Filed Under:

The Sound Of James Bond: Vic Flick's Surf Guitar

The 007 Theme is one of the most famous themes in movie history. The infamous guitar riff that gives the theme its secret agent feel was performed by Vic Flick, who spoke to Morning Edition about the day he played it, 50 years ago.

In 1962 Flick was a 25-year-old studio guitarist who was asked to help give the James Bond theme more of a punch. Composer Monty Norman, who wrote the theme, was scrambling to complete the score for first Bond movie, Dr. No. He'd scratched out a rough draft of the theme, but Flick says it fell a little flat.

Then the Bond producers heard the soundtrack to the 1960 teenage "angst" movie, Beat Girl, and it was just sound they were looking for. The Beat Girl theme was written by composer James Barry and features Flick on guitar. The Bond producers hired Barry to arrange 007's theme, and he asked Flick to help.

"When we got it, we looked at it and added to it, changed it," Flick says. "The combination of his writing for brass and my guitar playing kind of brought the thing to a conclusion, and everybody seemed to be quite happy. It's followed me now for 50 years, so it couldn't have been too bad."

To get just the right sound Flick says he had to really "dig in" to his guitar. "To give it some urgency and dynamicism or whatever the word is," Flick says.

He says he reckons James Barry and composer Monty Norman made a fortune off the Bond theme. As for him — "I got $15 for recording it," he says with a laugh.

Flick is not bitter. He did start getting some royalty checks in the mid 1990s, and Friday, he'll perform his famous guitar riff in Los Angeles at the Academy of Motion picture Arts and Sciences.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the actor Rainn Wilson about his new memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.