Skyfall (song)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
publication Oct. 5, 2012 (Download)
Oct. 26, 2012
(CD and vinyl single DE)
Oct. 29, 2012
(CD and vinyl single GB)
length 4:46
Genre (s) Pop , soul , film music , James Bond song
Author (s) Adele & Paul Epworth
Producer (s) Paul Epworth
Label XL , Columbia
Award (s) Oscar , Golden Globe , BRIT Award , Grammy

Skyfall (spelling in the logo as SkyFall , from English sky 'sky' and fall 'fall') is the theme song of the film of the same name from 2012, written by the singer Adele together with her producer Paul Epworth . The play was presented to the public on October 5, 2012 as part of International James Bond Day - exactly 50 years earlier, the premiere of the first James Bond film, 007 Dr. No instead. Skyfall was the first Bond song ever to be awarded an Oscar and received, among other things, the Golden Globe Award and the Grammy . With over 7 million copies, it is one of the best-selling pieces of music ever.


After the last two James Bond theme songs, You Know My Name and Another Way to Die, focused on the electric guitar, Skyfall was recorded with a 77-piece orchestra . The ballad begins with a dark chord of wind instruments and violins followed by a piano - figure along the cadenza from the James Bond theme - Bond's musical identity for 50 years . From the second half of the first verse , this motif is also supported by the electric guitar . Then the chorus kicks in with the drums . The structure follows the classic American pop songs ( ballad form ). The reduced melody line is skilfully syncopated and Adele only varies it cautiously. The song increases its intensity with a massive orchestral arrangement (including choir entry from the second chorus), which finally culminates in an 11-second “at Skyfall” - again based on the Bond cadenza that runs through the entire composition. The orchestral chord from the intro concludes the piece.

In contrast to the last theme songs, Skyfall follows the plot of the accompanying film more specifically - Adele and Epworth wanted to write a romantic ballad based on the script. Epworth himself describes the song as "dark and atmospheric" with a "feel of both burial and rebirth". Adele sings from the point of view of a person facing a major threat after personal mistakes, which M's situation in the film reflects. In doing so, she seeks support from someone who has protected her for a long time - possibly by force of arms ("... your loving arms keeping me from harm. Put your hand in my hand and we'll stand"). Other lines refer directly to the experiences of Bond himself, who first has to find his way back to reality after drowning (“I drownded and dreamed this moment”). The inevitable meeting takes place in Skyfall (“When it crumbles we will stand tall together at Skyfall”). This also shows the ambiguity of the title. It can be found in the text as a play on words (“Let the sky fall”), place and event - the same meanings as in the film context. Particularly noteworthy is the first line of text. The title song always introduces the main story after a prologue and yet Adele begins the piece with “This is the end”. After all, at this point in time, Bond is also at the end of a failed operation. But one can also see the line as a foretaste of M's fate.

The song is in four-four time and key C minor written and 76 beats per minute recorded. This is followed by the chord progression Cm - As - Fm 7 (in the intro and extro F 7 ) for six bars, followed by Cm / D - G sus4 - G. Adele's voice extends over more than an octave from G 3 to C 5 . While the singer sometimes switches to falsetto in the chorus , the song corresponds to a rather low voice range as Adele was heavily pregnant at the time of the recording . Because of this, she later found it difficult to perform the song on stage. The text has regular pile rhymes .


Choice of artist

Adele , the interpreter of the title song

Due to financial problems of the production company MGM , the break between Quantum of Solace  and Skyfall was exceptionally long. Nonetheless, many decisions were made during this time and the course was set in order to be able to go into production as quickly as possible. This included, for example, the commitment of Sam Mendes , the script and the title. Accordingly, the first rumors about the iconic theme song of the film series date before the official announcement of the title and crew for the start of production in November 2011. Leading actor Daniel Craig , who has also brought director Sam Mendes to Skyfall, has the American southern rock band Kings of Leon asked to contribute to this film. However, despite repeated requests, the band refused. The regular composer of the film series David Arnold,  in turn, has publicly proposed The Killers , Queen and Lady Gaga for a title piece. Arnold is not involved in Skyfall for the first time in 15 years, Sam Mendes brought his regular composer Thomas Newman with him. The British Guardian also circulated rumors that the producers had asked Noel Gallagher for a song. However, he clearly denied it in his blog after learning about it. The offer of the Arctic Monkeys front man Alex Turner to compose the title song remained without much response .

According to some online surveys, the British rock band Muse was a fan favorite for the background music for the Skyfall opening credits. The first title Supremacy of their album The 2nd Law , which was released shortly in autumn 2012, contains clear references to the James Bond theme . They had previously expressed interest in a James Bond song, but have not yet submitted their own proposal.

