Initially Eric Clapton and Vic Flick were asked to write and perform the theme song to Licence to Kill. The theme was said to have been a new version based on the James Bond Theme. The guitar riff heard in the original recording of the theme was played by Flick. The prospect, however, fell apart and Gladys Knight’s song and performance was chosen. The song (one of the longest to ever be used in a Bond film) was based on the “horn line” from Goldfinger, which required royalty payments to the original writers. The music video of “Licence to Kill” was directed by Daniel Kleinman, who later took over the reins of title designer from Maurice Binder for the 1995 Bond film, GoldenEye.
Notably, the end credits of the film feature the Top 10 R&B hit “If You Asked Me To”, sung by Patti LaBelle. In 1992, the song was covered and became a Top 10 pop hit for singer Céline Dion.
Because John Barry was not available at the time due to the fact he was undergoing throat surgery, the soundtrack’s score was composed and conducted by Michael Kamen.