Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager wrote this song, which was the theme for the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. Unlike all previous Bond songs, this one isn't named after the movie, and the film isn't even mentioned in the chorus - the only mention of the movie comes in the first verse: "Like heaven above me, the spy who loved me is keepin' all my secrets safe tonight."
Hamlisch and Bayer Sager didn't write the song for the movie; it was the producer Richard Perry who convinced them to submit it for the film, and the Bond producer Cubby Broccoli loved it. They reworked the song to make it work for 007 and get the movie mentioned in the lyrics.
Richard Perry produced three albums for Carly Simon from 1972-1975. This song reunited them - after Perry heard it from Hamlisch and Bayer Sager, he convinced them that it would be perfect for Simon to sing, and when he played it for Carly, she loved it.
"Nobody Does It Better" repeated Paul McCartney's July 1973 feat of reaching #2 with a James Bond theme tune; in his case it was "Live and Let Die." Duran Duran's American chart-topping "A View To A Kill
" is the best ever selling Bond theme tune.
This has been covered by many others including Julie Andrews, Mantovani and The Captain & Tennille. Radiohead has played the song at some of their shows, including one in Los Angeles on December 18, 1995 where lead singer Thom Yorke declared it "The sexiest song that was ever written."
The 1977 Spy Who Loved Me
film's score garnered nominations from both the Golden Globes and the Academy Award, while this Hamlisch/Sager song was nominated by both organizations that year as well. In 1988 Carly Simon won an Oscar for "Let The River Run
," the theme to Working Girl
, in the Best Original Song category. The same song also won her a 1989 Grammy for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture.
Former Bond Roger Moore told the London Times August 1, 2008 that this is is favorite Bond theme, "because nobody did. No, it is a terrific song as it embodies everything about Bond's character and why he is better and more popular than other movie spies."
Hamlisch and Bayer Sager were supposed to be working on a song for a television pilot when Hamlisch confided he would be writing the theme song for The Spy Who Loved Me. Sager came up with the title "Nobody Does It Better" on the spot.
"I don't know how I came up with it," she recalls in her memoir They're Playing Our Song. "I just thought about James Bond and that's what popped out of my mouth. Marvin instantly loved it and within seconds we'd both forgotten the song we'd gotten together to write and he was playing the melody of the chorus."
Grammar sticklers may cringe at the lyric, "Nobody does it half as good as you," but the slip was intentional. Bayer Sager notes: "I knew, having taught English, that 'half as good as you' was not proper grammar, but writing 'Nobody does it half as well as you,' which is correct, sounded terrible to my ear. Many times in writing songs, I made grammatically incorrect choices because certain words just sang better and sounded better to me than others."
This was originally offered to Dusty Springfield, but the soul singer turned down the opportunity due to her struggles with addiction and mental health issues at the time.