Nobody Does It Better

Album: The Spy Who Loved Me Soundtrack (1977)
Charted: 7 2
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  • 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.
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Comments: 14

  • Karen from Manchester, NhZappy, you have obviously never seen Timothy Dalton.

    I wonder if "Skyfall" has surpassed the numbers of this one yet?
  • Gordon from London, United KingdomSomething quite magical about the coda. Specifically. the chord progression, and the way the sound seems to rise and fall at the same time. You feel that it could go on for ever as Carly Simon sings that widely spaced melodic line that spans both the high and mid register. The musical effect is like a tolling bell at sunset. Rolls Royce production too.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThis song was nominated for Best Song at the 1977 Academy Awards {Lost to "You Light Up My Life" from the movie of the same name}!!!
  • Zappy from Geelong, AustraliaThe best opening to a Bond film of all time and Roger Moore was the worst Bond ever.
  • Jane from Austin, Txi love this song. this song was used in a commercial for a restaurant called Perkins. it must have been a local commercial. i don't know.
  • Ryan from Atlanta, GaThis is easily the best Bond song, but it's also a marvelous example of 70's sound production, particularly the separation of the drums from the rest of the mix. It's got a nice slow Bond tempo (it has to flow with the opening credits, of course), with some high quality interplay between the strings in the orchestra and the guitars and horns. This song is really like 5 songs in one, it has one theme, with nice variations in the chorus and bridge and a nice climactic close to fade out. It stands out because the production is as good as the product itself. Classic 70's sound production at it's finest...
  • Jonathan from Pittsburgh, PaAnd if you listen very carefully at the end of the song, you will hear Carly sing "James, you're the best." This is interesting as the song is about James Bond, but Carly was married to James Taylor at the time of the recording. Who was she singing about?
  • Mike from Hastings, NeActually, Enrique.. back in '77, Carly Simon struggled terribly with stage fright. It was so bad that she could not sing at the Oscars. She still struggles with it to this day, but has learned coping exercises to help her. Any concerts she does now are usually very very small intimate affairs with many friends present.

    BTW... THIS IS the best Bond song EVER!
  • Michael from San Diego, CaThis was the best "Bond" theme song, and "The Spy Who Loved Me" was one of the better James Bond movies ever made!
  • Barry from New York, NcThere are actually two versions of this tune in the film THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. The more well known version is the one that is played during the final credits, and that one features the long ending. However I prefer the version that you hear during the opening credits (following the teaser sequence). This version has a neat synthesizer ending and no long fadeout. This was a better way to end the song!!
  • Jo from Newcastle, AustraliaIt's being used in an ongoing ad campaign for a real estate company here in Australia!
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InI love this song. Brings back lots of childhood memories. My grandpa use to watch the James Bond movies whenever there were on TV back in the day before VCR's & DVD's.
  • Scott from Chicago, IlThis song has/had an an emotional resonance that is quite singular. Carly's vocals always had a
    lift to them in her own husky, inimitable style,
    but this one is the best. The song also seems to
    have lent itself to multiple interpretations,
    and was used quite often in sports retropectives,
    typically a recap of the end of a season. "baby, you're the best" indeed!
  • Enrique from Lima, PeruAt the end of the Oscar's ceremony of 1977 this song was sung not by Carly Simon but by an afro-american female singer (don't remember her name)and even though the person who presented her said that whoever-was-the-singer would sing this song because "nobody does it better", I still believe that nobody does it better than Carly Simon.
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