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"Skyfall" is the theme song to the 2012 film of the same name, performed by Adele. The film, which was the twenty-third James Bond film to be released, 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. 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!"
The track was co-written by Adele and producer Paul Epworth, and features orchestrations by J. A. C. Redford. "Skyfall" was set to be released on October 5, 2012, as part of the "James Bond Day" celebrations by Eon Productions; the day marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No. The song was also released at 0:07 BST on "James Bond Day" to coincide with the nickname of the titular character of the franchise, "Double-0-7" or "007."
The song, which originally was planned to be included on the film's soundtrack, was controversially removed from the soundtrack and therefore was released only as a digital single. An instrumental interpolation of the song was included on the soundtrack, however, titled "Komodo Dragon," composed by Thomas Newman. This, therefore, would make Adele, Epworth, and Redford co-writers for the instrumental as well.
On January 26, 2014, Adele received her tenth Grammy Award when she and Paul Epworth won the award for Best Song Written for Visual Media for "Skyfall."
Background and releaseEdit
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). 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 with Adele. Adele's involvement in the song was not officially confirmed by her until October 1, 2012, though, when she tweeted a picture of the sheet music for the song in her hand.
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 Hollywood.com, 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."
According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com, "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.
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. 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 afterwards 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."
The lyrics of "Skyfall" are intended to reflect the narrative of the film, rather than emphasise 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 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."
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."
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."
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."
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. "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."
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.
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 reactionEdit
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.||”|
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. 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. 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]." 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.
The film's opening credits, which are preceded by the first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie, are one of the customary things to look for in a Bond film. Adele's sequence featured Daniel Craig as Bond underwater with the film's Bond girl; in between the shots of Bond and his female counterpart are dark scenes including a cardboard version of Bond being shot down by bullets, flames, a red skull, and a disturbing graveyard. The press made a huge deal when the sequence hit the Internet. It has received positive reviews. It was created by Daniel Kleinman.
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. The performance was met with hugely positive reviews, and it was deemed her comeback performance to the music business following her pregnancy in late 2012.
Following the performance, it was rumored that this would be the only time Adele would ever sing the song live and that she plans to retire the song after this. 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 Edit
7" vinyl Edit
CD single Edit
There were four different versions of "Skyfall" released. The original version was the only one made internationally available. The other versions were the instrumental, the film version, and the radio edit. The radio edit was not made commercially available and was released exclusively onto a radio promo CD. The film version is not available for purchase and was exclusive for the film's release; it was most likely shortened due to time constraints. When Adele performed the song at the Oscars, she shortened it by performing the film version.
- Digital download
- Digital download
- "Skyfall" - 4:46
- UK CD/7" vinyl single
- UK CD/7" vinyl single
- "Skyfall" – 4:46
- "Skyfall" (Instrumental) – 4:46
- Radio Promo CD (not commercially available)
- Radio Promo CD (not commercially available)
- "Skyfall" (Radio Edit) – 4:01
- "Skyfall" – 4:46
The instrumental version of "Skyfall" is identical to the album version other than the fact that the vocals were removed from the track, obviously. The radio edit removes the orchestral opening and plays the opening piano chords only twice, instead of four times. Adele singing "At Skyfall..." in between the first chorus and second verse is removed.
The film version, however, is different from the original in several ways. It starts off with the orchestral opening and plays the opening chords only twice. The first chorus is also shortened by removing the repeat that it has in every other version of the song. Again, Adele singing "At Skyfall..." is cut. The background singing in the intro to the bridge is removed, and it is simply drums and some strings; this part is also shortened.
|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|
|Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)||15|
|Germany (Media Control AG)||1|
|Greece Digital Songs (Billboard)||1|
|Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)||1|
|Hungary (Single Top 20)||1|
|Israel (Media Forest)||1|
|Japan (Japan Hot 100)||20|
|Luxembourg Digital Songs (Billboard)||1|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||1|
|Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)||1|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||2|
|Poland (Polish Airplay Top 20)||5|
|Portugal Digital Songs (Billboard)||2|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||3|
|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|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||16|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50) Wallonia)||8|
|Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)||13|
|Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)||38|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||8|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||20|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||50|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)||20|
|Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)||46|
|Canada (Music Canada)||4× Platinum||320,000^|
|Denmark (IFPI Denmark)||Platinum||30,000^|
|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
- 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
- ↑ http://www.digitalspy.com/music/news/a408575/adeles-james-bond-theme-is-best-in-my-lifetime-says-ryan-tedder.html
- ↑ http://www.kovideo.net/adele-to-record-james-bond-skyfall-theme-song-news-adele-6227.html
- ↑ http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/2012/09/adele-performing-theme-song-next-james-bond-film
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6hPzQUSUok (8:40)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyfall_(song)
- ↑ http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=27406
- ↑ http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtdFPE.asp?ppn=MN0110253&mnuid=2TYMGL0M5BWT4DU6K54CP7C5U7WQ035810DG1358
- ↑ http://www.hollywood.com/news/movies/46108272/golden-globe-nominated-producer-says-adele-recorded-skyfall-vocals-in-10-minutes
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21570148
- ↑ http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/culture/2012/10/6537827/adeles-skyfall-its-heavy-debt-shirley-bassey-might-not-have-been-cam
- ↑ http://globalgrind.com/music/adeles-skyfall-greatest-james-bond-theme-songs-all-time-videos
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/daniel-craig-adele-skyfall-theme_n_2010581.html
- ↑ http://www.entertainmentwise.com/news/96358/Daniel-Craig-Loved-Adeles-Skyfall-Song-So-Much-He-Got-Her-Bond-Baby-Presents
- ↑ http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/daniel-craig-wants-adele-to-sing-1521068
- ↑ http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/4822322/adele-to-sing-her-second-james-bond-theme-tune.html
- ↑ http://www.hitfix.com/news/will-the-2013-oscars-be-the-only-time-adele-performs-skyfall
- ↑ https://www.discogs.com/Adele-Skyfall/release/3956459