Ages of Bond title song performers

Sheena Easton performing the title song of For Your Eyes Only

This week’s news that Billie Eilish will perform the title song of No Time to Die got a lot of attention.

Part of the reason was at 18  Eilish becomes the youngest singer for a Bond title song. With a birth date of Dec. 18, 2001, she’s the first Bond song performer to be born in the 21st century.

Out of curiosity, the blog checked out the ages of other Bond title song performers. What follows is a sampling. Ages listed are when their respective movies came out. In some cases, the movie was released after they had wrapped up work on the film

Singers in their 20s

–Sheena Easton, For Your Eyes Only, 22 (DOB: April 27, 1959)

–Sam Smith, Writing’s On The Wall (SPECTRE), 23 (DOB: May 19, 1992)

–Adele, Skyfall, 24 (DOB: May 5, 1988)

–Tom Jones, Thunderball, 25 (DOB: June 7, 1940)

–Lulu, The Man With the Golden Gun, 26 (DOB: Nov. 3, 1948)

–Shirley Bassey, Goldfinger, 27 (DOB: Jan. 8, 1937). Also recorded Diamonds Are Forever in 1971 and Moonraker in 1979.

–Alicia Keys, Another Way to Die (Quantum of Solace), 27, (DOB: Jan. 25, 1981). Song performed with Jack White, 33, at the time of the film’s release.

— Nancy Sinatra, You Only Live Twice, 27 (DOB: June 8, 1940)

Singers in their 30s

-Paul McCartney, 31, Live And Let Die (DOB: June 18, 1942). The group Wings also participated.

–Carly Simon, “Nobody Does It Better,” The Spy Who Loved Me, 32 (DOB: June 25, 1945)

–Matt Munro, From Russia With Love, 32 (DOB: Dec. 1, 1930). Song used in end titles, instrumental used in main titles.

–Sheryl Crow, Tomorrow Never Dies, 35 (DOB: Feb. 11, 1962)

–Rita Coolidge, “All Time High,” Octopussy, 38 (DOB: May 1, 1945)

Singers in their 40s

–Chris Cornell, “You Know My Name,” Casino Royale, 42 (DOB: July 20, 1964)

–Madonna, Die Another Day, 44 (DOB: Aug. 16, 1958)

–Gladys Knight, Licence to Kill, 45 (DOB: May 28, 1944)

Singers in their 50s

–Tina Turner, GoldenEye, 55 (DOB: Nov. 26, 1939)

Bond 25 questions: The miscellaneous edition

Daniel Craig/James Bond character poster

We seem to have completed a wave of No Time to Die marketing that included the release of the film’s first trailer. However, as is often the case, the blog has some questions.

How long will the movie be?

The Daniel Craig era of the James Bond film series has been known for long movies.

2006’s Casino Royale came in at 144 minutes, edging out On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (142 minutes) for the longest film in the series up to that time.

Six years later, Skyfall came in at 143 minutes, according to its IMDB.com listing. Then, in 2015, SPECTRE seized the crown of longest-running Bond film at 148 minutes.

The one exception in the Craig era was 2008’s Quantum of Solace at a slender106 minutes, the shortest movie in the series made by Eon Productions.

Based on recent history, it would seem a longer movie is more likely than a shorter one. But how long? Two-and-a-half hours? Longer? Is three hours a possibility? There’s no way to know, obviously, at this point.

Who will do the title song?

To be honest, this isn’t something I personally get excited about. It used to be the title song was an integral part of the movie. Now, it seems to be little more than part of the marketing.

The last time a Bond film composer helped write a title song was Casino Royale’s You Know My Name, where David Arnold collaborated with singer Chris Cornell. When that happens, the composer can weave the title song into the movie’s score.

Now? Music from the song does show up in the underscore, but it doesn’t sound particularly smooth.

When No Time to Die’s title song composer is announced, it’ll get a lot of attention. But, speaking only for myself, it’s hard to get that excited. Which leads up to the next question….

Who is scoring the movie?

In July, IndieWire reported that Dan Romer, who had worked with director Cary Fukunaga on some projects, was the composer. Romer put out a tweet that appeared to confirm the report.

Then, in November, fansite James Bond Radio said it heard Romer had left the production.

Nothing has been heard of since then. There has been no announcement about a No Time to Die composer. So who knows at this point?

