Adele Wiki
Adele - Skyfall (Cover)
Single by Adele
B-side “Skyfall” (Instrumental)
Released October 5, 2012
Recorded 2012; Abbey Road Studios
Genre Orchestral pop
Length 4:46
Label XL Recordings
Writer(s) Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth
Producer(s) Paul Epworth[1]
Adele singles chronology
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"Turning Tables" "Hello"

“Skyfall” is the theme song to the 2012 film of the same name, performed by Adele. The film, which was the twenty-third installment in the James Bond cinematic franchise, was released in October and November of 2012 in the UK and US, respectively. In 2011, Adele agreed to record the movie’s theme song, and she was even spotted at Abbey Road Studios sometime in early September, where the score for Skyfall was being created by composer Thomas Newman.[2] Adele hinted at working on the song in April 2011, when she revealed on The Jonathan Ross Show that she had to go into the studio in November to record a “theme” before adding, “Wow, that’s really giving something away!”[3]

The track was co-written by Adele and producer Paul Epworth, and features orchestrations by J. A. C. Redford.

“Skyfall” was released at 0:07 BST on October 5, 2012 as part of the Global James Bond Day, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No, the first James Bond film. The song received universal acclaim from music critics and was a commercial success upon its release. It reached #1 in 11 countries and the top five in various regions. It peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart and #8 on the US Billboard Hot 100. With sales of 7.2 million copies worldwide, “Skyfall” is one of the best-selling digital singles of all time.

“Skyfall” received various accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Original Song, Brit Award for British Single of the Year, Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Song, Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media, thus making it the first Bond theme to win all the aforementioned awards. During the 85th Academy Awards, Adele performed the song live for the first time.

The song was originally intended to be released on the film’s soundtrack, but was ultimately omitted and only received a standalone single release. However, an instrumental interpolation of the song was included on the soundtrack, titled “Komodo Dragon,” composed by Thomas Newman. “Skyfall” was released on The Best of Bond compilation album on November 20, 2020, marking the first time the song appeared on an official James Bond soundtrack release.[4]

Background and release[]

Adele revealed that, although she initially refused to do the song, upon learning that Skyfall was the twenty-third Bond film, she became more willing to do it, being that she was 23 at the time as well (similar to how her first two albums, 19 and 21, were titled after the ages she was when she wrote them).[5] After reading the script for the film, Adele enlisted Paul Epworth to co-write and produce the theme song to “Skyfall.” Adele admits, “I was a little hesitant at first to be involved with the theme song for Skyfall. There’s a lot of instant spotlight and pressure when it comes to a Bond song. But I fell in love with the script and Paul had some great ideas for the track and it ended up being a bit of a no-brainer to do it in the end. It was also a lot of fun writing to a brief, something I’ve never done which made it exciting. When we recorded the strings, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I’ll be back combing my hair when I’m 60 telling people I was a Bond girl back in the day, I’m sure!” The song was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, and features a 77-piece orchestra.

The single’s official release date was Friday, October 5, 2012, although snippets of the song were leaked ahead of time. Ryan Tedder, who helped Adele co-write and produce her songs “Rumour Has It” and “Turning Tables,” also confirmed that he had heard the song and loved it, and that Paul Epworth worked on the track. However, Adele’s involvement in the song was not officially confirmed by her until October 1, 2012, when she tweeted a picture of the sheet music for the song in her hand.[6]

Adele and Epworth had faced many challenges during the writing of the song. Director Sam Mendes told Yahoo that at first, Adele wasn’t quite sure how to go about composing the movie theme. He explained: “She came in very early before we started shooting and her main concern was, ‘I write songs about myself, how can I make a Bond song?’ My answer was, ‘Just write a personal song!’ Carly Simon’s ‘Nobody Does It Better’ was a love song.”

Speaking with, Paul Epworth said that finding the right sound for “Skyfall” was a particular challenge. “[The producers] said they wanted a dramatic ballad basically,” he explained. “With having read the script and trying to set the whole thing up in that context, where it happens in the film, there was really only one thing it could be. It was interesting to want to do something that was simultaneously dark and final, like a funeral, and to try and turn it into something that was not final. A sense of death and rebirth.”[7]


According to the sheet music published at, “Skyfall” is written in common time in the key of C minor with a tempo of 76 beats per minute. The song follows the chord progression Cm – A – Fm7 for six measures, followed by Cm/D – Gsus4 – G. Adele’s vocals range from G3 to C5.[8]

In discussing the composition of the song, Paul Epworth described the inclusion of Monty Norman’s “James Bond Theme” in the harmonies and chord progression as a conscious decision.[9]  Epworth watched the first thirteen Bond films, seeking the “musical code” of the songs, which he identified as “a minor ninth as the harmonic code... the Bond songs, they have that elaboration to it,” and wrote what would become the instrumental part of “Skyfall.” He later called Adele, and the two went to the studio, where in ten minutes Adele performed the first draft of the verse and chorus. The definitive recording took, in Adele’s words, “two studio sessions.”[10]

