Monday 6 September 2010

Don Black: ICON, Apparently

Great news for dreadful amateur songwriters out there last week: lyricist Don Black will have the title of "Icon" bestowed on him by the BMI at their annual awards next month!

Don Black is, as you're all aware, the man behind the words to some of the greatest Bond themes of our time. Let's have a look at some of his work in detail:

Tom Jones - Thunderball

A cautionary tale: "His needs are more so he gives less"? I tried that in Tesco once. I needed more fish fingers so I gave the lady on the checkout less money. When she asked me what I thought I was playing at I explained that it's how James Bond goes about achieving success and that they call him the winner who takes all. She quite rightly pointed out that nobody's ever called James Bond that and if he came in here and tried that shit she'd strike him in his Thunderballs.

Lulu - The Man With The Golden Gun

Be honest Don, when you wrote that you weren't concentrating were you? I bet you were watching Yugoslavia thumping Zaire 9-0 in the 1974 World Cup. Don't worry, I think you got away with it.

Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever

Don claims that Shirley Bassey added all those extra letters in but I think he fell asleep on his keyboard and was too embarrassed to admit his mistake.

Having said all that, Don - along with The Incredible Suit hero David Arnold - was responsible for the Bond theme that never was that absolutely should have been: "Surrender" by upper-case-phobic k.d.lang, which had to be content with slouching grumpily over the end credits of Tomorrow Never Dies when it was relegated in favour of Sheryl Crow's abysmadirge ("Darling I'm killed / I'm in a puddle on the floor").

k.d. lang - Surrender

All of which gives me a good excuse to shove up this clip from one of the greatest Bond documentaries ever made, available to watch in irritating chunks on YouTube at your leisure.

So congratumalations Donald! I always said you were the best at what it is that you do.

To congratumalate or ridicule The Don, click here


  1. 43 years ago Don Black and John Barry won an Oscar for 'Born Free' and in 1973 Don and Walter Scharf won a Golden Globe for 'Ben', so for the man with the golden pen the icon status has been a long time coming. He already has a place in the songwriters hall of fame.

    You may scoff at some of the words, but money pours into his bank account while he is fast asleep in bed. What a wonderful way to earn money.

    'Royalties are for me, for me, for me,
    For meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    For meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  2. Let's be fair it is pretty tricky to get some of those unwieldy and nonsensical Bond titles into song lyrics...I think the boy done good! I never think about the lyrics too much, the tunes are so good they distract me from them.