Lyricist Don Black, who has written the title themes for several James Bond films over the years, will be honoured as a Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) Icon at the BMI London awards.
For Bond fans, Black is best known for his work on “Thunderball”, “Diamonds Are Forever”, “The Man with the Golden Gun”, “Surrender” (from Tomorrow Never Dies), “The World Is Not Enough” and “Only Myself To Blame” (from The World Is Not Enough). He’s on record saying his favourite is “Diamonds Are Forever”, however he once noted that “Surrender” was to him one of the best things he’d ever written. “I hate to say this really, but why not, you get to a certain stage in your life where you say what you feel, but I do think one of the best things I’ve written is “Surrender” from Tomorrow Never Dies that I wrote with David Arnold. It became the end-title and k.d. Lang sang it and it’s such a good piece. A lot of people have emailed me and said it should have been the title [song]. That sort of thing aggravates you because it was written for the front-title and then Sheryl Crow was brought in to write it. I mean… no hard feelings about it, but that is life.”
Following “Thunderball”, Black teamed up with John Barry again on the 1966 film Born Free for which he won an Academy Award for Best Song. It was later nominated for Song of the Year at the 1967 Grammy Awards where he ultimately lost to The Beatles’ John Lennon and Paul McCartney. He also worked with Lulu on “To Sir, with Love” (1967) and on “Ben” (1972) for Michael Jackson, both of which were number 1 hits in the US.
In 2007 Black was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He will be honoured yet again with the BMI Icon award in London on October 5.