When the pre-title sequence of Spectre, the 24th Bond film, fades to the opening credits, who should be singing the theme song? There are conflicting stories about Adele following up her previous Oscar winning effort: some reports confirming that she definitely has the gig, while others categorically denying it.
Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger is the perceived archetype for Bond songs, and Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ followed this established formula. But it hasn’t been all soulful crooning. Paul McCartney gave us one of the best Bond tunes with ‘Live and Let Die’. And rockers Jack White and Chris Cornell have both had a go. Things also went decidedly pop in the eighties when Duran Duran and a-ha put big synth into the Bond scores.
It’s worth noting as well, that the quality and success of Bond songs has also been variable over the years: while we’d all like to forget Madonna’s ‘Die Another Day’, can anyone actually remember the theme to ‘Casino Royale’ (as hugely popular as that film was)?
So setting Adele aside for a moment, the Upside News has put some thought into the options: some of them much talked about and others who might not seem so immediately apparent, but deserve serious consideration.
They may not have done the theme for Skyfall, but in 2012 Muse gave us a Bond song anyway with ‘Supremacy’, the album opener on The 2nd Law; albeit this was for a film that didn’t exist. And with all the right imagery and fantastic bombast, what a Bond theme it would have been! Whether giving up the goods without being asked counts against them in the long run, only time will tell. They do have solid soundtrack form though, writing songs for World War Z and the London Olympics. But with a newly released album to concentrate on, it could be an unlikely scenario, at least for the current film.
The Irish veteran rockers are no strangers to film soundtracks and Bond is no stranger to a chart-topping band, so it could be a good fit. And they have actually written a Bond theme before, with Bono and The Edge penning ‘Goldeneye’ for Tina Turner in 1995. Their latest album showed they are still in good song-writing form, and after the backlash over the Apple promotion, it could work nicely for them.
In 2013 Bowie surprised the music world with The Next Day, his first new material in ten years. A critical and commercial triumph, it showed that in he is still at the top of his game. And now that Bowie has retired from live performance, why not focus on than penning a Bond theme? (Surely, a much more worthwhile exercise than taking up golf!) He has the voice, an incredible songwriting legacy and the gravitas of being a true musical icon. What’s not to like about Bowie Bond?
Looking closer to home, Sia seems the strongest candidate as the first Australian to do a Bond song. Her amazingly textured voice fits the bill nicely, and with a strong track record in both chart success and writing popular songs for other artists, she ticks all the boxes. Her work on the Annie remake also shows film scoring experience. It all looks like a very good option.
The former Led Zeppelin brings uber rock’n’roll cool and is fine form in his current collaboration with the Sensational Shapeshifters, blending rock with world music. This could make for the finest Bond theme ever. But with Plant doing things very much on his own terms these days, it’s a very unlikely scenario. If Page, Jones and Bonham Jr can’t convince him to put the band back together, there’s very little hope the people at Eon will be able talk him around either. Unless, of course, Plant wakes up one morning with an inclination and tells them he’s doing it.
Queen + Adam Lambert
It’s a shame that Queen never did a Bond theme back in the Freddie days. The band synonymous with epic bombast would be a perfect fit. But opportunity is here once more, as they enjoy a new lease of life with Adam Lambert as front-man. Touring here last year, they were in great form, with Lambert bringing a renewed energy to the outfit. A Bond theme would provide an excellent reason to go back into the studio to make new music. It’s a very convincing argument!
Lake Street Dive
Classic rhythm and blues, coupled with a rich, soulful voice, the Boston four-piece could come up with one smooth theme song, that’s if recent album, Bad Self Portraits and their live shows are anything to judge by. Singer, Rachael Price has already popped up singing on Netflix’s House of Cards, so could Bond one day be on the cards? Their star is only just starting to rise, making them a long shot, but they’d do a mighty fine job.
He has already sampled a Bond theme, using ‘You Only Live Twice’ for 1998 hit ‘Millenium’. So why not have Williams go all the way and do a theme song in his own right. Bringing the kind of suave cool associated with the franchise, the ‘swinging’ material Williams showcased in his 2013 album and last year’s tour here would really work for a Bond song. The only question is, between his relentless touring and babies on the homefront, does the singer have the any time to throw together a film song.
Thinking outside the box, if the Bond producers are looking for some indie cred then Natalie Prass is having quite a year. She might not be the usual household name, but her debut album is garnering massive critical acclaim right now. In her favour, she has a superb voice the kind of retro sound that would suit a Bond number. If not now, then Prass is one to keep in mind.
A duet between Bowie and Queen + Adam Lambert: coming 34 years after ‘Under Pressure’, what better reason to get these two iconic acts together? Under any other circumstances, this would seem a highly unlikely scenario. But Bond is about suspending our disbelief in favour of the spectacular. And what a spectacle this would make for Spectre!
Compiled by Matthew Trainor