As I walked through the front door of his beautiful Kensington home, it was clear that Don Black was having a busy day. Despite his 77 years, the Oscar-winning lyricist is still in huge demand and it turns out that it was a long-time collaborator that had been keeping him on his toes on a Thursday morning.
"Andrew Lloyd-Webber keeps ringing me every 20 minutes from New York," he explained, adding that the pair were, once again, working together on a new project.
It's that sort of company that Black has kept over more than 50 years at the top of the music business. An Oscar alongside John Barry for Born Free. A Golden Globe for his work on Michael Jackson's Ben. Tony awards for the hit musical Sunset Boulevard and five Ivor Novellos: just some of the awards that Black has received in his distinguished career.
After John Barry, Black may also be the name most synonymous with the Bond themes. The lyricist worked with Barry on Thunderball, The Man With The Golden Gun and the timeless Diamonds Are Forever before returning to the series in the late 1990s to collaborate with David Arnold on The World Is Not Enough, the terrific Surrender from Tomorrow Never Dies and a stunning Shirley Bassey song that was cruelly overlooked for Quantum of Solace.
We chatted about how Black became involved with the Bond franchise in the early 1960s, his work on six 007 films and what he thinks are the key ingredients to a Bond song. Find out more when you pre-order The Complete James Bond Themes.
Next time: Chatting with the feisty star of one of the biggest Bond hits of the 90s
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