***From “One Hand Clapping (From A Different Angle)” Film***
“Live and Let Die” is the main theme song of the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die and was performed by Paul McCartney and Wings for the movie soundtrack and appears on the soundtrack album. The song was one of Wings’ most successful singles, and the most successful Bond theme to that point. Commissioned specifically for the movie and credited to Paul McCartney and his wife Linda, it reunited McCartney with Beatles producer George Martin, who both produced the song and arranged the orchestral break. It has been covered by several bands, with Guns N’ Roses’ version being the most popular. Both McCartney’s and Guns N’ Roses’ versions were nominated for Grammys.
After George Martin was hired to score the new James Bond film, Paul McCartney offered to compose the theme song, and Wings recorded a demo of “Live and Let Die”. However, Bond producer Harry Saltzman was interested in having an African American female artist perform it instead of Wings. Martin said that McCartney would only allow the song to be used in the movie if Wings were able to perform the song in the opening credits. Saltzman, who had previously rejected the chance to produce A Hard Day’s Night, decided not to make the same mistake twice and agreed. A second version of the song, performed by B. J. Arnau, also appears in the film. The Arnau version of the song appears on the soundtrack album as a component in a medley that also contains two George Martin-composed instrumental pieces, “Fillet of Soul – New Orleans” and “Fillet of Soul – Harlem”.
Wings recorded “Live and Let Die” during the sessions for the Red Rose Speedway album. The single reached #2 in the U.S. and #9 in the U.K. The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over one million copies. Although McCartney’s previous single, “My Love”, had been credited to “Paul McCartney & Wings”, the label of the “Live and Let Die” single credited the performing artist simply as “Wings.” On the soundtrack album, however, the song was credited to “Paul McCartney & Wings”, and was credited as such in the opening titles to the film. “Live and Let Die” was the last Paul McCartney single on Apple Records that was credited only to “Wings”.
“Live And Let Die” was not featured on a Paul McCartney album until the Wings Greatest compilation in 1978. The entire soundtrack was also released in quadrophonic.
“Live and Let Die” was the first James Bond theme song to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song (garnering Paul his second Academy Award nomination and Linda her first), but lost to the theme song from The Way We Were.
In Wings’ live performances of the song, the instrumental break featured flashpots and a laser light show. Paul has continued to play the song on his solo tours, often using pyrotechnics when playing outdoor venues. “Live And Let Die” is the only song to appear on all of McCartney’s live albums (barring the acoustic-based ‘Unplugged’.)
While the most famous version of the song remains Wings’ original recording, it was covered by the Stan Kenton big band in 1973. In 1986, it was covered by LA shock-rockers Lizzy Borden. In 1991, it was covered again by Guns N’ Roses. Hank Marvin did an instrumental version in 1993 on his album Heartbeat. The Mantovani Orchestra performed an instrumental version in 1994 on the album, The Many Moods of The Mantovani Orchestra. Due to its status as a Bond theme, it was also covered by The Pretenders and released on the album Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project. Geri Halliwell, of the Spice Girls, released the song as a b-side track for her solo number one single “Lift Me Up”, in November 1999. Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas performed the song on Movies Rock 2007, a CBS television special celebrating music in movies. A cover by singer Duffy appeared on the War Child charity’s 2009 album Heroes.
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the song was placed on Clear Channel’s list of inappropriate song titles.