Oscars 2013: James Bond’s not-so-secret life on the charts

Adele, who performed the theme to the most recent James Bond film "Skyfall," was a presenter at this year's Grammy Awards.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

This post has been updated. See note below for details.

With the motion picture academy’s salute to James Bond coming up at the Oscars on Sunday, here are seven factoids about films and music that have sprung up in service of the world’s most famous secret agent. (Isn’t that an oxymoron?)

001: The DVD of the latest Bond adventure, “Skyfall,” has been out for less than two weeks but already has become the biggest-selling DVD of 2013, according to Nielsen.

002: Adele’s “Skyfall” theme song also has been a big hit, re-entering the Billboard Hot 100 last week for an 18th week on the listing as Sunday’s award ceremony approaches. The night holds in store Adele’s performance of the song and the verdict on whether she takes home a best song Academy Award. It’s sold more than 1.5 million downloads since its release last year, which Nielsen notes is almost as much as the rest of the top 10 Bond theme songs have sold combined.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2013 | Top nominees


003: The other most popular Bond tracks as measured by digital sales? Jack White & Alicia Keys’ “Another Way to Die” from “Quantam of Solace” (2008, 318,000 sales); Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” from “Casino Royale” (2006, 290,000); Paul McCartney’ “Live and Let Die” (1973, 269,000); Madonna’s “Die Another Day” (2002, 232,000); Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” from “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977, 213,000); Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” (1985, 149,000); Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” (1964, 81,000); John Barry’s “James Bond Theme” from “Dr. No” (1962, 52,000) and Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971, 51,000).

004: Highest charting Bond single: Duran Duran’s “A View To a Kill,” which reached No. 1 in 1985 and spent two weeks at the top of the pop charts. After that Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” and McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” each reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 and spent three weeks in the runner-up spot. Simon takes the tie-breaker for staying on the chart for 25 weeks, compared to only 14 for “Live and Let Die.”

005: The bestselling Bond album is “The Best of Bond: James Bond” soundtrack compilation, which has sold 453,000 copies combined through four editions released in 1999, 2002, 2008 and 2012. Among individual titles, 1997’s “Tomorrow Never Dies” album is tops with 117,000 copies sold.

Oscars 2013: Nominee list | Live ballot | Trivia | Timeline

006: Highest-charting Bond album: The “Goldfinger” soundtrack spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart in 1964 and a total of 70 weeks on the list.

007: Nielsen’s ranking of the overall bestselling Bond movie titles comes with a couple of qualifications. The music and video sales tracking service puts 2006’s “Casino Royale” at No. 1 (without an accompanying sales figure) but notes that this is based only on sales since Nielsen began tracking DVD sales in 2000. Also the figure doesn’t include complete sales figures from Walmart, which began reporting sales data to Nielsen last year.

Update Feb. 25 at 4:36 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misidentified the highest-charting Bond single. It was Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill,” which spent two weeks at No. 1 in 1985. The earlier post also attributed DVD sales to Nielsen SoundScan. Those are tracked by Nielsen.


VIDEO: Nominees’ defining scenes

BUZZMETER: Pundits make their final picks

OSCAR WATCH: What you need to know about the films

Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2


WINNING BALLOT: A list of the 2013 winners

PHOTOS: Best & worst moments

TIMELINE: Academy Awards through the years