Today’s Infographic: Pie Charts of James Bond Movie Theme Singers

I was wondering what proportion of Bond theme songs were sung by somebody Welsh. Quite a few because Shirley Bassey sang several and Tom Jones sang one. There are a few basic questions about how to count things along the way though.

Weirdly when I export the graph Washington disappears as a label

Firstly, do you count Shirley Bassey once or three times? Secondly, Jack White and Alicia Keys are joint singers of Another Way to Die from Quantum of Solace. Do they both count as 1 or should they get 0.5? Thirdly, Aha, Garbage and Duran Duran (and to a lesser extent Wings) are listed on Wikipedia as the artists for their respective Bond theme songs, so should the whole band count or just the lead singer? I went with the lazy option: Bassey gets counted for each song, White and Keys are counted separately and for the bands, only the lead singer counts (which is a net gain for Scotland). Lastly, as far as I’m aware, Norway doesn’t have an equivalent state-like subdivision.

Here’s the national breakdown.

If Norway allies with the UK then they can avoid being outvoted by the USA.

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30 responses to “Today’s Infographic: Pie Charts of James Bond Movie Theme Singers”

  1. The unions and divisions of the Scandinavian monarchies probably explains why Victoria didn’t marry one of her children to whoever was monarch of Norway in the right timeframe, preventing you from using a Windsor family tree thing opposite all the Americans….

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    • Norway didn’t have a separate monarchy until 1905, as there was a dual kingdom of Sweden-Norway under the Kings of Sweden from 1815 (and a dual kingdom of Denmark-Norway under the Danish royals before that).

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      • It… is more complicated than that. There have been times before 1905 where there was a well-defined king of Norway. And at times, there’s even been a well-defined king of Norway, who was not the ruler of Norway (during the Kalmar Union, where Sweden, Norway, and Denmark were supposedly independent kingdoms, but the actual supremacy would rotate once per generation, as it were). That triple union started in 1394, and ended in 1524, leaving Norway and Denmark in union until 1814.

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    • Victoria didn’t get to marry a daugther to the Norwegian king, but she married a granddaugther to a (at the time relatively obscure) Danish prince who 9 years later became the king of Norway. (That prince Carl was married to the daughter of Edward VII was a major factor when he was offered the throne of Norway.) So the current Norwegian royal family is indeed descended from Victoria.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maud_of_Wales

      But if you’re trying to mash together European monarchies based on the lineage of their royal houses, it may be more useful to use the (mainly Danish) House of Glücksburg as the uniting factor.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Gl%C3%BCcksburg

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  2. This is a good use of all of our time.

    And of course you have to count Shirley Bassey as many times as possible. It’s Bond Law.

    Does this include the movie that’s coming Real Soon Now, This Time For Sure?

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  3. I once baffled everyone in a quiz by asking “What has Shirley Bassey done three times that nobody else has done more than once?”

    On the first chart, there’s an unlabelled blue segment on the right, between Norway and Michigan.

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  4. The guy who wrote the James Bond theme didn’t sing, he just plonked a guitar, but he’s English — there might be a way to fiddle this yet!

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    • I didn’t count Matt Monro for “From Russia With Love” because the song plays without vocals at the start. He’d add another one for England. Or, I could discount Louis Armstrong because All The Time in the World is at the end of OHMSS but there’s no way I’m not counting Satchmo

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      • You did, however, omit poor Katja Ebstein whose song “Wovon träumt der Weihnachtsbaum im Mai?” (What does a Christmas tree dream in May?) is used in the ice skating scene in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

        Though Ms. Ebstein is difficult to classify. She was born in Silesia, which was then Germany, but is now Poland. She was living in West Berlin, when she recorded that song and now lives in Bavaria.

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        • I seem to remember that there is some important bit of trivia about that German song (but unfortunately, not the trivia itself). Did it become a hit due to being presented in that Bond movie scene, or was it one already?

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        • Now I’m curious. IMDB and Wikipedia say it’s the English version “Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown” by Nina (Nina van Pallandt) Did they use the German song in the German version of the film? Or did they just put the English song on the soundtrack album? I think one of the free streaming services has all of the non-Craig Bond movies. I’ll have to check.

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          • Found an answer. The German version of the film has Katja Ebstein and the French version has Isabelle Aubret – “Savez vous ce qu’il faut au sapin de Noël”

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            • The version that’s on German TV has the Katja Ebstein song playing in the background, while Bond is being chased through the Swiss resort town by Blofeld’s goons and then rescued by Tracy. I always found that fitting, because that scene supposedly occurs in the German speaking part of Switzerland.

              The song is not one of Ms. Ebstein’s best, though.

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      • If you’re counting closing themes separately, did you count KD Lang’s closing theme for Tomorrow Never Dies?

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  5. I have to ask… what in the world made you think of creating this chart???

    I’m not complaining, mind you, this is the sort of bizarre randomness which makes this blog a must-read for me.

    But sometimes I wonder whether Timothy needs an extensive psychiatric evaluation. 😀

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      • camestrosfelapton: not that Paul McCartney is Welsh but you can see Wales from a tall building in Liverpool

        same as

        (waits for angry denouncements from Liverpudlians)

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      • Wales is known for its choral traditions. This never crossed over into pure pop but prooved an ideal training ground for cabaret style singers (Hence Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey). At the time the early Bond movies came out there was still enough crossover from these older styles to make the charts and they weren’t going to alienate older audiences. Liverpool, incidentally is built of Welsh brick, from a small geographic area. A substantial Welsh community settled itself in Liverpool directly connected with the brick trade and Welsh chapels that were established and provided a conduit for jobs. (This might also be tied in with the fact that a lot of Welsh Chapels were teetotal and so thier members gained a reputation for reliability, but my memory is hazier on that part of the story but they had something of a strangle hold on parts of the housebuilding trade at a time when Liverpool was rapidly expanding). Apparently John Lennon had Welsh roots.

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        • Hence also Harry Secombe, who was fairly well known as a singer at the time, as well as being a member of The Goon Show.

          (Jokingly, in The Goon Show’s 1984 spoof, Secombe’s singing was used as a torture device on Secombe’s own character.)

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