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You Know My Name

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"You Know My Name"
A man stands in front of an out-of-focus sports car. The background is a gradient that goes from red to green. Besides the man is written "Chris Cornell", with "You Know My Name" below it. In the down right corner is the text "As featured in the motion picture CasinO ROyale", with a gun-like "7" below Royale's "O".
Single by Chris Cornell
from the album Carry On
ReleasedNovember 13, 2006
  • Chris Cornell
  • David Arnold
Chris Cornell singles chronology
"Preaching the End of the World"
"You Know My Name"
"No Such Thing"
James Bond theme singles chronology
"Die Another Day"
"You Know My Name"
"Another Way to Die"

"You Know My Name", performed by Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, is the theme song to the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale. Cornell wrote it jointly with David Arnold, the soundtrack's composer. The film producers chose Cornell because they wanted a strong male singer. Cornell and Arnold tried to make the song a replacement theme for the character instead of the "James Bond theme" reflecting the agent's inexperience in Casino Royale, as well as an introduction to Daniel Craig's grittier and more emotional portrayal of Bond. The single sold 148,000 copies in 2006 in the UK,[1] peaked at number 7 in the UK singles chart,[1] and has sold 323,000 digital copies and 3.5 million streams in the U.S. as of 2017.[2]

The track was leaked onto the Internet on September 20, 2006, and released as a single on November 13, 2006, charting in many countries. Reviews for "You Know My Name" were positive, and the song won the Satellite Award and the World Soundtrack Award, and was nominated for a Grammy Award. While not included in the Casino Royale soundtrack, "You Know My Name" appeared on Cornell's second solo album, Carry On.

Composition and recording[edit]

Lia Vollack, Sony Pictures's President of Music, called Chris Cornell inviting him to make a song for the new Bond movie, which would "reflect the dramatic new direction of James Bond", with a "strong male singer".[3] Cornell thought it was a strange offer, considering that he is American, and imagined that he would perform a secondary song in the film instead of the main theme.[4] Cornell declared he liked the Bond movies, particularly the ones with Sean Connery,[3] but that he "wasn't really a big fan of the last several movies". But Daniel Craig's casting as James Bond intrigued the musician, and he decided to accept the job. Cornell then went to Prague to visit the film's shooting, and was much impressed with the film's emotional content after he was shown a rough cut of Casino Royale.[5] In Prague he also met the score composer, David Arnold, who suggested writing a song "that echoed the film score".[3]

The composers started their writing separately, Cornell in his apartment in Paris, and Arnold in his house in London.[6][7] Cornell stated that he had some difficulties with composing: "It is difficult, I think, to write lyrics for a character, so really I just kind of wandered around for about a month not thinking about it too much, until I sort of formulated some idea of a way that I could approach it, where I'm kind of relating to what's in the character in the movie. And because this particular Bond is very edgy, but also has a lot of emotional depth, it's a lot easier."[8] Later the two musicians met and showed each other's ideas, and according to Arnold "it was almost like we wrote two parts of the same song."[6] Cornell wrote lyrics, to which Arnold added some lines and later music.[3] Some of Arnold's ideas included the song's title, the heavy introduction, and "having the same genetic material as the Bond theme, but in a different order and in a different shape".[6]

After a demo of the song was approved by the film's producers,[7] both musicians recorded the full version in AIR Studios London.[3] Cornell and Arnold recorded the guitar and bass parts themselves and hired a session musician for the drums. The recordings were finished by the time Casino Royale finished its principal photography on July 21, 2006, and Arnold played it at the wrap party. Afterwards he mixed in the orchestra parts.[6]

Speaking to film music fan site Maintitles, Arnold said he wanted "You Know My Name" to act as a substitute for the James Bond theme, to represent Bond's immaturity. The song's main notes are played throughout the film, and the classic theme only plays during the end credits to signal the end of his character arc.[9] Arnold felt the song should tie closer to the score, and have the "DNA of the James Bond music".[7] The musical arrangement tried to create "the right blend of rock aggression and sophisticated instrumentation",[10] with Cornell describing it as "more uptempo and a little more aggressive than any other Bond theme has been, maybe since Paul McCartney ['s 'Live and Let Die']".[11]

"I (wanted) an orchestra. I didn't want to do a song for a James Bond film and not have it sound somewhat like a James Bond song."

Chris Cornell[12]

Cornell stated that the biggest two influences on "You Know My Name" were Tom Jones, who performed the theme for Thunderball, and Paul McCartney, who composed and performed the theme for Live and Let Die. "I decided that I was going to sing it like Tom Jones, in that crooning style. I wanted people to hear my voice," Cornell said. "And 'Live and Let Die' is a fantastic song. Paul McCartney wouldn't have written it if not for that movie. I [also] wanted to write a song in its own universe. I knew I'd never have it again — a big orchestra — so I wanted to have fun with it." [13] Cornell did not put the film's title in the lyrics, because he "couldn't imagine it fitting into a song lyric that would come out of my mouth".[14] And he jokingly stated "Casino Royale didn't make a good rock title, but I would write a song named Octopussy just for fun".[15]

