Music - Octopussy

Music By: John Barry, John Philip Sousa
James Bond Theme: Monty Norman
Song Written By: Tim Rice ("All Time High")
Song Performed By: Rita Coolidge ("All Time High")
Album Label: A&M Records
Single Label: A&M Records
Highest Chart Position: 8 (Switzerland)

The score for the thirteenth James Bond film was composed by John Barry, with song lyrics by Tim Rice. "All Time High" marked the return of regular James Bond theme composer John Barry after his absence from the "For Your Eyes Only" soundtrack: the lyrics were written by Tim Rice and recording and mixing of the track is credited to Stephen Short


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The opening theme is sung by Rita Coolidge and is one of five musical themes or songs that are not named after film's title, the others being "Nobody Does It Better" from "The Spy Who Loved Me" (although the film's title is referred to in the song's lyrics); "We Have All The Time In The World" from On Her Majesty's Secret Service"; "You Know My Name" from "Casino Royale"; and "Another Way to Die" from "Quantum of Solace".

Prior to Rita Coolidge being assigned the "Octopussy" theme a contender was Mari Wilson a British singer whose retro-image evoked the mid-'60s when the Bond series originated, but Wilson's lack of a US-profile led to a negative decision. The producers were known to have been in negotiations with Laura Branigan then a top ranking hitmaker in the US and Europe.

The ultimate choice of Coolidge whose career peak had occurred some six years previously was a surprising one. Coolidge recalls that Barbara Broccoli, the assistant director of Octopussy, was a fan of Coolidge and made a point of playing Coolidge records around her Cubby Broccoli til "one day [he said], "Who is that? That's the voice I want for the movie.' the studio [Tim Rice] was still finishing the song. We were waiting for the lyrics as the track had already been done."

Rice made no effort to incorporate the film's title but the lyric: "We're two of a kind" is a line spoken by the title character (played by Maud Adams) to James Bond (Roger Moore). The song's title "All Time High" parallels that of Coolidge's #2 hit "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher" whose lyric "When you wrap your loving arms around me I can stand up and face the world again" is echoed by the "All Time High" lyric "We'll take on the world and win"

Above: Cover art from the Rykodisc re-release CD.

The original compact disc released in 1983, by A&M Records, was recalled because of a printing error, and became a rarity. In 1997, the soundtrack was released, by Rykodisc, with the original soundtrack music and some film dialogue on an Enhanced CD version. The 2003 release, by EMI, restored the original soundtrack music sans dialogue. The original music video of "All Time High" shows Rita Coolidge in very soft focus in an Indian palace, but it was in fact the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, and not one of the film's locations.

"All Time High" reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 - marking Coolidge's last appearance on that chart - in August of 1983. Adult Contemporary Radio was much more receptive, with that genre allowing "All Time High" four weeks at #1. Coolidge had previously topped the Adult Contemporary chart in 1977 with "We're All Alone" although that track's ascendancy had been a given in light of its #7 Hot 100 peak whereas "All Time High" topped the A/C charts while exhibiting fairly mild momentum in the mainstream Pop arena.

Despite being the lowest charting James Bond theme in the UK where it reached #75 ("The Man With the Golden Gun" by Lulu failed to chart in 1974 - at that time the chart was limited to the Top 50 - and "Moonraker" by Shirley Bassey fell short of the Top 75 in 1979), "All Time High" became a major hit in several European countries: Austria - #14; Germany - #13; the Netherlands - #8; Sweden - #8 and Switzerland - #7. Of those countries Coolidge had only previously charted in the Netherlands (with "We're All Alone" - #15/1977) which was also the only one of those countries where she'd chart again - ("I Stand in Wonder" - #56/1999).

According to the Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits by Wesley Hyatt, Coolidge considered "All Time High" to be an unfinished work and customarily would include the song in concert via her backing musicians playing it as an overture rather than singing it as part of her program. However Coolidge did state in 2006: "It is a wonderful song and I am very proud to be a part of that family [of James Bond theme singers]."

"All Time High" was not originally featured on "Never Let You Go" the Rita Coolidge album released in October 1983 although it does occur on some pressings. Since 1998 "All Time High" has been included on several Coolidge anthology releases including a 2001 retrospective on Spectrum Records entitled All Time High.

Chart Peak #
Austria 14
Germany 13
Netherlands 8
Sweden 8
Switzerland 7
UK 75
USA 36

Above: Cover art from the A&M Records single of "All Time High". The second track was an extended instrumental version.

In 2006, when asked: "Which song [of yours] has been the biggest earner in terms of royalties?", Tim Rice first mentioned "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "A Whole New World", then added: ""All Time High" is another one that just keeps on earning."

From The Label
John Barry (1983) OCTOPUSSY is one of Roger Moore's last outings as the world famous James Bond. In this action adventure, 007 takes on an evil Afghan and a glamorous woman (no surprises there) who plot to plunder Tsarist treasures and start WW III. Composer John Barry is known for his signature Bond work, as well as for the soundtracks to the Oscar®-winning Dances With Wolves and Out of Africa. The lyrics to the theme song "All Time High" (sung by Rita Coolidge) were written by Tim Rice.

Soundtrack Listing

Original Release / 2003 Remastered
1. "All Time High"
2. "Bond Look-Alike"
3. "009 Gets the Knife and Gobinda Attacks"*
4. "That's My Little Octopussy"
5. "Arrival at the Island of Octopussy"
6. "Bond at the Monsoon Palace"
7. "Bond Meets Octopussy"
8. "Yo-Yo Fight and Death of Vijay"
9. "The Chase Bomb Theme"
10. "The Palace Fight"
11. "All Time High (Movie Version)"

1997 Release
1. "All Time High"
2. "Bond Look-Alike"
3. "Miss Penelope"—dialogue
4. "009 Gets the Knife and Gobinda Attacks"
5. "That's My Little Octopussy"
6. "Arrival at the Island of Octopussy"
7. "Introducing Mr Bond"—dialogue
8. "Bond at the Monsoon Palace"
9. "Bond Meets Octopussy"
10. "Poison Pen"—dialogue
11. "Yo-Yo Fight and Death of Vijay"
12. "The Chase Bomb Theme"*
13. "The Palace Fight"
14. "All Time High"

* In the Remastered Version Gobinda is misspelled Gorbinda.
* Later pressings of the soundtrack erroneously call it "The Chase Bond Theme".

Total Time (Original Release): 35:39
Total Time (2003 Remastered): 36:05