Did any of us see it coming? Er, not exactly. There have definitely been significant signposts since August 2014 that Sam Smith would be singing the theme for the latest James Bond film, Spectre, but his brilliant and kinda shameless lying skills have consistently made it difficult to trust what we’ve seen. Why? Well, because there were more mischievous misdirection devices in Smith’s year of flat-out denial than you’d expect from your average politician. He is singing the theme for Spectre, and it’s called ‘Writing’s On The Wall’. But for a long time we were all fooled, in the face of information from ultimately trustworthy ‘insider sources’ and the like. This is how…
August 8, 2014: The Sun publishes an article claiming Smith is in negotiations with MGM movie bosses to record the new Bond theme. We are curious; we have no reason to disbelieve. It is the start of a tumultuous, nerve-frazzling, 13-month journey.
August 13, 2014: NME is naturally very happy to be able to exclusively break the news that this is false. We ask Smith if he’s singing the new Bond theme, and he tells us, as if what he’s saying is true or something: “No, I have no idea what that was about and I know as much as you do. You probably know more than me; I didn’t even read the article. I think it’s something everyone would love to do, but yeah, it was all news to me. I won’t say any more on it.”
November 4, 2014: The New York Post reveals a secret weapon: an insider source! An insider source that cattily reveals to everyone that Lana Del Rey “had lobbied hard” for the opportunity, but lost out to Smith, who had met with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and been labelled a “clear winner”. So, it is on?
December 4, 2014: We begin to think Smith might have been lying to us when the betting odds indicate he’ll be singing the theme. But odds are lowest not just for Smith, but also for Adele and Rihanna (all are 4/1), so we’re still not really sure.
June 9, 2015: Speculation is reignited, fuelled by gossip sites. But who believes gossip sites, man?
July 3, 2015: Smith continues to parrot his ‘not me’ line, here to Capital FM: “People seem to think I’m doing it but I have no idea what’s going on. I’m being deadly serious. I think I would know by now.” But then he says something else, something a little bit worse. “I heard Ellie Goulding was going to do it. It’s definitely not me.” Ellie Goulding, he says, like a tattletale. And we still kind of believe him.
July 3, 2015: Later that day, The Mirror reports that Ellie’s management have said it is a “wind up” and that there’s no truth to the claims. It’s a pretty humourless move, considering they could have had some fun with it.
July 6, 2015: Just three days later, Smith denies it again on Absolute Radio. “It’s the funniest thing just to sit back and watch everyone confirming something I know nothing about,” he says. “I’ve heard loads of rumours. I would have loved to have done it. But definitely not.” So… who is doing it, then? He looks away, shamefaced. “I’ve no idea.” He pauses. “Ellie Goulding?” And then his lip quivers slightly – just slightly – with the merest hint of mirth. You can see the moment below. We should have known. We should have known!
July 28, 2015: Ellie Goulding appears either to be in on the joke or to have been woefully misinterpreted, when she posts this Instagram photo at London’s Abbey Road – where Adele recorded ‘Skyfall’. We’re convinced that Smith was telling the truth – that Goulding is in fact singing the theme – and if this is her going along with the ruse, good on her. Good work. If she’s just recorded something else there, well, we don’t really care so much about that.
September 3, 2015: Five days ago. Just five days before he makes the announcement, and he’s still lying, still on camera, and to Jo Whiley of all people. How do you lie to Jo Whiley? There’s something inhuman about that.
If we’ve learned one thing from all this, it’s that Sam Smith is not to be trusted. If you encounter a Sam Smith in your local area, your best chance of survival is to run or hide, and tell the police. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.