So Sam Smith’s ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ has gone to Number One on the Official UK Singles Chart.
Believe it or not, Smith is the first artist to score a UK chart-topper with the theme from a Bond film, meaning he’s done something that Duran Duran, Adele, A-Ha, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and Madonna couldn’t – all of them artists who had Number Ones in their respective careers, but couldn’t take their Bond themes to the top.
Let’s celebrate Smith’s chart success by looking at five other Bond themes that should have gone to Number One.
Louis Armstrong – ‘We Have All The Time In The World’
The theme from 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – George Lazenby’s only outing as 007 – didn’t make the chart in either the UK or US when it was originally released. It did, however, make its way to Number Three when it was re-released in 1994 after being used in a Guinness advert. Poor old Louis Armstrong was too ill to play the trumpet when it came to recording this song, but he more than made up for it with his beautiful, unmistakable vocal.
A-Ha – ‘The Living Daylights’
The theme for Bond’s 15th outing was the final one written by composer John Barry. Famously difficult to work with, he and A-ha did not get on well, resulting in two versions of ‘The Living Daylights’ being produced. Barry’s preferred version was heard in the film, the first to star Timothy Dalton as Bond, while A-ha’s favourite appeared on their album ‘Stay On These Roads’. The oddly Bowie-esque song sold more than two million copies around the world and reached Number One in A-ha’s native Norway, but only made it to Number Five in the UK.
Duran Duran – ‘A View To A Kill’
Given their love of yachts, fast cars and beautiful women, Duran Duran may have given the impression they were auditioning to play Bond in their early videos. The Brummies had to settle for singing the theme to the 14th instalment, for which they won a Golden Globe for Best Song, but only reached Number Two with in 1985. By all accounts, they were given the song when the band’s John Taylor met series producer Cubby Broccoli at a party and asked “When are you going to get someone decent to do one of the theme songs?”
Shirley Bassey – ‘Goldfinger’
Shirley Bassey is the only artist to sing three Bond themes (the others being ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and ‘Moonraker’), but let’s face it, ‘Goldfinger’ is the one they and all others are measured against. The loud brass, the crashing cymbals and her incredible voice make her ode to the man who turns everything he touches to gold as big as the film itself. It reached a seemingly lowly Number 21 in the UK when it was released in 1964.
Adele – ‘Skyfall’
Everything about Skyfall, Daniel Craig’s third outing as MI6’s most daring agent, was big. It cost more than any other Bond and took more at the box office than any other, eventually becoming the highest-grossing British film of all time. The fact the song, sung by Adele, no stranger to breaking sales records herself, only went to Number Two, doesn’t really make sense, especially when you consider Swedish House Mafia were the ones who kept her and the song from the top spot. Adele and co-writer Paul Epworth did receive an Oscar for the song, however, so that probably helped soften the blow.