Who is doing the theme for the new Bond movie?
- Alex Johnston
- 29 July 2015
All bets are off, but Radiohead and Ellie Goulding are favourites to perform Spectre theme
Betting has been suspended on the question of who's performing the theme song for the next Bond movie. Spectre. The 24th Bond film in the official Eon Productions canon, isn't out until October, and for some time the bookies' favourite candidate has been Ellie Goulding. Some weeks ago, Goulding tweeted 'Live and Let Die', and on Mon 27 Jul she instagrammed a photo of herself leaving Abbey Road Studios, the traditional recording-ground of Bond themes, with the phrase 'That's a wrap!'. To be fair, she's currently recording a new album there, but to add fuel to the rumours, the website Showbiz411 revealed that Goulding has an unreleased song registered with BMI, called – wait for it – 'Spy'.
However, Goulding ceased to be a clear favourite when a succession of bets were placed on Radiohead, with one anonymous punter attempting to stake £15,000. At the closing odds of 6/4, a winning bet would have brought in a return of £37,500, yielding a tasty profit of £22.5k. Who but a very rich and stupid Radiohead fan would risk that kind of money on a hunch? And does Radiohead even have fans who are rich and stupid? Sensing insider information, the bookies closed down the betting, with Radiohead streaking ahead of Goulding as the official favourite.
But are they really a plausible suspect? While they've signalled their appreciation for the emotional territory of the Bond theme with their self-consciously over-wrought cover of Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager's 'Nobody Does it Better', as sung by Carly Simon in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me, it should be remembered that of the 23 Bond theme songs thus far, only seven have been sung by male singers (okay, eight if you include Jack White and Alicia Keyes' duet on Quantum of Solace's 'Another Way to Die'.) And in spite of all their efforts at self-reinvention, Radiohead seem a bit too politically fervent to be Bond theme performers; would they really sing the theme song to a movie about a hitman for vested interests?
Of course, maybe the theme is performed by Radiohead and Ellie Goulding, which would be awesome. In the meantime, here are a few of the more memorable Bond themes for your listening pleasure:
Shirley Bassey: 'Goldfinger'
'GOLD-FING-AAAHHH!' Not the first Bond theme but the first great one, John Barry's lurching, mesmerising tune perfectly suited to Shirley Bassey's lungs. That disorienting chord change between the words 'Midas' and 'touch' is the mitochondrial DNA of the Bond theme song.
Louis Armstrong: 'We Have All The Time In The World'
Barry chose jazz great Louis Armstrong as the singer for On Her Majesty's Secret Service's love song because he felt that only Armstrong could deliver the title line with the requisite irony. Sure enough, Armstrong sings with magisterial coolness; ideal for the Bond film with the most downbeat ending until 2006's Casino Royale.
Paul McCartney & Wings: 'Live and Let Die'
Despite Macca's over-reliance on the word 'in', 'Live and Let Die' is one of its composer's cleverest efforts in pastiche, although as the theme to the first Moore film, it signifies the moment when the franchise started to rely more on campy excess than on real threat.
Lulu: 'The Man with the Golden Gun'
So terrible it's brilliant, 'The Man with the Golden Gun' has been described as 'one long stream of smut' and with lyrics like 'His eye may be on you or me / Who will he bang? We shall see', we're not disagreeing.
Chris Cornell: 'You Know My Name'
The Soundgarden frontman injected energy and urgency into the reboot of the Bond franchise, and the 'You Know My Name' hook was a witty way to introduce a new leading man.
One of the saddest of Bond themes, 'Skyfall' was ideal for the only Bond film that you could honestly recommend to a non-Bond fan as a movie worth watching for its own sake.