What is striking, however, is that, compared to the previous James Bond films, extremely few rumors about the title artist have circulated. They focused on the British singer Adele very early on . On the one hand, the sales of her album broke 21 records, on the other hand, stylistically it is not dissimilar to Shirley Bassey , who defined the Bond song with Goldfinger . In September, before the film title Skyfall was announced , she was a guest on Jonathan Ross's talk show , where she said she would go to the studio in November to record a “subject”. She explicitly did not deny a connection with the 23rd James Bond film, which was still untitled at the time. In a later interview with the French radio station NRJ  , she reiterated that in 2012 only one single "towards the end of the year" was planned. However, the film producer Barbara Broccoli emphasized in November 2011 that several artists were still being considered at that time. In April 2012, she and lead actor Daniel Craig made public hints about Adele. In mid-September she was finally spotted at Abbey Road Studios , where work on the film music was taking place at the same time.

Until the official announcement of the song, however, only a little bit of information from those involved had reached the public. A technician involved confirmed the existence of a finished and sung title piece for the film in early September. Tinie Tempah's remark at the 2011 Mercury Prize ceremony that Adele had been contacted went completely unnoticed . One of her co-authors, Ryan Tedder , and her PR advisor Paul Moss also tweeted about their involvement - but the tweets were quickly deleted. Even Epworth himself hinted at the theme song.

Meanwhile, Roger Friedman confirmed Adele as the title interpreter on the Showbiz411 portal, without citing any evidence or official sources. The article has since been recorded by many well-known film portals and (incorrectly) taken as an official confirmation. This led to the curious situation that the renowned British betting company William Hill was already distributing betting winnings without Adele being officially confirmed. Friedman published two more reports in which he "confirmed" the involvement of producer and co-writer Paul Epworth as well as a few lines of text in advance. The title Let the Sky Fall , which he adopted , turned out to be false, but all other information he published is true.

Composition and recording

Adele has always been the first choice for the theme song. Amy Winehouse was also considered again after Quantum of Solace , but she died unexpectedly six months before production began. Adele herself was very proud to be asked for a "dramatic ballad". At the same time, she treated the task with great respect. Her interest was only aroused when she accepted the script and an initial idea from her co-author and regular producer Paul Epworth. On the first song sketches, she sang the verse and chorus within ten minutes. She and Epworth then worked four months to refine the song.

The first recordings were planned for November 2011, but had to be postponed to May of the following year due to Adele's neck operation. The rest of the track was recorded in the traditional Abbey Road Studios with a 77-piece orchestra. Epworth sought advice from film composer Thomas Newman to direct it . But he was so busy with his own task that he passed the orchestral arrangement of the title song on to his orchestrator J. A. C. Redford . Thanks to the long pre-production, the recordings could be completed quickly.


The first sign of imminent confirmation was not found until September 28, when a member of the James Bond fansite MI6-hq discovered the single cover in an open folder directory on the official James Bond website Finally, three days later, a picture was uploaded via Adele's official Twitter channel showing the music portfolio that was used for the studio recording. A press release was published shortly thereafter. The song premiered on Friday, October 5, 2012 on Adele's homepage at 12:07 a.m. London time. The day marked the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond film, James Bond - 007 Dr. No declared a worldwide bond day. At the same time, it was made available on most music download portals. A few hours earlier, however, a Dutch radio broke the press embargo and played the song before it was scheduled for publication. A CD and vinyl single was released in Germany on October 26th and three days later in Great Britain. On the soundtrack album for Skyfall , the song - as previously only You Know My Name - does not exist. It is not known whether this can be explained by profane memory limitations on a CD or by special requirements on the part of Adele's management.

During the first day of sales, Skyfall climbed to the top of the iTunes charts in around 50 countries . In the meantime the song reached the top of the single charts in Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway. In the UK it climbed to second place and pulled so that the hitherto highest placed Bond song A View to a Kill by Duran Duran came right in the US Skyfall at No. 8. Since the song was released on a Friday, to have the high sales on the first days spread over two measurement weeks.

Skyfall was released directly along with a music video . There the lyrics are animated against a foggy or burning background. Each “Skyfall” appears in the form of the official film logo, while the normal font has less texture. Since the birth of her first child was imminent, Adele did not appear in the video and did not comment publicly. Apart from a few interviews with co-author Epwort, there was hardly any further press work. At the Oscar ceremony in 2013 celebrated Skyfall just before it was awarded its stage premiere. Earlier in the same event, Shirley Bassey performed the James Bond song Goldfinger as part of a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series. In 2016, Adele Donald Trump banned the use of the piece in his election campaign.


