“Live and Let Die” is a song originally performed by Wings, which was written for the soundtrack of the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die. The song was one of Wings’ most successful singles, and the most successful Bond theme to that point. Credited to Paul McCartney and his wife Linda, it reunited McCartney with Beatles producer George Martin, who both produced the song and arranged the orchestral break.
After George Martin was hired to score the new James Bond film, the producers of the film asked Paul McCartney if he would be willing to compose the theme song. However, the producers were interested in having another artist perform it. McCartney said that he would be interested, but only if Wings were able to perform the song in the opening credits themselves, and the producers agreed. A second version of the song, performed by Brenda Arnau, also appears in the film’s soundtrack, but it is not included on the soundtrack album.
Wings recorded “Live and Let Die” during the sessions for the Red Rose Speedway album. The single reached #2 in the U.S. and #7 in the U.K. Although the previous Wings single had been credited to “Paul McCartney & Wings,” the label credit for this single reverted to simply “Wings.” However, the song made its first album appearance on the soundtrack album, which otherwise featured George Martin instrumentals, where it was credited to “Paul McCartney & Wings.” This was the last Wings single on Apple Records that was credited only to “Wings.”
“Live and Let Die” was the first James Bond theme song to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song (which gave Paul his second Academy Award nomination and Linda her first), but it lost to the theme song from “The Way We Were”.
The song’s instrumental break featured flashpots and a laser light show that became a highlight of Wings’ live performances.
Although the most famous version of the song remains Wings’ original recording, it was covered by Guns N’ Roses in 1991, and – due to its status as a Bond theme song – by The Pretenders (the latter released exclusively on the album Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project). Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas performed the song on Movies Rock, a CBS special celebrating music in movies.
A cover by Welsh singer Duffy will be on the War Child charity album Heroes due for February 2009 release.
In 1984, McCartney asked “Weird Al” Yankovic when he was going to parody one of his songs. A couple of years later, Yankovic asked for permission to put his “Live and Let Die” parody “Chicken Pot Pie” on an album (as a courtesy; legally he did not need permission). McCartney denied the use because he is a vegetarian and didn’t want to promote the eating of animal flesh. Fellow vegetarian Yankovic said he respected the decision; however, he has performed the song live.
Christian parody band ApologetiX performed a parody of “Live and Let Die” as “Didn’t Just Die”. It was released on their album, ApologetiX Hits: The Road, and was performed back-to-back with “Died and Rose,” a parody of “China Grove” by The Doobie Brothers. – adapted from Wikipedia