Before producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced on July 26, 2006, that Cornell was performing the theme for Casino Royale,[16] various names were reported in the media, some reports going so far as to have the performers apparently claim they were working on the song. This list includes Tina Turner, who previously sang "GoldenEye" for the 1995 Bond film of the same name,[17] and Tony Christie.[18]

The lyrics try to illustrate Bond's psyche in Casino Royale, described by Cornell as a conflicted and tough spy with more emotional depth, not the "superconfident, seemingly invincible, winking kinda ladies' man superspy" of the previous incarnations.[10] Cornell tried to focus on the existential dilemmas and possible sacrifices of secret agents - "There's an isolation in that; the stakes are very high. I've done a lot of living in my 42 years, and it wasn't hard for me to relate to that."[12] The song also served as an introduction to the character, even though he was featured in many other movies before - hence the title "You Know My Name" - dealing with Bond's action such as his first assassination, "introducing himself to what may be the rest of his life and how he will live it and what it will mean."[19]


Three versions of the song were produced:

  1. Main Version: Track 1 on "You Know My Name" singles
  2. Pop Mix: used in the video and released on the Carry On album and on German singles as Track 2
  3. Film Versions: more orchestral versions used in the film's opening and closing credits.[6][7]

The song was leaked on the internet on September 20, 2006.[20] The first version of the song, the grittier one which was leaked and not used in the movie, was made available for download on iTunes Store on November 13, 2006. This version debuted on the UK Single Download Chart at number 20 on November 22, 2006. It was released as a stand-alone single on December 14, 2006.[21] The single features a new acoustic version of the Soundgarden song "Black Hole Sun" as a B-side.[22] The German, Dutch and Australian versions of the single offer a second version of "You Know My Name" (called the Pop Mix) as a B-side.[23] This version is the one used for the song's music video, and is available on Chris Cornell's solo album, Carry On. The orchestral version featured in the opening titles of the film has not been commercially released.

The song is the first Bond theme not to be included on its film's soundtrack album. Cornell declared that it happened because he wanted the song to be "his",[14] and since he wrote "You Know My Name" in midst of recording the solo album Carry On, he felt that the song belonged to the album.[3] In 2008, the song was included in the compilation The Best of Bond...James Bond.[24]

The song's music video was directed by Michael Haussman, who tried to compare "the lives of a professional spy and a rock star".[25] The video premiered on MTV's Making the Video on October 31, 2006.[26]


"You Know My Name" was released in the winter of 2006 and became the most successful song from Chris Cornell on the rock charts and arguably Cornell's most recognizable and popular song. The song peaked at number 79 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 64 on the Billboard Pop 100 chart.[27][28] In Europe, "You Know My Name" charted in several markets and peaked at number 7 in the UK Singles Chart.[29] Chris Cornell won both the Satellite Award and the World Soundtrack Award for "You Know My Name" in 2007,[30][31] and garnered a Grammy Award nomination for Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media the following year.[32] The song also received a first-round nomination in the Best Original Song category for the 2006 Academy Awards, but did not qualify for the final list of nominees.[33]

The song received enthusiastic reviews, with critics praising the song's ability to fit well with the context of the film. Film reviewer James Berardinelli considered "You Know My Name" to "sound eerily like something by John Barry";[34] DVD Verdict's review praised the song, describing it as "working remarkably well in the film's context, lyrically and sonically",[35] and Cinefantastique called it "the best Bond theme song in years, [that] captures the full-blooded glory of classics like 'Goldfinger'".[36] Entertainment Weekly listed "You Know My Name" on a list of Academy Award snubs for Best Song, describing it as "a musically suave, lyrically ominous rock tune that is perfect for Casino Royale's dark reboot of the spy franchise".[37] Among music critics, Billboard described it as "the best Bond theme since 'A View to a Kill'", praising the minimal production;[38] on its review of Carry On, the magazine considered "You Know My Name" to be the best track of the album, describing it as "some of Cornell's most uncomplicated and accessible music to date";[39] the BBC's unnamed reviewer considered that Cornell's voice "weighs down" the song;[40]


Track listing[edit]


  1. "You Know My Name" 4:02
  2. "Black Hole Sun" (Acoustic) 4:38


  1. "You Know My Name" 4:02
  2. "You Know My Name" (Pop Mix)
  3. "You Know My Name" (Video)


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2006–07) Peak
Austrian Single Chart 28
Danish Single Chart 2
Dutch Single Chart 10
Euro Digital Tracks[43] 2
European Hot 100 Singles[44] 16
Finnish Single Chart 3
French Single Chart 51
German Single Chart 15
Greek Singles Chart[45] 9
Irish Singles Chart[46] 11
Italian Single Chart 4
Norwegian Single Chart 5
Swedish Single Chart 21
Swiss Single Chart 10
UK Downloads Chart[47] 4
UK Singles Chart[29][48] 7
US Billboard Hot 100[27] 79
US Billboard Hot Digital Songs[49] 57
US Billboard Pop 100[28] 64

Year-end charts[edit]

