This was the theme song to the 1965 James Bond movie of the same name. The music was written by John Barry, who did the music for the three previous Bond movies: Dr. No
, From Russia with Love
, and Goldfinger
Barry explained to NPR that "Thunderball" was a very difficult word to write music around, so instead he wrote a song called "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which is what Italian audiences had been calling James Bond. He recorded the song with both Dionne Warwick and Shirley Bassey, but two weeks before the movie opened, the film studio insisted on a song titled after the movie, which worked so well for "Goldfinger
." So Barry complied and wrote the new song, telling NPR, "I don't think anybody really analyzed what the hell he was singing about. And I still don't know what the song is about to this day. But we were given that problem, and we had to live with it."
The rejected song, "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," was eventually released in 1990.