David Arnold discusses Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell (1964-2017)

David Arnold, who scored five James Bond films, discussed his work with singer Chris Cornell  for the title song of 2006’s Casino Royale with the entertainment news website The Wrap.

Cornell died last week. Arnold paid tribute to the performer after Cornell’s death in Detroit.

Here’s an excerpt from the story in The Wrap.

Shortly after signing on…Cornell traveled to the set in Prague to meet with Arnold and the film’s director, Martin Campbell. After reading the script and watching Craig in action via a rough cut of the film, Arnold and Cornell sat down to compare ideas for the song. They agreed that the song couldn’t be called “Casino Royale” and decided that the title “You Know My Name” would fit with Bond’s ego, an element of his character that plays a major factor in the story.

Arnold and Cornell wrote You Know My Name, with Cornell as the singer. Elements of the song were woven into Arnold’s score for the 21st James Bond film. It was the last time (to date) a Bond movie composer collaborated on a 007 title song.

According to The Wrap, Arnold and Cornell “pent 10 days apart writing the song, with Cornell writing lyrics based on his interpretations of (Daniel) Craig’s performance.”

To read the entire story, CLICK HERE.

Why this blog posts obituaries

Guy Hamilton

The tragic death of Chris Cornell this week was a reminder why this blog publishes so many obituaries.

Cornell’s death by suicide was sudden. To be honest, the blog’s obit was published so quickly because the Spy Command was up in the middle of the night and saw the news.

Obits are as much about lives led as they are the deaths that ended them.

Essentially, obituaries are a very rough first draft of the biographies of prominent people.

A little over a year ago, the blog began writing “prepared obituaries.” In the first part of 2016, the likes of George Martin, Ken Adam and others had died. They were in their 90s.

So the blog began writing prepared obits. The first one published was for Guy Hamilton, a four-time 007 film director whose credits included Goldfinger. The blog’s obit for Hamilton was, literally, written two days before his death. That was, admittedly, a little spooky.

If this sounds ghoulish, it’s not. The New York Times first wrote an obit for Fidel Castro in the 1950s when he was hiding in the jungles of Cuba. The idea is that the rough first-draft biography be as good as it can possibly be.

The blog has posted other prepared obits when those involved died. They included actor Mike Connors and television producer Bruce Lansbury.

Still, the blog is a hobby. This isn’t a major news organization that has an obituary desk. From time to time, there are sudden deaths, such as actor Robert Vaughn and Chris Cornell, that had to be written quickly.

Given that a lot of what the blog writes about originated more than a half-century ago, this is the way of the world.

It’s not fun by any means. But those who’ve departed deserve an appropriate send off. And that’s why the blog spends as much time on obits as it does.

Chris Cornell dies at 52

Chris Cornell

UPDATE III (6:50 p.m.): The Wayne County (Michigan) Medical Examiner said Chris Cornell died from “suicide by hanging” even though a full autopsy report hasn’t been completed according to The Detroit News.

ORIGINAL POST (4:30 a.m.): Chris Cornell, the rock musician who co-wrote and performed Casino Royale’s title song, died Wednesday night at age 52, The Associated Press reported.

The news service quoted a Cornell representative, Brian Bumbery, as saying the musician’s death was “sudden and unexpected.” No cause of death was known early Thursday. Cornell, who had been on tour, died in Detroit, the AP said.

Cornell was the lead singer for Soundgarden and “helped architect the 90’s grunge rock movement,” AP said in its report. He was also lead performer and songwriter for Audioslave.

In 2006, Cornell became the first title song performer for the Daniel Craig era of James Bond films.

Cornell also co-wrote Casino’s title song, “You Know My Name,” with David Arnold, who also scored the movie.

With Casino, Eon Productions opted for a “reboot,” or starting the series over. The Daniel Kleinman-designed main titles were different that previous entries. Graphic elements for the titles included playing card images as well as silhouettes of violent fights as well as images of Craig, who was making his 007 debut.

UPDATE (4:45 a.m.): David Arnold commented on Twitter:

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UPDATE II (9:30 a.m.): Many tributes have been written about Chris Cornell in the hours after his death became public. Here are tweets by the official James Bond Twitter account and actor Jeffrey Wright, who played Felix Leiter in Casino Royale.

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