Having successfully recorded 19 and 21, Adele decided to have a crack at 007 when she recorded the theme tune for the 23rd James Bond movie, Skyfall. The track, recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, got its first play on the singer's website at 0.07am GMT on October 5, 2012, as part of the "James Bond Day" celebrations by Eon Productions - the fiftieth anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No.
Adele teamed up with Paul Epworth, who co-wrote and produced her international hit "Rolling In The Deep
," to pen the sultry ballad. Said the singer: "I was a little hesitant at first to be involved with the theme song for Skyfall
. There's a lot of instant spotlight and pressure when it comes to a Bond song. But I fell in love with the script and Paul had some great ideas for the track and it ended up being a bit of a no-brainer to do it in the end.
It was also a lot of fun writing to a brief," she continued, "something I've never done, which made it exciting. When we recorded the strings it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I'll be backcombing my hair when I'm 60 telling people I was a Bond girl back in the day, I'm sure."
Speaking with BBC's 6 Music radio station, Epworth explained the song was intended to echo the narrative of the film. "The [Bond theme] songs seem to fall into groups, in terms of subject matter," he said. "Some of them have a romanticism to them, and some of them are very much about the narrative of the film.
We went very much with the narrative of the film. We talk a lot about Bond's relationship to the country... and to MI6. There's a little bit of that in the lyrics, and I guess we were trying to find a way to almost make that romantic, you know? I think you will need to see the film and see where the song happens in the context of the film.... and it will all make sense."
The song features a 77-piece orchestra that was arranged by the American composer and conductor J. A. C. Redford. His credits include the movie's The Help and Wall-E.
Adele's theme song is the first to carry the same name as the Bond movie since Madonna's "Die Another Day
" in 2002.
Skyfall producer Barbara Broccoli revealed to People magazine that Adele read the entire script before taking on the movie's theme song. "She spent a lot of time working on it and getting it right," said Broccoli. "But she was worth the wait."
Daniel Craig admitted to Yahoo that he found himself coming over a bit emotional when the song was first played to him: "I cried," the James Bond star said. "From the opening bars I knew immediately, then the voice kicked in and it was exactly what I'd wanted from the beginning. It just got better and better because it fitted the movie. In fact the more of the movie we made, the more it fitted it."
Director Sam Mendes told Yahoo that at first, Adele wasn't quite sure how to go about composing the movie theme. He explained: "She came in very early before we started shooting and her main concern was, 'I write songs about myself, how can I make a 'Bond' song?' My answer was, 'Just write a personal song!' Carly Simon's 'Nobody Does it Better
' was a love song."
The song topped the singles chart in at least 15 different countries including France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and South Korea.
Speaking with Hollywood.com
, Paul Epworth said that finding the right sound for "Skyfall" was a particular challenge. "[The producers] said they wanted a dramatic ballad basically," he explained. "With having read the script and trying to set the whole thing up in that context, where it happens in the film, there was really only one thing it could be. It was interesting to want to do something that was simultaneously dark and final, like a funeral, and to try and turn it into something that was not final. A sense of death and rebirth."
After writing a piece of music that Epworth believed could be the tune for the Bond theme, the producer thought, "This could be the song." Epworth told Hollywood.com that he then rang up Adele, "and said, 'It might be too dark.' And she said she loved it." The pair immediately went into the studio and within 10 minutes she'd put down the first draft of the verse and chorus. "She had the lyrics ready in her head when she drove over. It was the most absurd thing. She's fast, but it was really quite phenomenal," he said.
Epworth had already worked with Adele, but this recording unveiled a new side of the singer. "She has an old soul," the producer told Hollywood.com. "She never really mentioned she could sing the [Shirley] Bassey-esque slurs that she does in the opening."
This won Best British Single at the 2013 BRIT Awards. Adele missed the event to rehearse for the Oscars. Speaking on a pre-recorded video to accept the award she addressed the infamous moment at the previous year's ceremony when host James Corden cut short her acceptance speech for the Best Album award. "I don't want to keep you too much because I don't want to interrupt the Best Album speech at the end of the night," she quipped.
This won Best Original Song at the 85th Academy Awards, the first Bond theme to win an Oscar. Adele performed the tune at the ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on February 24, 2013. It was the first time she'd sung the James Bond theme live anywhere and it was also her first public performance since the previous year's Grammys (she became a mother in October 2012).
A video was made or the song, which only features clips from the movie. Adele explained during her 2016 Glastonbury headlining set why she didn't make an appearance in the clip. "I didn't want a video [for the song] because I was nine months pregnant and I was about to drop," she said. "And I don't look like Halle Berry. You don't want to do a video for a Bond song if you don't look like Halle Berry."