Word has come down that Roger Moore, best known for his turn playing James Bond, has died at the age of 89.

My all-time favorite piece of writing about Moore isnt actually about him; its about Bryan Ferry and his band Roxy Music.

Roger Moore as James Bond

In the Spin Alternative Record Guide, critic Rob Sheffield then all of 28 or so, later to pen Love is a Mixtape and this years amazing Dreaming the Beatles (which isnt just probably the best book ever about the Beatles, but one of the best books of 2017 in general) wrote that Roxy Music was divided into two parts: the Sean Connery years and the Roger Moore years, meaning the first five albums (bleeding-edge art rock, a few with Brian Eno, beloved by hardcore) and then the final three, recorded after a band hiatus (slicker, more Romantic, all surface, total pop).

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This is a brilliant characterization of both Ferry and Moore. For much in the way that later-period Roxy could write Avalon or Oh Yeah, it is impossible to see the rougher, realer Connery raising an eyebrow and delivering a one-liner the way Moore could, or in space, a la the admittedly terrible Moonraker.

(Bedding Grace Jones in the admittedly terrible View to a Kill? They probably both could have handled that one.)

And besides, for anyone between the ages of, say, 30 and 50, Moore was the guy they grew up with as Bond.

After playing bit parts in American film and TV, then doing time in the thriller series The Saint for 100 episodes (wherein he refined the style he would bring to his next role), Moore embodied 007 for seven films and about 2,000 (OK, 12) years.

Playing Bond as suave and corny, dashing and dopey, Moore traded in Connerys hairy chest and weightlifter physique for a guy who flat-out refused to take himself so seriously (or maybe ever work out).

Because, man alive, if anyone deserved to be made fun of a bit, it was the character of James Bond. This was Bond as a British Dean Martin (who himself played the spy Matt Helm) Moore as Bond approached being a spy the way Martin approached acting, as the true player for real who truly did not give a [beep].

Moores Bond liked shooting people, making jokes and sleeping with any available lady, probably not in that order. Indeed, as Bond, Moore out-Martined Martin-as-Helm, if that makes sense.

And say what you will about the scripts and Moores wry vibe, the stunts and chases in Moores Bond pictures, all pre-CGI, were uniformly terrific.

As far as the actual films, the best Moore Bond flick is probably, oh, lets say The Spy Who Loved Me, with Barbara Bach as the Bond girl, that dope Lotus and Richard Kiel as Jaws. (Which reminds me, Moore-era Bond had the best villains.)

I also remain fond of The Man with the Golden Gun (Christopher Lee killed it as the always-fun-to-say Scaramanga) and the extremely racially sketchy Live and Let Die, which is what happens when British people make a blaxploitation movie. Amazing theme song, though.

Rosie Carver as Gloria Hendry and Moore as Bond in Live and Let Die. They were kind of an awesome couple.

(That said, Moores diary about the making of Live and Let Die is flat-out amazing.)

As for the others, well, For Your Eyes Only tried to get serious (the skiing stuff was cool), Octopussy was almost unforgivable trash, Moonraker is in spaaaace and A View to a Kill, while sporting one of the best Bond themes, is not good but featured Christoper Walken in a part that was supposed to be for David Bowie and Grace Jones, who is welcome in anything, anywhere, at any time.

Requiescat, Mr. Moore. You were a smooth operator.

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