure and simple. Torture Bond paired with peppy Huey’s peppy doo-wop cover of the 1963 Curtis Mayfield song (written and recorded when he was the frontman for The Impressions). Etta James, Phil Collins and Steve Winwood have also covered the song. I love Huey’s version and I love this new title credit sequence.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 3/10

Other Die Another Day Title Credits Remixed: Talking Heads – “Burning Down the House”

Vol. 21: Casino Royale – “Attitude” (from Hard at Play)

Inspiration: This one also came courtesy of James Kenney (@jfkenney) on Twitter. I was easily sold as “Attitude” shares a cadence and dare I say… attitude… with the Chris Cornell track. Same zip code anyway. Huey doesn’t growl exactly, but swagger. And swagger’s what we need out of the dawn of the Craig era.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 3/10

Other Casino Royale Title Credits Remixed: Kenny Rogers – “The Gambler (Live)

Vol. 22: Quantum of Solace – “Your Love Is Killing Me” (from Weather)

Inspiration: I really like this bluesy track from Huey Lewis’ brand new album Weather. I didn’t have to look far for its title credit match. I listened to the album first thing this morning and knew it fit with the unpaired Quantum of Solace. There’s some nice cues on action and the brisk tempo keeps pace with Bond’s sand-based frolic. Plus the Huey Lewis / James Bond Title Credit Challenge now visits every Huey Lewis and the News LP.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 3/10

Other Quantum of Solace Title Credits Remixed: Reverend Horton Heat – “The Devil’s Chasin’ Me” 

Vol. 23: Skyfall – “Couple Days Off” (from Hard at Play)

Inspiration: Oh man. I know I said this before but… this might actually be my favorite just because it plays knowingly on the movie’s opening sequences. Bond gets shot. Bond wallows in self pity on the beaches of Turkey. And all Huey Lewis/James Bond wants is a couple days off from the daily grind. This one needed some (okay — lots of) monkey business, but I knew it was going to be worth it. You be the judge, but I’ll just tell you right now it’s worth it.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 8/10

Other Skyfall Title Credits Remixed: Oingo Boingo – “Dead Man’s Party” / Elvis Costello and the Attractions – “Complicated Shadows”

Vol. 24: Spectre – “Cry to Me” (from Soulsville)

Inspiration: Divine intervention. As this month-long project wrapped up, I just started shuffling Huey Lewis and the News songs on Spotify. I’d totally forgotten that the Soulsville record existed. I didn’t know any of those songs by name — but as soon as I heard “Cry To Me” I know it fit the inky, dour, tentacular opening for Spectre. Proving, once again, that anything works better than Sam Smith. ANYTHING. (Also, check out my sound mixing skills. I had to add that helicopter sound back into the clip.) Replaying all of Bond’s failures while Huey sings “Don’t you feel like crying / Don’t you feel like cry, cry, cry, cry, crying” makes my heart grow three sizes.

James Bond/Huey Lewis Integration Difficulty Level: 7/10

Other Spectre Title Credits Remixed: Portishead – “Sour Times” / Lana Del Rey – “24”

That’s it! That’s the lot of them. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little (massive) exercise in rehabilitating James Bond as a fun guy and traversing the entire Huey Lewis catalog. I regret that I couldn’t find a home for “The Heart of Rock and Roll” but I figure you’ve heard that Huey Lewis and the News song plenty. Let me know your favorite in the comments. I’m curious to see which match from the Huey Lewis / James Bond Title Credit Challenge resonates with you.

If you want to dispense with the words and just let all 24 wash over you, you can view them all in a YouTube Playlist.

The Huey Lewis / James Bond Theme Song Challenge

by 007hertzrumble time to read: 15 min
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