Her name first crept up as a possible contender for the Quantum of Solace title theme and now she’s back in the news again–this time because of a song James Bond fans have likely heard endless times.
Wales Online reports that the popular Welsh solo artist has been hand-picked by Paul McCartney to perform a cover of his 1973 hit Bond theme, ‘Live and Let Die’.
The song will be featured on an upcoming Heroes album in aid of the War Child charity. The concept behind the album involved some of pop and rock’s biggest songwriters, including Bob Dylan and U2, picking one of their own hits and nominating a favourite modern act to rework the song.
Said Sir Paul: ‘I think Duffy’s version of Live and Let Die is great–I was really impressed.’
Ben Knowles, music director of the charity and executive producer on the album, said the first person they approached for the album was Sir Paul McCartney who quickly responded with his nomination. ‘Sir Paul chose Duffy last spring before her rise to fame,’ he stated. ‘They met on her first appearance on Later with Jools Holland and he knew she was going to be a star.’
He continued: ‘Duffy has done a really stripped bare, northern soul version of the Bond theme song. It’s not just an exact replica of the song but her own personal interpretation of it and she has done a really brave reworking of one of the most played and instantly recognisable songs ever. I would be very surprised if this is the last Bond song she sings.’
‘Duffy’s most successful songs are laid back, quiet and melancholic whereas Live and Let Die is incredibly powerful.’
Knowles also weighed in on the comparisons between Duffy and another instantly recognizable 007 theme performer, Dame Shirley Bassey. ‘Wales has an incredible track record of doing Bond themes and here you have two powerful and individual Welsh voices doing a Bond song–you can’t help but compare both artists.’
I also think the album will bring different generations together–I can imagine children arguing with their parents about who sings Bond theme songs the best–Dame Shirley or Duffy.’
Lyn Davies, head of vocal studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, was a fan of Sir Paul’s choice. ‘Duffy has her own kind of style and she will lend the song a totally different style from what’s been done before,’ she said.
‘She has a unique voice that also harks back to previous eras. Sir Paul will have spotted her potential to create something new from his classic song–new wine in old bottles, if you like. She’s one in a very long line of Welsh vocalists in every field of vocal endeavour that is doing well and that’s great news.’
Jessica Morgan, managing director of Cardiff’s Space recording studios, also voiced her praise for the selection, stating: ‘Despite being a very demanding song to sing, Duffy has the guts in her voice to carry off Live and Let Die.’
Heroes, the fifth War Child album, which raises money to help children affected by conflict, was recorded over six months in studios in London, Manchester, Paris, Berlin, New York and Los Angeles and was mastered at Abbey Road studios in London. It is due for release on 16 February.
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