The music for this song is based on Nancy Sinatra's "You Only Live Twice
" from the James Bond film of the same name. The actual sample of the song wasn't used because it was a lot cheaper to recreate it in the studio than to clear it, so an orchestra comprising of a 26-piece string section, four French horn players, and a harpist was brought in to record it. Speaking with Sound on Sound
, Guy Chambers said: "Robbie came up with the idea for the song. He wanted to use the string section from 'You Only Live Twice,' but put it to a hip-hop beat. Once we had decided that, it was just a matter of finding a beat that worked - something that we eventually achieved by speeding it up."
Chambers added to Songwriting
that John Barry, the original composer of "You Only Live Twice," didn't approve of "Millennium": "A few months after it had been released and had been a hit, we actually met John Barry, who wrote that amazing string line, backstage at a prom. We wanted to meet him but he was incredibly unfriendly, I got the feeling that he thought we'd murdered his piece of music. It was a bit awkward to say the least, but I'm still a huge John Barry fan."