The reactions to Skyfall have been mostly positive. Many were relieved to see a return to a classic James Bond ballad. The dramatic and rich orchestral arrangement as well as Adele's vocal performance in the face of a demanding melody was particularly emphasized. Critical voices would have liked a bolder song and a more complex composition.

"This is introduced by a dark piano playing [sic!], Then Adele's voice rises above everything. [...] The British artist sees herself perfectly cast here [...] She gets to the point"

“[The song] can certainly be measured against its predecessors [...]. An instrumental firework of winds, strings and a whole choir underline the drama of the song "

- star

"A hit like from the great days of Sean Connery and Roger Moore: [...] Adele's title [is] an homage to the great Bond songs of the sixties and seventies"

"[ Skyfall ] is certainly one of the better efforts to try to capture that classic, torch song, femme fatale vibe."

" Skyfall is certainly one of the better attempts to create that classic, sentimental femme-fatale atmosphere."

“Very classic - if not to say a bit boring. The title does not allow any experiments, musically - and certainly not lyrically. "

There was also approval from Monty Norman , the composer of the James Bond Theme . He is particularly honored by the reverence for his original. James Bond Daniel Craig was moved to tears when he heard the song for the first time. He has wanted such a theme song for a long time and thinks it is the perfect choice for the film. The song impressed him so much that he wanted Adele for the next bond song.

The Golden Globe - and the Oscars won Skyfall 2013 respectively the prize for best written for a film song. The song received the two most prestigious film awards in the world. Most recently, a Bond song was nominated for an Oscar in 1982 for For Your Eyes Only , and none of them could implement its nomination before. It also received the BRIT Award for Best British Single of the Year and was awarded the World's Most Popular Grammy Music Award in 2014.

Use in film

Film composer Thomas Newman in a suit at the Classic Brit Awards.
Thomas Newman composed the score for Skyfall , which also includes an interpolation of Adele's theme song.

For the traditional opening title of Skyfall is recorded again Daniel Kleinman responsible. He designed all of the James Bond opening credits since 1995 with the exception of the Quantum of Solace . The recording began in May 2012 at Pinewood Studios in London, after filming for the film had ended there. Both Craig and Bardem were available to him. Usually Kleinman develops his first ideas based on the script. Because demos of the song were available to him early this time, he could refer to it right away. Therefore, putting the opening credits and title song together turned out to be quite problem-free. All in all, Kleinman worked on the opening credits for around a year, four months of which were only on the effect-rich post-production. The radio version was used for the opening credits, which lacks a few repetitions and a central instrumental section.

Right at the beginning, the image of the drowning Bond from the prologue is taken, who is then drawn into a kind of underworld in the typical style of a James Bond opening credits. This time, the focus is primarily on shadows. Kleinman wanted to illustrate the intangible and yet omnipresent threat in the film as well as the ever-hidden secret service work. In contrast to earlier credits, the opening credits are much more three-dimensional and are not limited to female silhouettes. The symbols used are more diverse than usual and range from beating hearts and blood vessel systems to the shadows described to home bonds in childhood, Skyfall . Due to the exposed position of the opening credits in the film, Kleinman also wanted to give it a narrative meaning and thus also incorporated some preliminary interpretations.

The theme song was already formed before film composer Thomas Newman started working on the film soundtrack. Thereupon producer Michael G. Wilson asked him to include the theme song in the soundtrack composed by Newman, so that it is not just an "appendage". An interpolation can be heard in the title Komodo Dragon , who plays as Bond enters a casino in Macau . Newman saw the associated scene as the first classic Bond moment in the film.

Track list of the single

page title length
A. Skyfall 4:46
B. Skyfall (instrumental) 4:46


  • Skyfall is the first James Bond theme song since Die Another Day 2002 to share the name with the accompanying film.
  • Adele is the first British interpreter of a James Bond song since Shirley Manson (1999 The World Is Not Enough ) and Duran Duran (1985 A View to a Kill ) from Scotland .
  • She is one of the few artists who got to sing a James Bond song at the very beginning of their career. Only Tom Jones , Sheena Easton and Duran Duran received this honor similarly early.
  • For the 2012 Olympic Games in London, both David Arnold and Muse were officially hired for musical contributions. Arnold composed the soundtracks for all James Bond films from 1997 to 2008, Muse were previously one of the favorites for a James Bond theme song.
  • Skyfall marks the second time Mark Ronson has narrowly missed a James Bond song. In 2008 he worked with Amy Winehouse on a title track for Quantum of Solace , but it was never completed. In the same year he produced Adele's debut 19 - but for the follow-up album 21 she worked with Paul Epworth, with whom she also wrote Skyfall .

Additional information

Web links

Individual evidence

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