Frank Sinatra Turned Down a James Bond Theme Song and Gave It to His Daughter, Nancy Sinatra

Frank Sinatra gave the world many classic songs. Despite this, he turned down the opportunity to sing the theme song of the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. The singer who performed the track had a difficult time recording it.

Frank Sinatra gave the theme song to the James Bond movie ‘You Only Live Twice’ to a 1960s icon

Most of the 007 movies feature title songs. According to Screen Rant, Sinatra didn’t want to record the song for You Only Live Twice. Instead, he secured the job for his daughter, Nancy Sinatra. Nancy is most known for her classic hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.”

According to the book The Music of James Bond, Nancy discussed recording “You Only Live Twice.” “I remember being so nervous,” she recalled. “First of all, I hate to fly. I dragged my sister along — she wanted to go to London — so I wasn’t by myself, at least. But I was really scared going there because I knew it was nitty-gritty hardcore singing.”

Frank Sinatra’s daughter was a ‘total wreck’ when she was singing the title song for ‘You Only Live Twice’

Nancy said “You Only Live Twice” called for a more serious vocal performance than her previous material. “This wasn’t pretend singing, personality-on-record and silliness the way I was doing some of the songs,” she said. When I walked into the studio itself, it felt like 200 musicians … it was like a symphony orchestra.”

Nancy was really upset when she recorded “You Only Live Twice.” “By the time I was actually standing behind the three-sided baffle to protect the sounds from my mic from the other sounds of the orchestra I was a wreck, a total wreck,” she remembered. “[James Bond producer Albert Broccoli] was sitting in that booth, and I’ve known him since I was born.”

Nancy said John Barry, the song’s co-writer, was cognizant of her feelings. “John finally noticed my nerves,” he said. “I think I tried to squeak two or three takes; I sounded like Minnie Mouse.”

The way audiences reacted to the song

“You Only Live Twice” became a minor hit in the United States. It peaked at No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track stayed on the chart for seven weeks.

“You Only Live Twice” became far more popular in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company reports the tune reached No. 11 in the U.K., remaining on the chart for 19 weeks. The song appeared on the album The Essential Nancy Sinatra. The Essential Nancy Sinatra hit No. 73 on the chart for one week.

“You Only Live Twice” had an impact beyond its time on the charts. Shirley Bassey, Coldplay, and Soft Cell each covered the track. Robbie Williams sampled it for his track “Millenium.” “You Only Live Twice” is a classic song even if Frank wasn’t keen on recording it.

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