The cat is finally out of the bag. The question that has been debated for such a long time has now been put to rest. Who will sing the theme song for the upcoming James Bond flick Spectre? And the answer is Sam Smith. The English singer took to Twitter to reveal this ‘little’ bit of information through a photograph.
— SAM SMITH (@samsmithworld) September 7, 2015
Not a bad gig to win for the 23-year old whose debut studio album had released only sometime back in May 2014. But what an album it was! Smith got nominated for six Grammy awards, eventually winning four of them: Best New Artist, the single Stay with Me for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and the album In the Lonely Hour for Best Pop Vocal Album.
It’s still a big deal to be working on the James Bond theme song, for no other music piece in a Hollywood film would be talked about and analysed more than a James Bond track. The song is being called Writing’s on the Wall, which Sam Smith says he managed to pen down in only 20 minutes (that’s a confidence booster!). The song is set to be unveiled in the UK on 25th September.
The history of James Bond theme songs are as rich as the movies themselves. The idea of having lyrics in the opening theme song began with the third James Bond film, Goldfinger. Until then, the opening credits used to have the famous ‘007 music’ that became such a hit with Dr. No. But with Goldfinger, a title song was inserted, sung by Shirley Bassey – who would go on to become a legend as far as James Bond theme songs are concerned – and the music was composed by John Barry, a great English composer. For many Bond fans, this is still the greatest James Bond theme song ever.
In 1965, Tom Jones sung the title song for the next James Bond film Thunderbird, and as legend goes, fainted when singing the final note of the song. Sam Smith will infact be the next English male solo artist to sing the James Bond theme song after Tom Jones – a whole 50 years later!
Nancy Sinatra sung the song for the next movie You Only Live Twice, one of the most famous Bond theme songs that continues to remain quite popular even now, having been covered by many artists over the years. The music has a light touch to it to begin with, but slowly starts to seep in you, and by the end, that music remains hauntingly lingering in the air. Listen it for yourself!
For On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, John Barry decided to skip the lyrics and instead chose an instrumental piece, like an orchestra. But for the next flick, Diamonds Are Forever, Shirley Bassey returned to lend her voice to yet another great Bond theme song. Shirley Bassey would be the voice for another James Bond song, Moonraker in 1979. Among the Bond films in between the two, Paul McCartney and Wings – a rock band formed by the famous Beetle member along with his wife – would perform the title track for 1973’s Live and Let Die.
The James Bond theme songs played in the 1980s do not fall in the same league as their predecessors, as the movies themselves lost a bit of their magical touch. There is Sheena Easton’s For Your Eyes Only and then Duran Duran’s A View to a Kill for those who are still trying to salvage something from that period, with the latter even reaching No. 1 position in the USA.
James Bond title songs became thrilling and exciting once more in the 90s, as popular artists stepped up to lend their voices. First Sheryl Crow shone in Tomorrow Never Dies with a voice to die for, and then Shirley Manson of the band Garbage gave The World is Not Enough a terrific opening song with this piece of work.
Following up on this act was none other than Madonna with Die Another Day, a music piece immortalised in James Bond history which also gave a shot in the arm to Madonna’s career. And what a video!
The world of Daniel Craig as James Bond began from 2006 with Casino Royale. Chris Cornell delivered a hard-hitting rock song titled You Know My Name, the first time that the title song did not feature the movie’s title. The song, just like the movie, wanted to be a departure from the stylish Bond we have been seeing for ages to a grittier and inexperienced version. For Quantum of Solace, the producers got the duo of rock musician Jack White and American R&B singer Alicia Keys to work together on Another Way to Die. The entire transformation that Bond had gone through reached its zenith with the movie Skyfall, the biggest hit of the series, and so did the theme songs for me with Adele’s Skyfall. It is a brilliant piece, not only because of the mesmerising vocals of Adele but also because of the way it was placed a little into the movie, after an action scene as Bond’s body is sinking in water. Skyfall became the first James Bond theme song to win an Oscar!
Sam Smith, you have such a massive legacy to live upto! No pressure!