Year Chart Rank
2007 German Singles Chart[50] #87

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Chris Cornell wrote and performed the James Bond theme song for Daniel Craig's first 007 outing in Casino Royale". Daily Mirror. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Chris Cornell, Soundgarden Frontman, Dies at Age 52". Variety. Archived from the original on 26 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Rock Star Chris Cornell (formerly of Soundgarden & Audioslave) Talks About His New Solo Album, Carry On". SongwriterUniverse magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  4. ^ Chris Cornell on New Solo Album. 2007-08-01. Archived from the original on 2016-04-10. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  5. ^ "Chris Cornell Working On Solo LP — But Dismisses Rumors Of Audioslave Split". MTV. 2006-07-26. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  6. ^ a b c d e Burlingame, Jon (2012). The Music of James Bond. Oxford University Press. pp. 238–240. ISBN 9780199863303.
  7. ^ a b c d "In Conversation With David Arnold (3)". 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  8. ^ "CHRIS CORNELL: New Audio Interview Available". Blabbermouth. October 10, 2006. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  9. ^ Bregt De Lange and Mario Schuurmans. "Interview with David Arnold at the World Soundtrack Awards 2007". Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  10. ^ a b "In the mix". Variety. 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  11. ^ "Cornell Plotting First Solo Album". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  12. ^ a b Nelson, Steffie (2006-11-29). "Alt rockers flock to the movies". Variety. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  13. ^ Lo, Danica (2006-11-19). "CORNELL, CHRIS CORNELL - FORMER GRUNGE GOD GOES SECRET AGENT WITH 007 THEME SONG". The New York Post. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  14. ^ a b "Talking Shop: Chris Cornell". BBC. 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  15. ^ Chris Cornell - Casino Royale Premiere. 2006-11-28. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  16. ^ Steve Elzer (2006-07-26). "Chris Cornell Has Written and Will Perform the Main Title Song for CASINO ROYALE" (Press release). Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group. Retrieved 2006-07-26.
  17. ^ "Tina Turner links herself to Casino Royale theme song". 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2006-06-21.
  18. ^ "Tony Christie Writing 'Royale' Theme Song?". 2005-10-02. Retrieved 2006-06-21.
  19. ^ Robertson, Alex. "Chris Cornell interview". Virgin Media. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
  20. ^ Weinberg, Scott (2006-09-21). "Check Out the New 007 Song ... or not". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
  21. ^ "Music - Casino Royale". Retrieved 2010-01-29.
  22. ^ "You Know My Name". 19 December 2006 – via Amazon.
  23. ^ "You Know My Name". 1 December 2006 – via Amazon.
  24. ^ "Best of Bond...James Bond: 40th Anniversary Edition [Bonus Track]". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  25. ^ "Gallery - Making the Video: Chris Cornell". MTV. 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
  26. ^ "Making the Video: Chris Cornell". MTV. 2006-10-30. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
  27. ^ a b Nielsen Business Media, Inc (2006-12-09). The Billboard Hot 100: December 9, 2006. Billboard. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  28. ^ a b Nielsen Business Media, Inc (2006-12-09). The Billboard Pop 100: 6 December 2006. Billboard. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  29. ^ a b "UK Singles Chart: Week Ending December 16, 2006". BBC. Archived from the original on 2006-12-21. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  30. ^ "2006 11th Annual SATELLITE Awards". International Press Academy. Archived from the original on 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  31. ^ "2007 World Soundtrack Awards". World Soundtrack Academy. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  32. ^ "Grammy 2008 Winners List". MTV Asia. 2008-02-12. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  33. ^ Sneider, Jeff (2006-12-10). "Academy announces eligible songs". Variety. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  34. ^ Berardinelli, James (2006). "Review: Casino Royale (2006)". ReelViews. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  35. ^ Prince, Dennis (2007-03-17). "Casino Royale (2006) (Blu-Ray)". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  36. ^ "Casino Royale (2006) - Film & DVD Review". Cinefantastique. 2006-11-17. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  37. ^ Endelman, Michael (2007-02-05). "Oscar, the Grouch?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  38. ^ "Reviews: Singles". 118 (50). 2006-12-16: 44. Retrieved 2010-01-29. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  39. ^ Vrabel, Jeff (2007-06-09). "Carry On review". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  40. ^ Long, Chris (2007-05-25). "Chris Cornell Carry On Review". BBC1. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  41. ^ "Poets of the Fall's You Know My Name cover out now". Poets of the Fall. 2008-10-30. Archived from the original on 2008-11-03. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  42. ^ "Prime – 2008". Amalgamates official website. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  43. ^ Euro Digital Tracks: December 9, 2006. Billboard. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  44. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles: You Know My Name". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  45. ^ IFPI archive
  46. ^ "Irish Charts Week 2, 2007". IRMA. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  47. ^ "TOP 40 DOWNLOADS CHART :: CHART WEEK ENDING DATE 16/12/06". The Official UK Charts Company. Archived from the original on 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  48. ^ "Chris Cornell". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  49. ^ Hot Digital Songs: December 9, 2006. Billboard. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  50. ^ "Album Jahrescharts 2008". MTV Germany. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2011.

External links[edit]