'No Time to Die': how a Bond worthy soundtrack was created

From hiring Hans Zimmer as composer to getting the approval of Daniel Craig for a Billie Eilish track, the task wasn't smooth

Daniel Craig had a say in choosing the title track for 'No Time To Die'. Photo: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures
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The James Bond releases keep on coming.

A day after No Time to Die was released to critical acclaim, the film’s soundtrack is now available globally from Friday.

While the pulsating score by German composer Hans Zimmer fulfils the brief in heightening the film’s spectacular action sequences, the creation of the music featured a few dramas of its own.

Here are three trivia about the soundtrack of No Time to Die.

1. The theme song is approved by 007

The solitary vocal tune in the soundtrack is the titular track performed by Billie Eilish.

While the dramatic power ballad, with her trademark whispery vocals and sweeping strings, was acclaimed and won a Grammy Award in March, the recording process wasn’t so smooth.

The biggest obstacle to the song’s inclusion was 007 himself. Speaking to industry publication Music Week, co-music producer Stephen Lipson recalled how it took some time for actor Daniel Craig to be convinced of Eilish's efforts.

"From the start, quite understandably, he wasn’t all that sure that the song delivered the right emotional climax for his final Bond outing, so satisfying him was key," Lipson said.

"I sat Daniel in the chair between the speakers, hit play and waited for his response. When the song finished he didn’t look up but asked to hear it once more ... at the end of his second listening, he looked up at me and said something like, ‘That’s amazing.’ As soon as he’d approved it, the wheels were set in motion.”

2. The composer is not British

From Bond’s shiny Aston Martin to the thrilling music, the franchise is often a tribute to British ingenuity and culture.

However, this time around, producers took the rare step by going for some outside help for the film’s score.

Not that it was part of the plan.

After the film’s initial British director Danny Boyle left the job due to creative differences, filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga was drafted and he brought in his music collaborator and fellow American Dan Romer.

However, with the duo also clashing creatively, Fukunaga then relied on the trusted baton of Hans Zimmer.

The veteran German composer (Inception and Interstellar) has had a blockbuster year. As well as No Time to Die, you can also hear his stirring tunes in the new mega sci-fi film Dune.

Zimmer is also the fifth non-British composer to score a Bond film and joins US artists Marvin Hamlisch (The Spy Who Loved Me), Bill Conti (For Your Eyes Only), Michael Kamen (Licence to Kill) and Thomas Newman (Skyfall and Spectre).

3. A tribute to the past

Zimmer found some inspiration for No Time to Die from past Bond films and makes references to two tracks from 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

We Have all the Time in the World from 1969 features in the new track Matera, while Good to Have You Back conjures the title track of the Roger Moore film.

Updated: October 01, 2021, 6:57 AM