Landing a dream gig like writing and performing a James Bond theme song is a pretty competitive experience. Many have tried, and even those that looked like they’d had the gig in the bag have lost the opportunity, due to one reason or another. So no one can blame Billie Eilish and her brother/collaborator Finneas for thinking that the opportunity to craft the opening song for No Time To Die was a pipe dream. But as you’ll see below, the insane way things came together made that exact dream a chart busting reality.
Both Billie Eilish and Finneas got to discuss their work on the 25th James Bond film, as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon hosted them as guests for the recent celebration of James Bond Day. While the celebration was a bit muted, as the decision to push director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s entry into the 007 canon to an April 2021 debut was made just the Friday before, that didn’t stop Fallon from getting Eilish to tell the story of how things started to come together:
For many years we’ve wanted to write a Bond song. Not even like we thought we could, it was more of a fantasy. Like a complete fantasy ‘How cool would it be to do this?’ But I think it was last summer-ish it started being a topic of discussion and not a fantasy. And it was very insane to us. It was a couple months of disbelief, I think.
As Billie Eilish is officially the youngest performer to sing over a James Bond title sequence in No Time To Die, some may wonder what age she began this fantasy. But looking at the songs that have come out of Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond, you can see why this opportunity would appeal to members of a younger demographic. With Chris Cornell, Jack White and Alicia Keys, and even Adele and Sam Smith all lending their talents to the modern Bond franchise, the series has kept itself relevant in another crucial context by taking popular hitmakers and working with them to produce something memorable.
Perhaps the greatest vote of confidence came from No Time To Die composer/Hollywood legend Hans Zimmer. Explaining himself how the vibe of the Billie Eilish song perfectly sold him on her being the right person for the job, Zimmer has been such a fan of the song that he truly felt sorry it was released “at the wrong time” just before the first delay hit this past March. That particular essence came from a process that Eilish continued to describe as follows:
We kind of started with making sure we got a melody we thought was really solid before we tried any lyrics out. Before we had written anything, we both thought it was really important to have the title of the movie in the song. And have the song be called that. Because it wouldn’t have been satisfying otherwise. We kept thinking ‘How can we make that make sense? What could we say?’
Having No Time To Die’s title in the theme tune is an interesting point for Billie Eilish to bring up, as only a handful of 007 movies have danced around that particular convention. It’s not exactly easy to try and craft rhymes around the names of films like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Octopussy, or Quantum of Solace; not to mention Spectre almost did have its title in the tune, but Radiohead’s entry just couldn’t find a way to win the day. Though even if the film’s title isn’t the one that makes the grade for the song’s name, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a way to get a title like The Spy Who Loved Me into the lyrics. Just ask Carly Simon, because “Nobody Does It Better” pulled that trick off rather well.
The timing of the release for No Time To Die’s big Billie Eilish single, and also the music video for said tune, both weren’t ideal windows of opportunity. With that music video hitting just before the April delay, some might think that the song is cursed. But nothing could be further from the truth, as having this tune to roll around in our heads is its own quantum of solace for the months long stretch ahead. And if you can’t get enough of it yourself, check out the performance that Billie Eilish and Finneas gave during their Jimmy Fallon guest spot, in the video below.
The clock counting down to No Time To Die has been set back a bit, with the film currently set to debut on April 2, 2021. But if that should change yet again, CinemaBlend will return to update you on when you’ll get to see the finale to Daniel Craig’s arc as James Bond.