Ever since the debut of the movie series over 50 years ago, the James Bond theme song has evolved into a sub-genre of music all of its own. With every one of the films featuring opening titles with a sweeping, grandiose sense of scale but with the producers also unafraid to tap into popular culture and feature the biggest stars of the moment to sing the opening song, the ever-growing collection of Bond themes have been anthologized, analysed and re-appraised more times than anyone cares to remember.
Yet as far as the British charts are concerned there has always been one statistical quirk, a strange anomaly that has meant no James Bond theme song has ever reached Number One on the Official UK Singles chart. The best they have managed to date is two runners-up: Duran Duran's rendition of A View To A Kill in 1985 and Adele with Skyfall back in 2012, the latter almost certainly selling enough copies in its first seven days on sale to have topped the charts but suffering from a cutely timed midweek release which meant it debuted on the singles chart with just three days of sales to its name.
Finally, after 53 years the streak is broken, as this week Sam Smith crashes straight in at Number One with Writing's On The Wall which will be the opening theme to the new Bond movie SPECTRE which hits screens this winter. Within hours of its on-air debut last Friday morning the single was the subject of heated debate as to its overall merits and/or level of dullness, but the sales lead it had amassed even by the end of the weekend meant that the chart race this week was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Britain finally has a Bond theme at the top of the singles charts and it is Sam Smith's honour to claim.
Writing's On The Wall is the fifth Number One single for Sam Smith in a little over 28 months and his second of 2015 following the John Legend duet Lay Me Down back in March. That single was his first to spend longer than a week at the top of the charts, a feat which perhaps surprisingly this new offering may struggle to match, its sales lead failing to last the whole of the week suggesting the track may well have already peaked commercially. I cannot think of a more polarising single to have been released this year, with much-heated debate ensuing online as to its merits. I'll merely note that most songs from its sub-genre are required to function on two levels - first as a pop record and then as the scene setting for the movie. So far we can only just Writing's On The Wall as a pop song, but in fairness that isn't the main reason it was written and recorded.
Sam Smith opened his chart account as the guest star on a Disclosure track back in 2012 and indeed he reunited with the Lawrence brothers earlier this summer for his last chart hit Omen. In a neat bit of synchronicity the synthpop duo have a Number One of their own this week as their second album Caracal lands neatly at the top of the Official UK Album chart, matching the feat of their 2013 debut Settle which also crashed to Number One in its first week on sale back in June that year.
This does, however, mean we are denied the sight of a veteran act reaching the top of the charts for a second week. New Order's first album of totally brand new recordings in ten years Music Complete contents itself instead with the runners-up slot. Chvrches second album Open Every Eye makes Number 4.
Back to singles, and the next highest new entry of the week is way down at Number 16, despite the credentials of the artists involved. Lay It All On Me unites Rudimental with Ed Sheeran for the second time this year, reversing the credits this time after the drum n' bass act were credited as guest stars on the singer's own Bloodstream. The new track is the second and final pre-release teaser for the group's second album We The Generation which is in the stores as you read this. The album's first single Never Let You Go stumbled to Number 29 earlier in the summer.
Just a few places behind at Number 19 is Talk To Me, the debut single from Nick Brewer, a much-touted new British rap star who has perhaps had to work harder than he deserved to escape Professor Green comparisons but who has nonetheless been flagged as a potential star in the making for several months now. The single is based heavily around the instrumentation and melody of Crystal Waters' iconic Gypsy Woman hit but its most notable hook is the guest vocalist credit for Bibi Bourelly - notorious until now as the composer of Rihanna's Bitch Better Have My Money.
Another singles chart debut that is maybe more muted than the star power of its performers' merits is Love Me Like You from Little Mix, the official follow-up to Number One smash Black Magic (notwithstanding album teaser Hair which charted briefly a few weeks ago). Heralding the release next month of the girls' new Get Weird album, the new single is the latest in a long line of refreshingly sparkling Little Mix singles, the chorus, in particular, evoking the sound of sixties girl groups such as The Crystals or The Ronettes. Unlike its predecessor, however, it has opened its chart account in mid-table, charting at a mere Number 21 and for now showing little signs of taking off in any big way.
Finally to continue the theme of "we're used to better", landing at Number 30 is Sia with her new single Alive, a brand new track set to feature on her forthcoming new album This Is Acting in early 2016. Your guess is as good as mine as to just why nobody is all that interested this time around. It couldn't be because she's decided to start showing her face again could it?