It was right around this time in the famous Summer of Love that Nancy Sinatra did what Matt Monro, Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones had done before her. On July 5, 1967, she entered the UK chart with the vocal theme from the fifth James Bond film, ‘You Only Live Twice,’ released on a double A-side with her feisty duet with Lee Hazlewood, ‘Jackson.’
‘You Only Live Twice,’ written by now-regular 007 film composer John Barry with Leslie Bricusse, marked the first time that an American artist had recorded the theme for what was by now a smash hit film series. Nancy was, however, more than daunted by the responsibility. She later admitted that she was “scared to death” by the prospect of recording the song, and asked Barry and Bricusse: “Are you sure you don’t want Shirley Bassey?”
Both the Bond theme and ‘Jackson’ had entered the Billboard chart a couple of weeks earlier, and were listed separately for their runs of nine weeks each on the survey. But while ‘Jackson’ became the lead side there, reaching No. 14, ‘You Only Live Twice’ topped out at No. 44.
In the UK, the songs were listed on the chart together, with the film track given top billing. The single reached No. 11 there, not one of the biggest Bond themes by any means, but it did register an impressive 19 weeks that kept it on the bestsellers into November.
Listen to ‘You Only Live Twice’ on the film soundtrack album on Spotify