Jack White says his James Bond theme is “one of the most divisive things” he has ever worked on

Jack White
(Image credit: Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Jack White has called Another Way to Die – the James Bond theme he and Alicia Keys wrote for 2008’s Quantum of Solace – “one of the most divisive things” he’s ever worked on.

Speaking on a new episode of the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast, the fomer White Stripes man recalls the mixed reaction the song received upon the movie’s release, and still continues to receive now.

“To this day, it’s straight across the board,” he says. “People always say you either love or you hate it. That song is… there are people who hate it so much, and there are people who love it so much. Nowhere in the middle; it’s so strange.”

Rationalizing why the song might be so divisive, White continues: “Bond themes – in Britain, for example – that’s consistent coffee/breakfast conversation. Like, ‘What’s your favorite bond theme?’ It’s almost who you are as a person.”

Elsewhere in the conversation, the guitarist reveals he got the Bond gig after late singer Amy Winehouse – who was originally due to create the theme for Quantum – reportedly failed to fulfil her obligations to producers.

“I got in because Amy Winehouse wasn’t showing up to the sessions or wasn’t delivering the song that they were asking her to do,” he remembers.

The music director was not down with anything. He was trying to convince me to turn it into a ballad or something like that

“So it was [like], ‘We were running out of time, we need somebody else.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, this was great, because now I’m gonna get away with murder; I’m gonna put things in this song [that] they would never approve [of].

“And that happened. The music director was not down with anything. He was trying to convince me to turn it into a ballad or something like that.”

White says he used the excuse that he was about to go on tour, and thus had no time to get in the studio to make the requested changes, “knowing full well [he] totally [had] time to fix it if [he] wanted to”.

As for his personal favorite Bond theme, White says Tom Jones’ track from 1965’s Thunderball takes the cake.

Hoping for it to be slightly less divisive than Another Way to Die, Jack White is currently gearing up to release his second album of 2022, Entering Heaven Alive. Thus far, three singles have been released from the record which arrives July 22: If I Die Tomorrow, Love is Selfish and Taking Me Back (Gently). The latter is a folk reimagining of a track from his first album of the year, Fear of the Dawn.

Last month, Total Guitar charted the many faces of Jack White – recounting the innovator, visionary and gearhead’s story so far and taking a deep dive into his wackiest guitars, pedals and amps as his guitar gear collection grows through the years.

Some of this gear turned up during his secret set at Glastonbury, in which he showcased his crazy pitch-shifting Jazzmaster and a custom Acoustasonic Telecaster.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.