Listen, we only live twice.
Over the weekend, I suggested that the Billie Eilish theme song to “No Time to Die,” the next James Bond movie, could be changed. There’s plenty of time for Billie and Finneas, her producer brother, to re-record it with a more lively setting. The song was not a big hit when it was released in February. Now the movie will come in late November. There’s no excitement about the single. Why not do something?
Well, it turns out it wouldn’t be a first. The James Bond theme song was changed in 1965. Shirley Bassey recorded the title track to a Bond movie that was going to be called “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” She cut it, but the studio didn’t like it. The studio also didn’t like the title of the movie. They changed it to “Thunderball.”
In the interim, they had Dionne Warwick record “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” In 1965, you couldn’t get a bigger star than Dionne Warwick. She had hit after hit with songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Didn’t matter. As the movie’s title changed to “Thunderball,” a new song was needed with the name of the movie in the lyrics. Enter Tom Jones, also a mega star of the day. He recorded the new song for the newly titled movie, and it was a hit.
Warwick’s and Bassey’s versions exist today, they survived very nicely. Shirley had the title songs in “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds are Forever,” and “Moonraker,” so she didn’t mind. Dionne has more gold records than she knows what to do with. So Billie Eilish would survive if there were a change before “No Time to Die” is released. And her original version could always be used somewhere else in the movie.
It’s been done before. And everyone survived.
Tip of the hat to Bill McCuddy