“Die Another Day” is the theme to the James Bond film of the same name recorded by Madonna. It was Madonna’s 20th anniversary of making hits. The single, released in late 2002, peaked at number eight in the United States and #3 in the United Kingdom selling 167,863 copies, making it the most successful Bond theme since Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill.” The song was later included on her 2003 album, American Life.
The song was co-written and co-produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzai in the key of C minor with string arrangements written by Michel Colombier. The single spent 11 weeks at number one on the United States Billboard Singles Sales Charts and is her most successful title on the sales chart to date. Die Another Day was the most successful Bond theme-song since the 1980s. Critical opinion of the song widely varies as evidenced by the fact that it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song as well as for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song in 2002. In an official MORI poll in the UK for the Channel 4 program James Bond’s Greatest Hits, the song was voted 9th most popular James Bond theme by the general public. Those polled ages 24 and under voted it their number 1 favourite Bond song. Incidentally, while Die Another Day, the film, marked the 40th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, Die Another Day, the single, marked Madonna’s 20th anniversary in the music business; Madonna’s first single, “Everybody”, had been released in October of 1982.
The song peaked #1 in 12 different countries, including an 8 week stint at #1 on the World Music Charts and a then-record 11 week stay at #1 for Madonna on the US Hot 100 Single Sales.
None of Die Another Day’s melody was employed by David Arnold in the development of the motion picture score. Instead, the instrumentals of the song’s Dirty Vegas Mix can be heard during one scene of the film. Some of the remixes of the song feature bonus spoken word vocals by Madonna. She performed “Die Another Day” as part of her 2004 Re-Invention Tour and used it as a video interlude in the Sticky & Sweet Tour (2008).
The music video was directed by Traktor, a Swedish directing team, and filmed from August 22-27, 2002 at Hollywood Center Studios in Hollywood, California. The video features references to to Oddjob from 1964′s Goldfinger), Miranda Frost, Shirley Eaton’s character in Goldfinger, Francisco Scaramanga, The Man with the Golden Gun, a spacesuit in reference to Moonraker, Blofeld’s white Persian cat and portrait of the then-Bond Pierce Brosnan from a fight scene with Gustav Graves. The very end of the video has sparked some discussion as Madonna appeared to escape Houdini-like from the electric chair, leaving behind only a smoldering chair with a Hebrew expression, a phrase that can be interpreted as “great escape” or “freedom,” one of the “72 Names of God,” used in the Kabbalah. The video ended with the gun barrel sequence.
On the video and its direction, directors Tracktor said: “The video required two very distinct looks. One, for the fencing sequences, was a glossy, stylish look that needed to be as bright as possible while retaining all of the details. The second was a raw, dirtier look for the torture chamber and the electric chair room.”
The video was one of Madonna’s most expensive, costing more than $6 million USD due to the heavy use of special effects. Traktor explained that “for various reasons, there are effects in almost every shot. It is a testament to the skills of the merry artisans of MPC that you think there are none. As with modern underwear, the best effects are always the ones that don’t show through your slacks.”
Madonna performed “Die Another Day” as part of her 2004 “Re-Invention Tour” and used it as a video interlude in the “Sticky & Sweet Tour” (2008). – adapted from Wikipedia