Billie Eilish

VIEWS: Billie Eilish – Now the Youngest Person To Record a Bond Song

Aged 18, Billie Eilish now becomes the youngest performer of a James Bond song.

As announced yesterday, Billie Eilish will be performing “No Time To Die”, the title song from the 25th James Bond film, due in cinema’s at the beginning of April. It will be Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as Ian Fleming’s iconic spy James Bond (007) from the contract he signed in 2005 that began with ‘Casino Royale’, released the following year. At 18, Billie breaks the previous record set by 22 year old Scottish singer Sheena Easton in 1981, when she recorded “For Your Eyes Only“, ironically the fifth (but not final) film to star Sir Roger Moore as 007.

Sheena’s song was a big hit reaching No.4 in America and No.8 in the UK and went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. At the time, only the third Bond song to achieve such a nomination (the other two were “Live And Let Die” and “Nobody Does It Better”). Adele went on to become the first artist to actually win the award in 2013 with her title song, “Skyfall” from the previous year’s film of the same name while Sam Smith did the same in 2016 for “Writing’s On The Wall”, the song used over the main credits for the last film, ‘SPECTRE‘ (2015).

Sam Smith was 23 years old when he recorded his Bond song while Adele was 24 when she recorded “Skyfall”. Sir Tom Jones was a mere 25 year old when he recorded “Thunderball” in 1965 and Nancy Sinatra was 26 when she recorded “You Only Live Twice” in 1967. Shirley (later to be knighted) Bassey was 27 when she recorded the first of her three 007 themes, “Goldfinger”, in 1964, the same age as Alicia Keys was in 2008 when she recorded “Another Way To Die” for that year’s release, ‘Quantum Of Solace’. Lulu was also 27 when she recorded “The Man With The Golden Gun” in 1974 while the three members of a-ha were 28, 26 and 25 when they co-wrote and released “The Living Daylights” in 1987.

Artists all in their 20’s and in the very early stages of their respective careers. At the other end of the scale, come the legends. Those who already boasted of many decades and achievements in the music industry, who were asked to perform a Bond title theme. Having scored her first hit in 1984, Madonna was 44 when she not only sang “Die Another Day” in 2002, but also appeared as Verity Lambert in the film itself! Minus her Pips, Gladys Knight was 45 when she sang “Licence To Kill” for Timothy Dalton’s second outing in 1989. Tina Turner was 56 when she was asked to record U2’s Bono and ‘The Edge’s “GoldenEye”, the first Bond film for six years, in 1995 and the first to star Pierce Brosnan as 007.

But the record for the eldest and most distinguished Bond performer is still unbroken after more than fifty years. That was set in 1969 by the unforgettable Mr. Louis Armstrong, who was 68 years old when he recorded “We Have All The Time In The World” for ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘. Fittingly and also sadly, it was also the last song he ever recorded. Armstrong was ill and was even too weak to play his own trademark trumpet on the track. He sang “We Have All The Time In The World” in one take and as he left the studio, turned to composer John Barry and said “thanks for the gig man”. He died soon after. As yet, there hasn’t been anyone else of a greater age to of recorded a title theme song.

But who knows…it could happen yet. How about Dame Shirley (now 83) returning for a fourth time? 93 year old Tony Bennett is still going strong and has all the credentials to perform a 007 classic. The use in recent years of ‘current’ or ‘trending’ artists keeps Bond music alive and appealing to modern music fans, just as it did in 1965 with Tom Jones and 1985 with Duran Duran. But occasionally, the producers have surprised everyone with the casting of an elder statesperson to bring gravitas and class to accompany the incomparable main titles sequences dreamed up and created by designers Maurice Binder (1918-1991) and his modern day protege Daniel Kleinman (b.1955). One thing we do know…James Bond WILL return!

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!