You Only Live Twice (song)
|"You Only Live Twice"|
|Single by Nancy Sinatra|
|from the album You Only Live Twice|
|Recorded||2 May 1967 at the CTS Studios in London|
"You Only Live Twice", performed by Nancy Sinatra, is the theme song to the 1967 James Bond film of the same name. Music and production was provided by veteran James Bond composer John Barry, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. The song is widely recognised for its striking opening bars, featuring a simple 2-bar theme in the high octaves of the violins and lush harmonies from French horns. It is widely considered to be among the best James Bond theme songs, and has become one of Nancy Sinatra's best known hits. Shortly after Barry's production, Sinatra's producer Lee Hazlewood released a more guitar based single version.
The song has been extensively covered by artists, from Coldplay to Soft Cell, Björk and Little Anthony & The Imperials to Shirley Bassey. Robbie Williams notably re-recorded the opening bars of the song for his hit Millennium.
James Bond veteran John Barry returned to the franchise to produce the score. The lyrics were by Leslie Bricusse, who had previously cowritten the lyrics for the theme to Goldfinger. Julie Rogers was asked to perform the song, and recorded it with a 50 or 60 piece orchestra at CTS Studios. The song was quite different from the later Sinatra version, with a more Oriental flavour. John Barry said: "It was usually the producers that said 'this isn't working, there's a certain something that it needed'. If that energy wasn't there, if that mysterioso kind of thing wasn't there, then it wasn't going to work for the movie." The song shares only two lines with Sinatra's, "You only live twice", and "you’ll pay the price". The film's producer Cubby Broccoli, wanted his friend Frank Sinatra to perform the song. Frank suggested that they use his daughter instead. Barry wanted to use Aretha Franklin, but the producers insisted that he use Nancy instead, who was enjoying great popularity in the wake of her single, These Boots Are Made For Walkin'.
The sweeping, grand and wistful version (2:46) featured in the film's opening title sequence and on the soundtrack LP is in the key of B and has a single vocal track. The song was recorded with a 60 piece orchestra on 2 May 1967 at the CTS Studios in Bayswater, London. Sinatra later recalled that she was incredibly nervous during the recording, and it took around 30 takes to acquire enough material. Producer John Barry eventually created the final product by incorporating vocals from 25 takes.
Sinatra's American producer Lee Hazlewood created the version that was released as a single. It is in the key of C and features vocal overdubbing, backing chorus, brass and stinging twangy guitar, with a running time of 2:56.
 Critical reception
Roy Wood, once described Barry’s string introduction to his song, ‘You Only Live Twice’ as "absolute perfection." Mark Monahan of The Daily Telegraph described the lyrics as "mysterious, romantically carpe diem ... at once velvety, brittle and quite bewitching".
 Cover versions
The song is one of the most covered Bond themes. English synthpop duo Soft Cell — fronted by Marc Almond — included a cover on the B-side of their 1984 single Soul Inside. Australian band The Scientists released a heavy guitar version of the song as a single in 1985. In 1998, Robbie Williams re-recorded portions of the song (notably the opening strings) for use on his song Millennium–the music was re-recorded rather than sampled as this was less expensive than licensing the original recording. A rock version of You Only Live Twice was covered by Coldplay when they toured in Norway in 2001 and was released as a B-side on the Don't Panic single, and was covered by Natacha Atlas and appeared on her 2005 compilation album The Best of Natacha Atlas. The Icelandic singer Björk also recorded a cover version. The UK rave and breakbeat hardcore producer Acen also sampled the string section on his song "Trip II the Moon" in 1992. The Floridian indie-pop group The Postmarks also recorded a version for their cover album By the Numbers, released in 2008. Cee-Lo Green also samples it for his third solo hit single, Bright Lights Bigger City. Little Anthony & The Imperials recorded a powerful version of the song as a single, taken from their album, Movie Grabbers. 
 Use in popular culture
The song was used in the closing montage of Mad Men's season five finale.
|Chart (1967)||Peak position|
 See also
- Hastings, Rob (1 February 2011). "Tributes to John Barry, the man with the Midas touch for movie music". The Independent.
- Jon Burlingame. The Music Of James Bond. Oxford University Press. pp. 197–. ISBN 978-0-19-998676-7. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- Monahan, Mark (16 November 2006). "James Bond songs From Bassey and Barry to Bono and Tina". The Daily Telegraph.
- Paul Simpson (2002). The Rough Guide to James Bond. Rough Guides. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-84353-142-5. Retrieved 5 October 2012.