Writing's on the Wall (Sam Smith song)

"Writing's on the Wall"
Single by Sam Smith
Released 25 September 2015
Recorded 2015:
RAK Studios
Abbey Road Studios
The Pierce Rooms
Genre Orchestral pop
Length 4:38
Label Capitol
Sam Smith singles chronology
"Writing's on the Wall"
James Bond theme chronology
"Writing's on the Wall"
Music video
"Writing's on the Wall" on YouTube

"Writing's on the Wall" is a song by English singer and songwriter Sam Smith; from the 2015 James Bond film Spectre. The song was released as a digital download on 25 September 2015.[1] The song was written by Smith and Jimmy Napes, and produced by the latter alongside Steve Fitzmaurice and Disclosure and released on 25 September 2015.

"Writing's on the Wall" received mixed reviews, especially when compared to previous Bond theme songs.[2][3][4][5] The mixed reception to the song led to Shirley Bassey trending on Twitter on the day it was released.[6][7] The single became the first Bond movie theme to reach number one in the UK Singles Chart. It also reached the top 10 in a few other European countries, but unlike other James Bond themes, it was not as successful outside Europe, only peaking at number 43 in Canada and Australia and number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100. Only the instrumental version of the song appeared on the film's official soundtrack album. The song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards[8] and the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 88th Academy Awards.

Background and composition

"Writing's on the Wall" was co-written by Smith and Jimmy Napes.[9] Smith said that the song came together in one whirlwind session: he and Napes wrote it in under half an hour and quickly recorded a demo. When they listened back to that recording, they were so pleased with Smith's vocal performance that they ended up using it on the final release—albeit with some added muscle in the arrangement.[10] On 8 September 2015 Sam Smith announced that he was singing the song for the James Bond film Spectre. He described performing the theme as "one of the highlights of my career".[11] The English band Radiohead also composed a song for the film, "Spectre", which went unused.[12]

The song is written in the key of F minor with a tempo of 66 beats per minute (Larghetto). Smith's vocals range from A ♭3 to D♭5.[13] The singer expressed some backlash at his vocal performance, feeling it was "horrible to sing" as the notes are "just so high".[14]

Critical reception

The song received a mixed response from critics at the time of its release. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian wrote "Writing's on the Wall attempts to capture the mood of Adele's Skyfall theme – but backs Sam Smith's claim it only took 20 minutes to write."[15] Lewis Corner of Digital Spy rated it 3 out of 5 stars.[16] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph called the song a "monster Bond ballad", stating, "(The song) is very, very slow and surprisingly restrained, at times floating by on resonant piano notes, the faintest brush stroke of orchestra, with all the focus on Smith's intense, tremulous vocal, rising with controlled pace and tension to an audacious chorus pay-off".[17]

Commercial performance

In the United Kingdom, "Writing's on the Wall" became the first James Bond theme to reach number one, on the issue dated 8 October 2015. The previous highest-charting Bond themes were Adele's "Skyfall" and Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill", which both reached number two. It also became Smith's fifth UK number-one single within two years. The song spent a total of 16 consecutive weeks in the UK Singles Chart. In the United States, "Writing's on the Wall" debuted and peaked at number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100, compared to the previous Bond song, "Skyfall", which debuted at number 8 in October 2012. In Canada, the song debuted at and peaked number 43. In Australia, the song performed moderately, debuting at number 44, and later peaking at number 43, but in Ireland, the song was a much bigger hit, debuting and peaking at number 9. The song has also charted in several other European countries though to a far lesser degree than its predecessor.

Track listing

Digital download[18]
1."Writing's on the Wall"  4:38
CD single and vinyl[19][20]
1."Writing's on the Wall"  4:38
2."Writing's on the Wall" (Instrumental)4:38

Credits and personnel

Recording and management

  • Sam Smith – vocals, songwriter
  • Jimmy Napes producer, songwriter, piano
  • Steve Fitzmaurice producer, mixing and recording, additional programming
  • Guy Lawrence co-producer, additional programming
  • Howard Lawrence co-producer, additional programming
  • Steve Price – orchestra recording
  • Simon Hale – orchestra arrangement and conducting
  • Darren Heelis – Korg bass, assistant recording engineer
  • Charles Wong – assistant recording engineer
  • Mike Horner – assistant recording engineer
  • Gordon Davidson – assistant recording engineer
  • Matt Jones – assistant recording engineer
  • Toby Hulbert – assistant recording engineer
  • Charlie Paakkari – assistant recording engineer
  • Isobel Griffiths – orchestra contractor
  • Lucy Whalley – assistant orchestra contractor
  • Everton Nelson – orchestra leader
  • Tom Coyne – mastering
  • Aya Merrill – mastering assistant

