It’s a very prestigious moment when an artist can join a very elite group that feature’s the likes of Paul McCartney, Duran Duran, Tom Jones, and Sheryl Crow. We aren’t talking about the Grammy’s or The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We’re talking Bond. James Bond.
On Monday, the artist Sam Smith casually broke his vow of denial on the subject of whether he was chosen to sing the theme song for the upcoming Bond movie, Spectre. It was confirmed shortly after Smith posted a picture of a peculiar ring that features the famous evil organization’s S.P.E.C.T.R.E logo on it, that indeed the theme song will be called “Writing’s on the Wall” and feature Smith as the singer/songwriter. It will be the first time since “Thunderball” (Tom Jones) in 1965 that featured a British male solo artist as the theme song singer.
Smith will have to really step up his game if he hopes to top the last Bond film’s theme song which was Adele‘s “Skyfall” for the Bond film of the same name. That song went on to earn an Oscar for Best Song at the Academy Awards and is considered by many to be one of the best Bond songs of them all.
Smith as the singer comes after month’s of speculation as to just who was going to get the Bond gig. Rumors included the group Radiohead, singer Ellie Goulding and the sultry Lana Del Rey as front runners. Goulding as a matter of fact was believed to have been the chosen artist after she posted on social media referencing having “wrapped” on something at Abbey Road followed by casual references to “Live and Let Die” from 1973’s Bond movie of the same name.
Smith in interviews yesterday mentioned doing a reading of the script with the producers and the director Sam Mendes before spending just “20 minutes” on the song and recording a quick demo. Apparently, it was strong enough to land him the gig. It remains to be seen if we will have another song controversy like Tomorrow Never Dies where singer k.d. lang recorded a song (“Surrender” which ended up on the closing credits) for the Pierce Brosnan film. The score for the movie even features “Surrender”‘s melody heavily throughout (a fact that has bugged me since 1997). Ultimately, Sheryl Crow ended up with the gig singing an entirely different song than lang’s recording. You can check out a video of the title sequence done with lang’s song instead of Crow’s below (and see if I’m wrong in naming “Surrender” as one of my favorite Bond songs).
Personally, I don’t know if “Skyfall” can be beat, or Duran Duran’s “A View To A Kill” for that matter. “A View to A Kill” remains the only Bond theme to reach number one on the charts (sorry Adele, “Skyfall” only made it to number two in the UK and eight on the Billboard charts) The big news though is that Smith is joining a very elite group, of which there are few artists who can say they sang a Bond song.
What’s your favorite Bond song and do you think Smith has the chops to pull off another great one (with just 20 minutes of writing time)?