The lyrics of “Skyfall” are intended to reflect the narrative of the film, rather than emphasize romanticism. Some critics have noted that the song’s themes focus more on loyalty, one of the key themes of the film, as well as having an apocalyptic feel. Daphne Carr of Capital New York even suggested that the song “frame[s] the story of a lover’s pact (no genders specified) to meet the apocalypse together.”[11]


Critical reception[]

Critical reactions to the release of the song were positive. Entertainment Weekly wrote "Finally! A great James Bond theme!" Huffington Post described the song as a "brassy and soulful tune [that] fits perfectly alongside the work of Shirley Bassey in the oeuvre of James Bond title tracks." RedEye gave the song four out of four stars and declared that the song "is a return to form, and if it doesn't get you hyped for the movie, you're not a Bond fan." Scottish Daily Record named the song its 'Single of the Week' and gave the song five stars out of five. PopCrush gave the song four-and-a-half stars out of five and called the song "wholly satisfying and worth the wait." Idolator wrote that "during the song’s final third, Adele does, in fact, make the sky fall, in typical Adele fashion." Consequence of Sound commented that "rousing instrumentation elevates the vocals to soaring heights." Hitfix called the song a "majestic ballad" and a "classic James Bond theme."[6]

The Los Angeles Times complimented the song and said that the song "tells good things for this winter's blockbuster-to-be. It's not a reimagining or a musical departure, but simply a righting of the ship. The song is big, bold and seems to have a little spot-o-fun." MTV was also positive, stating that "Adele's lush song fits right in with classics by Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney and Carly Simon." The Wall Street Journal felt similarly, writing that the song "has sweep and drama, [with] orchestral support [that] gives it a classical timelessness that sets it apart from typical pop songs. Because it is a theme for a Bond film, after all, the song is also shot through with the threat of violence and death." E! Online wrote that Adele's song was "a cross, and a good one at that, between the 1971 Bassey classic and a more-focused version of Garbage's 'The World Is Not Enough.'" The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the song "instantly feels like a Bond theme, with the singer's sultry voice set against a minor chord progression. Done in big, orchestral style, the mood -- like the singer -- is all 1960s throwback, back when Bond themes like "Goldfinger" were smooth, seductive and larger than life."[6]

Some other reviews were positive, but more critical. Jim Farber of the New York-based Daily News wrote in his review: "It suffers from a similarly meandering melody and ponderous progression. The grandeur of its arrangement easily upstages the tune" but "Even so, the luster of Adele's tone, and the bravura arc of her vocal, makes it enjoyable enough. And, fifty years down the line, isn't that all we really expect from a Bond product these days?" Yahoo!'s Rob O'Connor gave the standalone song a positive review, but felt that it was too soon to tell how the song would fit into the wider canon of James Bond theme songs. Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph was less-complimentary, describing the song as "classy", but at the same time, "overly predictable."[6]

The Huffington Post proclaimed the song one of the Top 40 songs of 2012.

The song was also ranked at #10 on the list of the 10 Best James Bond Theme Songs. A poll on the same website below the list also showed that most people liked "Skyfall" better than the other James Bond themes listed.[12] "Skyfall" has been referred to as the best Bond theme of all-time by some. Some have compared it to Shirley Bassey's Bond theme, "Goldfinger."

Commercial performance[]

The song went to number one on iTunes online store less than twelve hours after it was released, surpassing the previous UK number one, "Diamonds" by Rihanna, and two US number ones, Taylor Swift's "Red" and PSY's "Gangnam Style."

At 6 a.m. on October 5, Clear Channel began airing "Skyfall" on 180 radio stations around the United States at the top of every hour. Within 24 hours, "Skyfall" had garnered 10 million audience impressions and had already begun to rank within the Top 50 of the Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems-based Radio Songs chart. It is Adele's first song to debut within the Top 10 of Billboard's top 100 as it landed at #8 with only about 3 days of sales.[6]

On October 7, "Skyfall" entered the UK Singles Chart at number 4 after less than 48 hours on sale. The single sold 84,000 copies in the UK during its first two days of release.

As of March 2013, Skyfall has sold over 1.7 million copies in the United States.

Daniel Craig's reaction[]

Daniel Craig, who stars as Bond in the franchise, admitted to crying listening to the song:

I cried. From the opening bars I knew immediately, then the voice kicked in and it was exactly what I'd wanted from the beginning. It just got better and better because it fitted the movie. In fact the more of the movie we made, the more it fitted it.[13]

He also showered Adele with Bond related gifts and baby goodies. They included an Aston Martin car in miniature—an exact replica of the one Daniel drove—and some Tom Ford designer babygros for her son. Besides these presents, he gifted her exclusive framed photographs (from the set of Skyfall), a set of Martini glasses and an Omega watch. He also sent her a hand-written letter with the gifts.[14] Due to the success of the film and the song, Daniel Craig had insisted that he wanted Adele to return to sing the theme song again, being that he loved "Skyfall" so much.[15] A source added, “Producers are thrilled by how well the song has been received and hope Adele’s presence on the next film will replicate that success. They want her to become as synonymous with Bond as Dame Shirley [Bassey]."[16] Despite reports that she would be involved with the film's sequel, Spectre, she declined to record the song's theme, which was instead written and recorded by Sam Smith.

