Quentin Tarantino slams ‘terrible’ James Bond theme Frank Sinatra pulled out of performing

Dame Shirley Bassey sings at Bruce Forsyth tribute

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After 60 years and 25 James Bond themes, some are certainly better than others. Dame Shirley Bassey has sung a record three to date and one of them Quentin Tarantino is not a fan of.

On his Video Archives podcast, Quentin Tarantino has recently reviewed 1979’s Moonraker. The James Bond movie starring Roger Moore, which rode the success of Star Wars by taking 007 to Space, was the franchise’s most successful for years but has often proven polarising among fans.

As the director debated the film’s highs and lows with his Pulp Fiction co-screenwriter Roger Avary, he didn’t hold back on the song. Moonraker’s Bond theme of the same name was originally set to be performed by Frank Sinatra.

Back in 1967, Sinatra had been approached by his friend, Bond producer Cubby Broccoli about singing the theme for You Only Live Twice, starring Sean Connery.

The crooner declined, but recommend his daughter Nancy Sinatra, who nailed it.

Nevertheless, Broccoli was still hoping the Rat Pack singer would perform a 007 track and convinced him to take on 1979’s Moonraker. 

Bond composer John Barry got to work on a demo, which Sinatra liked, however, he ended up pulling out with reports of a fight with the producer.


As a result, Johnny Mathis was offered the gig, but he was unhappy with the song and Kate Bush declined too as she was about to head off on tour.

With time swiftly running out, Bond theme composer John Barry offered the track to Bassey, who had already had Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever under her belt.

The singer was given very short notice and never saw the song as one of her own, having not had a chance to perform or promote it prior.  In the years since, she rarely performs the song live, unlike her other two much-loved 007 themes.

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The Moonraker song was all so last minute that it failed to have any real impact on the charts. On the Bond theme, Tarantino said: “Terrible…maybe the most tuneless of all the James Bond themes!”

Avery replied: “That’s what I thought. But for the last two days since we watched it, it’s been in my head!” The director added: “It’s given me a f***ing headache.” 

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