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Amy Winehouse Still Tops Bond Composer David Arnold’s 007 Wishlist

Photo of Matt Mueller By Matt Mueller | Thompson on Hollywood July 8, 2011 at 1:11AM

David Arnold, who’s scored every James Bond movie since 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, spoke to Matt Mueller shortly before a Memorial Concert in honour of legendary franchise composer John Barry at London’s Royal Albert Hall:David Arnold knows who he’d love to sing the next 007 theme tune: Amy Winehouse. The British composer is a massive fan of her jazzy vocals and spent two days with the singer when she was being courted to sing the title track to Quantum Of Solace. Winehouse’s personal problems prevented her from taking the gig but, although recent headlines suggest the substance-abuse demons haven’t gone away, Arnold feels she’d make the perfect Bond chanteuse. “She’s absolutely the real deal and the problems she has are part of that genius,” he says. “Of course, until you read the script it’s impossible to say who would be right and you’d consider any of the current great female vocalists, like Adele, Beyonce, Lady Gaga… But if Amy was in a position to be back to full fighting strength, she would be fantastic.” UPDATE: Alas, Arnold's wishes will never be. Winehouse succumbed to her demons on July 24, found dead at her London home at age 27.
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Thompson on Hollywood

David Arnold, who’s scored every James Bond movie since 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, spoke to Matt Mueller shortly before a Memorial Concert in honour of legendary franchise composer John Barry at London’s Royal Albert Hall:


David Arnold knows who he’d love to sing the next 007 theme tune: Amy Winehouse. The British composer is a massive fan of her jazzy vocals and spent two days with the singer when she was being courted to sing the title track to Quantum Of Solace. Winehouse’s personal problems prevented her from taking the gig but, although recent headlines suggest the substance-abuse demons haven’t gone away, Arnold feels she’d make the perfect Bond chanteuse. “She’s absolutely the real deal and the problems she has are part of that genius,” he says. “Of course, until you read the script it’s impossible to say who would be right and you’d consider any of the current great female vocalists, like Adele, Beyonce, Lady Gaga… But if Amy was in a position to be back to full fighting strength, she would be fantastic.” UPDATE: Alas, Arnold's wishes will never be. Winehouse succumbed to her demons on July 24, found dead at her London home at age 27.

The Albert Hall concert was also attended by two-time 007 Timothy Dalton and Dame Shirley Bassey, who might be 74 but brought the house down with lung-busting renditions of her signature theme tunes, "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Goldfinger."

Arnold, whose own Bond scores are infused by Barry’s spirit, says he’s still in the dark about whether he’ll be scoring the next film, Bond 23, which is due to go into production later this year with Sam Mendes at the helm. “Every director has to make their own decision about who they want to work with,” he says. “Every new film, I have to audition the same as anyone else.”

With Barry setting the theme-tune bar so high, Arnold is still in awe of their iconic status – and wonders whether they can ever be bettered. “Will I ever write a song as good as ‘Goldfinger’? Probably not. Will there ever be a Bond song as exciting and surprising as ‘Goldfinger’ again? Probably not. John pretty much did it all and the rest of us are swimming around in the wake of his achievements ever since…”

This article is related to: Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Production , Thriller, Action, Sound and Score


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.