The Living Daylights (song)

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"The Living Daylights"
Single by A-ha
from the album The Living Daylights and Stay on These Roads
B-side "The Living Daylights" (Instrumental)
Released 22 June 1987 (1987-06-22)
Format 7" vinyl
12" vinyl
Recorded 1987
Genre Synthpop, pop rock, alternative rock
Length 4:13 (movie version)
4:46 (album version)
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
John Barry
Producer(s) Jason Corsaro
Magne Furuholmen
Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
John Barry
A-ha singles chronology
"Manhattan Skyline"
"The Living Daylights"
"Stay on These Roads"
James Bond theme chronology
"A View to a Kill"
"The Living Daylights"
"Licence to Kill"

"The Living Daylights" is the song performed by A-ha for the James Bond film of the same name. It was written by guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy.

Origin and recording[edit]

John Barry was listed on the credits as co-writer and producer, and the initial release of the song was his version. A second version of the song, re-worked by A-ha in 1988, later appeared on their third album, Stay on These Roads. The band prefers their version of the song to Barry's.[citation needed]

When interviewed on a late-night show in 1987, Barry said that he found working with the band exhausting secondary to the band's insistence on using their own version of the song for release.[1] In an interview with Hotrod Magazine, keyboardist Magne Furuholmen said that "[the band's] fight with Barry left a rather unpleasant aftertaste. Apparently he compared us to Hitlerjugend in a newspaper interview."[2] Waaktaar-Savoy states that Barry never contributed to the creative process, and should not have his name on the credits.[1] Meanwhile, Waaktaar-Savoy has also said: "I loved the stuff he [John Barry] added to the track. I mean, it gave it this sort of really cool string arrangement. That's when it for me started to sound like a Bond thing."[3]

Release and reception[edit]

"The Living Daylights" was released in the summer of 1987. Despite that the song didn't chart on the Billboard Hot 100, it charted in the United Kingdom where it peaked at number five and number one in Norway. It also remains a favourite with Bond fans.[citation needed]

The song remains one of a-ha's most played songs in live concerts and has often been extended into a sing-along with the audience, as featured on the live album How Can I Sleep with Your Voice in My Head. In live performances, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy often included the James Bond Theme in his guitar solo.[citation needed]

Evan Cater of Allmusic said the song was "a strong sample of Seven and the Ragged Tiger-influenced Europop, enhanced by Morten Harket's powerhouse falsetto vocals."[4]

South African heavy metal band The Narrow released a cover version in 2005.[5]

The single sold over 2 million copies worldwide.[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video, which was directed by Steve Barron, was shot at the 007 Stage in London, which was built specifically for the Bond franchise.[1] It features various scenes from the film projected on to the band as they perform in an empty 007 stage. Footage from the movie itself flash at random times along with visual effects edited against green screen, an expensive innovation at that time.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1987–88) Peak
Norwegian Singles Chart[7] 1
Australian Singles Chart 29
Austrian Singles Chart[8] 18
Canadian Singles Chart 35
Dutch Top 40[9] 9
French Singles Chart[10] 21
German Singles Chart[11] 8
Irish Singles Chart[12] 2
Italian Singles Chart[13] 3
Japanese Singles Chart 42
Polish Singles Chart 3
South African Singles Chart 5
Spanish Singles Chart 30
Swedish Singles Chart[14] 3
Swiss Singles Chart[15] 8
UK Singles Chart[16] 5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The Official Community of A-ha". Retrieved 2009-01-15. [dead link]
  2. ^ "" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  3. ^ "a-ha v John Barry Good Friends REALLY". Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Allmusic review of The Living Daylights soundtrack album". Retrieved December 21, 2008 (2008-12-21).  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ Retrieved 11 March 2014
  6. ^ "the living daylights (1987-06-22)". Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Norwegian Singles Chart". VG-lista. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Austrian Singles Chart". Austria Top 40. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  9. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 30, 1987". Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  10. ^ "French Singles Chart". Palmares. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  11. ^ "German Singles Chart". Charts-Surfer. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Chart. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Italian Singles Chart". hitparadeitalia. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Swedish Singles Chart". Hitlista. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Swiss Singles Chart". Schweizer Hitparade. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  16. ^ "British Singles Chart". UK Top 40. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 

External links[edit]