Thunderball (2:51)

Cover of Greatest Hits

From Greatest Hits and 63 other releases

The original main title theme to Thunderball was entitled “Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” and composed by John Barry and Leslie Bricusse. The title was taken from an Italian journalist who in 1962 dubbed agent 007 as Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Barry had thought he couldn’t write a song about a vague “Thunderball” term or the story of the film, so his song was a description of the character of James Bond.

The song was originally recorded by Shirley Bassey, but was later re-recorded by Dionne Warwick. Both versions remained unreleased until the 1990s. The song was removed from the title credits after producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman worried that a theme song to a James Bond movie would not work well if the song did not have the title of the film in its lyrics. John Barry teamed up with lyricist Don Black to write “Thunderball” which was sung by Tom Jones (who, according to Bond production legend, fainted in the recording booth while singing the song’s final, high note). Jones said of the final note, “I closed my eyes and I held the note for so long when I opened my eyes the room was spinning.” Like “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, the lyrics of “Thunderball” are a description of Bond’s character.

Country musician Johnny Cash also submitted a song to EON productions titled “Thunderball” but it wasn’t used. The lyrics of Cash’s “Thunderball” describe the story of the film.

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