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Chris Cornell talks about the genesis of You Know My Name

15-May-2007 • Casino Royale

Chris Cornell recently spoke to Songwriter Universe Magazine about his solo tour, and his theme song for the recent James Bond film "Casino Royale"...

How did you hook up to write for Casino Royale?

Cornell: Lia Vollack (President of Music for Sony Pictures) was heading the soundtrack and she called. She said they needed a song and singer that would reflect the dramatic new direction of James Bond, with Daniel Craig starring. They wanted a strong male singer – they wanted a song that would be remembered. I was a James Bond fan – as a kid I really liked the Bond films which starred Sean Connery. More importantly, I’m a big Daniel Craig fan. I had seen many of his films, and I knew he would be great as James Bond. And I also liked the idea of doing a James Bond theme song for another reason. I’m a Paul McCartney fan, and I remembered how he had written and sung the Bond theme “Live And Let Die.” So it was thrill that I could do a Bond theme, like my hero Paul McCartney had done earlier.

So you wrote this theme song with Bond composer David Arnold?

Cornell: Yes. David and I met, and I saw the rough cut of the film in Prague (Czech Republic). David suggested that we write a song that echoed the film score. I started writing “You Know My Name” and I gave him a call. It had lyrics first – the melody hadn’t been written yet. Then David came up with some musical ideas. I wrote most of the lyrics – he came up with some of the lyric lines – and we did a demo. Then David and I produced [the full version] and we played all the instruments except for drums. It was just a few guys in the studio playing all the instruments. We recorded it at George Martin’s studio in England – it was the perfect place and experience to make a James Bond record.

“You Know My Name” seems to fit nicely among the songs on your new album.

Cornell: I wrote “You Know My Name” in the middle of writing the songs for my record, so I feel like the song belongs on the album. Writing for a James Bond movie allowed me to go to into an imaginary world. And now that I’m on tour, I’m having a lot of fun singing this song live.

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