As the 24th Bond movie ‘Spectre’ is released on the 26th of October, everyone is talking about James Bond and the Sam Smith recording of the James Bond theme song, ‘The Writing’s On the Wall’ – the first-ever James Bond theme song to hit Number 1 in the charts. We have therefore decided to put together a collection of the most interesting facts surrounding the artists, the writing and the recording of James Bond theme songs over the past 50+ years.
Let us know if you agree with our list of James Bond theme song trivia. Or do you have a great fact that we didn’t discover?
12. Paul McCartney wrote the James Bond theme song for ‘Live and Let Die’ in 10 minutes sat around his piano after being given the book of the same name to read. The song became the biggest James Bond theme song up to that point and it spent three weeks at the No. 2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
11. Adele was approached to record the James Bond theme song for the 23rd Bond movie Skyfall which became the first Bond theme song to carry the same title as the movie since Madonna’s ‘Die Another Day‘. Adele put all her efforts into recording the song by reading the entire script before writing the song, with the producer of the movie, Barbara Broccoli, stating that, ‘she spent a lot of time on it and getting it right’. It paid off, the song topped the charts in 15 countries and became the first Bond theme song to ever win an Oscar.
10. ‘Pet Sounds‘ by The Beach Boys originally had the working title ‘Run James Run’ and was intended to be a Bond theme.
9. Johnny Cash almost recorded a Bond song. Cash submitted a track he wrote for the 1965 movie ‘Thunderball’ with the lyrics reflecting the script for the movie. However, his song was rejected by the producers and they chose the track composed by John Barry instead.
8. The only singer of a Bond theme song to have a cameo in a James Bond movie has been Madonna. Madge appeared in ‘Die Another Day’ as a fencing instructor named Verity. Since that movie, no singers have featured in any movies, which is probably down to the fact that people slated the movie for being bad, particularly from the point where Madonna appeared.
7. Sam Smith it the first male solo artist to record a James Bond theme song in over 50 years. The last male artist to sing the theme song solo was Tom Jones when he recorded the one for ‘Thunderball’ in 1965.
6. The only James Bond movie to have the singer appear in the opening credits is ‘For Your Eyes Only’ sung by Sheena Easton, which reached number four in the US charts.
5. ‘You Only Live Twice’ by Nancy Sinatra has been sampled in many pop hits since. Robbie Williams re-recorded the beginning of the song for his track ‘Millennium‘, Cee-Lo Green sampled it in his pop track ‘Bright Lights, Bigger City‘ and Coldplay recorded a live version of the song as a B-side. Björk has also covered the hit!
4. The ‘Moonraker’ theme song from the seventh James Bond movie was originally asked to be written and sung by Kate Bush. She declined and Shirley Bassey was asked to take her place. Shirley Bassey wasn’t keen on the song though, stating that she ‘hated it’ and only sung it ‘as a favour’.
3. ‘The Quantum of Solace’ song, sung by the White Stripes frontman Jack White and RnB singer Alicia Keys was the first-ever James Bond theme song duet. Bit of a random collaboration, you might think! Many artists were approached to take on the song such as Duffy, Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis. Amy Winehouse appeared angry that she wasn’t the one getting the job, stating that ‘they made a big mistake’ and if they ‘wanted a worldwide hit, they should have chosen her.’
2. ‘A View to Kill’ by Duran Duran was the first James Bond theme song to reach No.1 in the US charts. The bassist of Duran Duran approached the Bond producer Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli while both were drunk at a party, mentioning that he was a long-time Bond fan and that the music for the last few movies had been mediocre – hence Duran Duran came about to record ‘A View to Kill’.
1. The James Bond theme song from ‘Octopussy’, sung by Rita Coolidge, featured in the 2012 movie ‘Ted‘. Mark Wahlberg takes to the stage at a Norah Jones concert and sings the song in hope of re-igniting the flame with his estranged girlfriend as it was the first movie they watched together.