All Time High
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|"All Time High"|
|Single by Rita Coolidge|
|from the album Octopussy|
|Writer(s)||John Barry, Tim Rice|
|Producer||Stephen Short, Phil Ramone|
|James Bond theme chronology|
"All Time High" marked the return of regular James Bond theme composer John Barry after his absence from the For Your Eyes Only soundtrack. The lyrics were written by Tim Rice and recording and mixing of the track is credited to Stephen Short.
Prior to Rita Coolidge being assigned the Octopussy theme a contender was Mari Wilson, a British singer whose retro-image evoked the mid-'60s when the Bond series originated, but Wilson's lack of a US-profile led to a negative decision.
The ultimate choice of Coolidge – whose career peak had occurred some six years previously – was a surprising one. Coolidge recalls that Barbara Broccoli, the assistant director of Octopussy, was a fan of Coolidge and made a point of playing Coolidge records around her father, Cubby Broccoli, producer of the films, until "one day [he said], "Who is that? That's the voice I want for the movie.'...in the studio [Tim Rice] was still finishing the song. We were waiting for the lyrics as the track had already been done."
Rice made no effort to incorporate the film's title but the lyric: "We're two of a kind" is a line spoken by the title character (played by Maud Adams) to James Bond (Roger Moore). The song's title "All Time High" parallels Coolidge's #2 hit "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher" whose lyric "When you wrap your loving arms around me I can stand up and face the world again" is echoed by the "All Time High" lyric "We'll take on the world and win".
In the US "All Time High" reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1983. Adult contemporary radio was much more receptive, with that genre allowing "All Time High" four weeks at #1 as ranked by Billboard magazine. Coolidge had previously topped the Adult Contemporary chart in 1977 with "We're All Alone".
In the UK, "All Time High" rose no higher than #75 and remains the lowest charting James Bond theme.1 However the track became a major hit in several European countries: Austria - #14; Finland - #11; Germany - #13; the Netherlands - #8; Sweden - #8; and Switzerland - #7: Coolidge had previously only charted in one of these six countries, that being the Netherlands (with "We're All Alone" - #15/1977) which was also the only one of the six countries where she'd chart again ("I Stand in Wonder", #56/1999). Additionally "All Time High" afforded Coolidge a chart record in Australia - #80; Canada - #38, New Zealand - #26, and South Africa - #8; also the track was ranked at #48 in the annual hit parade tally for 1983 in Brazil.
- 1"The Man With the Golden Gun" by Lulu failed to chart in 1974 - at that time the chart was limited to the Top 50 - and "Moonraker" by Shirley Bassey fell short of the Top 75 in 1979.
According to the Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits by Wesley Hyatt, Coolidge considered "All Time High" to be an unfinished work and customarily would include the song in concert via her backing musicians playing it as an overture rather than singing it as part of her program. However Coolidge did state in 2006: "It is a wonderful song and I am very proud to be a part of that family [of James Bond theme singers]." 
"All Time High" was not originally featured on Never Let You Go, the Rita Coolidge album released in October 1983 although it does occur on some pressings. Since 1998, "All Time High" has been included on several Coolidge anthology releases including a 2001 retrospective on Spectrum Records entitled All Time High.
In 2006, when asked "Which song [of yours] has been the biggest earner in terms of royalties?", Tim Rice first mentioned "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "A Whole New World", then added: ""All Time High" is another one that just keeps on earning." The song was referenced and then performed by Mark Wahlberg and Norah Jones in the film Ted.
"All Time High" has been remade by Anita Meyer for her 1987 release Premiere, by Pulp in 1997 for David Arnold's Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project album and by Shirley Bassey for her 2002 release Bassey Sings Bond. A dance version was recorded in 2006 by Kelly Llorenna.
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