"She doesn't sing the songs, she lives them."
Performed by Shirley Bassey, ‘Diamonds are Forever’ has become a classic. Years after the Bond movie was released, Don was at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s apartment in New York working on ‘Aspects of Love’ when Steven Spielberg, whom Don had never met, popped round to see his friend. Lloyd Webber did the introductions – ‘Steven Spielberg, this is Don Black.’ Spielberg gaped. ‘You’re not the Don Black are you?’ Now it was Don’s turn to gape. Spielberg shook his hand warmly, enthusing, ‘You wrote my favourite title song of all time:”Diamonds Are Forever”!’
The man with the golden gun
1974 saw another date with 007 and John Barry in ‘The man with the golden gun’. Barry delivered a fast, rather intense theme – a bit of a cross between Thunderball and Goldfinger. It is chase music, but with a hint of seductiveness. Lulu supplied the vocals, and went right along with the ‘powerful weapon, seductiveness theme. There was a thrill in her voice. And, she says, there was an unexpected benefit years later. ‘When my son’s friends got to the age of about 9, they became obsessed with Bond. And when they found out that I sang “The man with the Golden Gun”, I was the coolest mum in the school!’
"I'll tease and tantalise,
With every line,
Till you are mine.
Tomorrow never dies."
In 1997, Don made the leap to the new era of 007, with Pierce Brosnan now the man fighting terror in his tux. Black wrote the song Surrender for the end credits of Tomorrow Never Dies. By this time John Barry had grown bored of Bond and left the series. David Arnold had taken over, and in this movie paid affectionate homage to Barry, his score peppered with musical references to Goldfinger, Thunderball and From Russia With Love. Arnold and Black came up with a song in which, for a change, the woman is in control. kd lang’s taking-no-prisoners vocals storm ahead on hard-driving beats and wah-wah horns. It’s Bond versus the dominatrix.
"I know how to hurt,
I know how to heal,
I know what to show,
And what to conceal.
I know when to talk,
And I know when to touch,
No-one ever dies from wanting too much."
A Sherly Crow and Mitchell Froom alternative was picked for the opening credits of Tomorrow Never Dies, but three years later, for The World Is Not Enough, Don was back where he likes to be – hitting them between the eyes from the start.
Garbage performed the song, which gets the adventure off to a rousing start – together with an opening sequence that found perhaps the only good use ever for London’s Millenium Dome. Not one of the most distinguished Bond films, it never quite lives up to that early promise, nor does a clever and thoughtful plot quite come off. Still, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough grossed an amazing $698 million between them.