The Bond song won it. #Austria #EurovisionWhen Austrian drag-artist Conchita Wurst won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest last week with 'Rise Like a Pheonix, I tweeted, “The Bond song won it.” Looking at the response on Twitter, it seems I wasn't the only one who thought her entry sounded Bondian. Stephe Meloy said, “Welcome home Ms Bond”, while Pop Topoi asked, “Would you like to be the next Bond girl?” Kevin Brennan MP thought that, “They should sign her up to sing the next Bond theme,” and BBC One tweeted, “Conchita Wurst for the next James Bond theme! She has a licence to thrill.” There were many more tweets expressing a similar sentiment.
— Edward Biddulph (@bondmemes) May 10, 2014
Conchita's song has the hallmarks of a classic Bond song. It's majestic, bold, orchestral, and dramatic – the same qualities that characterise other Bond themes, particularly Adele's 'Skyfall', but including 'Surrender', by k d lang, and all three of Shirley Bassey's songs ('Diamonds Are Forever', 'Moonraker', and the genre-defining 'Goldfinger').
The 'Bassey-esque' number isn't the only model for writers penning songs to accompany the titles to Bond films. Rockier-sounding tunes, among them 'Live and Let Die' (Paul McCartney), 'A View To A Kill' (Duran Duran), and 'You Know My Name' (Chris Cornell), offer another important type of Bond song. As with dramatic ballads, the type is well established as a model for Bond music, as is evident from a press release by US rockers Colourmusic, whose latest album, May You Marry Rich, contains several tracks which the band describes as their 'James Bond songs'. The video for one of the tracks, 'Horse Race' (below), was also Bond-inspired.
That many people recognised elements or memes of Bond songs in Conchita's winning Eurovision entry is a measure of the extent to which the Bond sound has escaped the films and become established as a genre and cultural phenomenon in its own right. Indeed, it could be argued that Bond songs can exist even without the Bond films to go with them.