Live performances[]

Adele performed "Skyfall" for the first time live at the 85th Annual Academy Awards, for which "Skyfall" was also nominated; this is the first time a Bond theme has been nominated for an Oscar since 1982.

Following the performance, it was rumored that this would be the only time Adele would ever sing the song live and that she planned to retire the song after this.[17] Despite these claims, she performed it again during her Adele at the BBC and Adele Live in New York City television specials. It was also included in the setlist of the Adele Live 2016 tour.

Single artwork[]

7" vinyl[]

CD single[]


There were four different versions of “Skyfall” released — the full version, the instrumental, the radio edit and the film version. The full edit was the only one made internationally available, while the instrumental version was included on most CD and vinyl pressings of the single.

The radio edit was not made available for purchase and was released exclusively onto a radio promo CD, while the version used in the film was exclusive to a “For Your Consideration” CD sent to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when “Skyfall” was submitted for the Oscar for Best Original Song.[18] Despite not being made commercially available, Adele often performs this version of the song live.

Digital download
No. Title         Length
1. “Skyfall” 4:46
UK CD/7" vinyl single
No. Title Length
1. “Skyfall” 4:46
2. “Skyfall” (Instrumental) 3:32
Radio Promo CD
No. Title Length
1. “Skyfall” (Radio Edit) 4:01
2. “Skyfall” (Full Version) 4:46
“For Your Consideration” CD
No. Title Length
1. “Skyfall” (Film Version) 3:54


Weekly charts[]

Chart (2012–13) Peak


Australia (ARIA) 5
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia) 1
Brazil (Billboard Brasil Hot 100) 25
Brazil Hot Pop Songs 3
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 3
Czech Republic (IFPI) 1
Denmark (Tracklisten) 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 15
France (SNEP) 1
Germany (Media Control AG) 1
Greece Digital Songs (Billboard) 1
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40) 1
Hungary (Single Top 20) 1
Ireland (IRMA) 1
Israel (Media Forest) 1
Italy (FIMI) 1
Japan (Japan Hot 100) 20
Luxembourg Digital Songs (Billboard) 1
Mexico (AMPROFON) 21
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 1
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)  1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 2
Norway (VG-lista) 7
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 20) 5
Portugal Digital Songs (Billboard) 2
Scotland (Official Charts Company) 3
Slovakia (IFPI) 5
South Korea (Gaon International Chart) 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 2
US Billboard Hot 100 8
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) 11
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard) 14
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard) 10
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard) 37

Year-end charts[]

Chart (2012) Position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 16
Belgium (Ultratop 50) Wallonia) 8
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 13
France (SNEP) 5
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40) 38
Netherlands (Single Top 100) 8
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 20
Chart (2013) Position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 50
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia) 20
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40) 46


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA) Gold 35,000^
Belgium (BEA) Platinum 30,000*
Canada (Music Canada) 4× Platinum 320,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark) Platinum 30,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat) Gold 5,214
Germany (BVMI) Platinum 300,000^
Italy (FIMI) 2× Platinum 60,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON) 3× Platinum+Gold 210,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ) Gold 7,500*
United Kingdom (BPI) Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA) Platinum 2,000,000

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone



  • Adele – songwriting, lead vocals, backing vocals
  • Paul Epworth – songwriting, producer, choir arrangement, orchestral arrangement, percussion
  • J.A.C. Redford – orchestral arrangement, orchestrator
  • Metro Voices – choir
  • Isobel Griffiths – orchestra contractor
  • Charlotte Matthews – assistant orchestra contractor
  • Thomas Bowes – orchestra leader
  • Jenny O'Grady – choir master
  • Tom Herbert – bass
  • Leo Taylor – drums
  • James Reid – guitar
  • Nikolai Torp Larsen – piano
  • Simon Rhodes – recording
  • Matt Wiggins – engineer
  • Tom Coyne – mastering engineer
  • Tom Elmhirst – mixer
  • Joe Hartwell Jones, Pete Hutchington – production assistants


This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again

For this is the end
I’ve drowned and dreamt this moment
So overdue I owe them
Swept away I’m stolen

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
And face it all together
At Skyfall

At Skyfall

Skyfall is where we start
A thousand miles and poles apart
Where worlds collide and days are dark
You may have my number
You can take my name
But you’ll never take my heart

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
And face it all together

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At Skyfall

Where you go I go
What you see I see
I know I'd never be me
Without the security

Of your loving arms
Keeping me from harm
Put your hand in my hand
And we'll stand

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At Skyfall

Let the sky fall
We will stand tall
At Skyfall

External links[]


  4. Adele Daily on Twitter: "Adele is featured on “The Best Of Bond” that will be released on November 20. The new album is a compilation from every James Bond movie, including “Skyfall”." / Twitter
  5. (8:40)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4