No Time To Die: the music featured in the new James Bond soundtrack
Hans Zimmer's score for the highly anticipated new James Bond film is packed full of thrills and spills. The music is definitely a case of shaken AND stirred...
After what feels like years, the new James Bond film is finally hitting cinemas. Covid-related cancellations and postponements have made No Time To Die feel like the most anticipated film of the decade. But will the film – and, more importantly, the music – live up to the hype?
Who wrote the score for No Time To Die?
Hans Zimmer is the composer behind the score for the 25th James Bond film. Of all his many other scores, 'Bond beats them all.' That's what Zimmer told reporters at the premiere of No Time to Die. 'The integrity with which they go at this movie. There's a reason it's been around this long. You're dealing with people who really respect what they're doing. To be asked [to score the film] is such an honour.'
'Daniel [Craig] was very involved,' says Zimmer. 'There's a responsibility that comes with [the role]. You want to treat it with great dignity and respect. It's the most iconic character anyone has ever written for.'
We recently named the best Hans Zimmer film scores of all time.
Billie does Bond...
The opening credits of No Time to Die features the new Bond song, performed by Billie Eilish. Her title track, No Time To Die, was written with her brother and regular collaborator Finneas O'Connell. When it was released in February 2020 – ahead of the initial planned release in April, which was postponed when the Covid-19 pandemic hit – it went straight to the Number 1 slot in the Official UK Singles Chart. This came after Billie Eilish performed the song at the BRIT Awards alongside Finneas on grand piano and backing vocals, and Hans Zimmer, who also played keys and conducted the accompanying orchestra.
Billie Eilish is the youngest artist to ever record a James Bond theme song at just 18. We recently named the best James Bond film theme tunes in history. Will Billie's make the cut?
Who worked with Hans Zimmer on the new Bond score?
The featured guitarist on the album is Johnny Marr, who is best known for his time in The Smiths in the 1980s, before he embarked on a solo career. He is a longtime collaborator with Zimmer, having performed on the scores for Inception and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, among others. He's also a regular in Zimmer's live shows.
Additional music on the album is provided by composer Steve Mazzaro, who has previously worked with Zimmer on the 2019 live-action remake of Disney's The Lion King.
But Hans Zimmer wasn't always meant to be the composer...
Dan Romer was initially announced as the composer of the new Bond score, but he left the team in November 2019 due to 'creative differences'. In January 2020, Hans Zimmer was revealed to be the new composer. This is the first time such a switch-up has taken place in Bond production – and wasn't the only creative change in the process. Danny Boyle was supposed to be the director, but stepped down in 2018, again citing 'creative differences' as the reason for his departure.
What does the new James Bond score actually sound like?
At the end of the day Bond is Bond, so to mess with a tried and tested formula is risky. As such, Zimmer stays pretty well within the lines set down by the likes of John Barry and David Arnold. The palette is huge, with orchestral players and featured soloists, plus the London Voices choir and the composers array of programmed sounds. Zimmer paints with massive and thrilling strokes, so expect breathtaking, pulsating chase sequences and more than a dash of sweeping action.
Does something sound familiar?
Every single Bond film includes Monty Norman's iconic 'Bond Theme', and this film is no exception. But Zimmer goes one step further, directly including John Barry's theme from On Her Majesty's Secret Service and its song 'We Have All The Time in the World'. Whether that has any bearing on the plot, we'll have to wait and see.
When will the soundtrack be released?
The No Time To Die original motion picture soundtrack was released on Decca Records on 1 October 2021.
Can you stream it?
Yep, the No Time to Die soundtrack is now available to stream on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify.
Where can you buy the soundtrack to No Time to Die?
The new Bond soundtrack is available to buy in CD and vinyl format from Amazon.
When can we see it on the big screen?
No Time To Die premiered in UK cinemas on 30 September and in the US on 8 October.
Who's performing on the soundtrack?
The soloists who appear on the album include electric guitarist Johnny Marr (The Smiths), trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, drummer Jason Bonham, Latin percussionist Luís Jardim, woodwind player Pedro Eustache, cellist Caroline Dale and flamenco guitarist Amir-John Haddad. The choir featured on the soundtrack is London Voices, a choral ensemble founded by Terry Edwards and co-directed by Ben Parry. The orchestra was led by Thomas Bowes and conducted by Matt Dunkley.
The full orchestra is listed below:
Morwenna Del Mar
Rachel Van Der Tang
Michael is the Reviews Editor of BBC Music Magazine. He was previously a freelance film music journalist and spent 15 years at St George's Bristol. Michael specialises in film and television music and was the Editor of MusicfromtheMovies.com. He has written for the BBC Proms, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, Hollywood in Vienna and Silva Screen Records.