How Did Sam Smith Have a #1 with a Bond Theme When So Many Others Did Not?

In fifty years, not a single theme song from a Bond film reached #1 on the British charts. Paul McCartney failed with “Live and Let Die.” Duran Duran didn’t make it with “A View to a Kill.”  Madonna, Shirley Bassey, Sheena Easton, Tina Turner, Carly Simon, even freakin’ Adele couldn’t have a #1 with a Bond theme.

So how did Sam Smith manage to do it with this one, a song he claims to have written in 20 minutes?

Popbitch takes a look at the situation in a post called “Tuneraker.”

A world-weary cynic will tell you that this is because it’s much easier to get a number one record in 2015 than it ever was in 1965. The charts aren’t competitive anymore. Anyone can get a number one now. You can sell more records going door to door. Et cetera, et cetera.

There’s some evidence that would appear to bear that theory out. If you look at the charting history of Bond themes over time, you can see there are far fewer flops these days. In the last 25 years, nothing has charted below Number 20 even though the songs themselves are rarely considered classics.


This gets granular and good. It’s a good bit of instruction on how the music industry works these days. Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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