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Chart (2015–16) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[21] 43
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 11
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[23] 5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[24] 4
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[25] 43
Czech Republic (Rádio Top 100)[26] 39
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[27] 52
Euro Digital Songs (Billboard)[28] 1
Finland Download (Suomen virallinen latauslista)[29] 3
France (SNEP)[30] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[31] 17
Greece Digital Songs (Billboard)[32] 2
Hungary (Single Top 40)[33] 2
Ireland (IRMA)[34] 9
Italy (FIMI)[35] 32
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[36] 50
Japan Physical Singles (Oricon)[37] 81
Lebanon (The Official Lebanese Top 20)[38] 3
Luxembourg Digital Songs (Billboard)[39] 2
Mexico Ingles Airplay (Billboard)[40] 37
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[41] 35
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[42] 32
New Zealand Heatseekers (Recorded Music NZ)[43] 4
Portugal (AFP)[44] 80
Portugal Digital Songs (Billboard)[45] 10
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[46] 1
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[47] 36
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[48] 32
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[49] 24
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[50] 63
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[51] 5
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[52] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[53] 71
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[54] 20

Year-end charts

Chart (2015) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[55] 56


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI)[56] Gold 25,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[57] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[58] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history

Region Date Format Label
Worldwide 25 September 2015 Digital download Capitol
United Kingdom 23 October 2015 CD single
6 November 2015 7" vinyl

See also


  1. "Sam Smith's 'Writing's on the Wall' Is the Theme of New Bond Film Spectre". Time. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  2. "Sam Smith Bond song splits opinion". BBC News.
  3. Petridis, Alexis (25 September 2015). "Sam Smith's James Bond theme review – 'It feels like an X Factor ballad'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  4. "Sam Smith's 'Writing On The Wall' 'Spectre' Song Hasn't Impressed 'James Bond' Fans". The Huffington Post UK.
  5. "The Writing's on the Wall: Sam Smith's James Bond Spectre theme panned online". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 September 2015.
  6. "Sam Smith's James Bond theme song 'Writing's On The Wall' makes Shirley Bassey trend on Twitter because people hate it". The Independent.
  7. "Sam Smith Releases New Bond Theme But Twitter Reckons He's No Shirley Bassey". MTV UK.
  8. Merry, Stephanie; Yahr, Emily (December 10, 2015). "Golden Globes nominations 2016: Complete list". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  9. Guardian music (September 25, 2015). "Sam Smith's new Bond theme, Writing's on the Wall – listen here". The Guardian. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  10. "Hear Sam Smith Break Down His Bond Theme, 'Writing's On The Wall'". NPR. September 25, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  11. "Instagram". Instagram.
  12. "Radiohead's Bond theme the gift that fans didn't Spectre receive for Christmas". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse in New York. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  13. "'Writing's on the Wall' sheet music". Salli Isaak Music Publishing. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  14. Britton, Luke Morgan (26 October 2015). "Sam Smith 'almost regrets' Bond theme: 'It's so high that I have to grab my balls'". NME. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  15. Alexis Petridis. "Sam Smith's James Bond theme review – 'It feels like an X Factor ballad'". The Guardian.
  16. "This week's new singles reviewed: Little Mix, Sia, Sam Smith, Rudimental". Digital Spy.
  17. "Writing's on the Wall review: 'Sam Smith's monster Bond ballad'". The Telegraph.
  18. "iTunes – Music – Writing's on the Wall – Single by Sam Smith". iTunes Store (GB).
  19. "Writing's On The Wall – Theme from Spectre (James Bond 007)". HMV.
  20. "Writing's On The Wall – Theme from Spectre (James Bond 007)". HMV.
  21. "Australian-charts.com – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  22. "Austriancharts.at – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  23. "Ultratop.be – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  24. "Ultratop.be – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  25. "Sam Smith – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Sam Smith. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  26. "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201546 into search.
  27. "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201540 into search.
  28. "Euro Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  29. "Sam Smith: Writing's On The Wall" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  30. "Lescharts.com – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  31. "Offiziellecharts.de – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  32. "Greece Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  33. "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  34. "Chart Track: Week 40, 2015". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  35. "Italiancharts.com – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  36. "Sam Smith – Chart history" Japan Hot 100 for Sam Smith. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  37. "ライティングズ・オン・ザ・ウォール on Oricon" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  38. "Olt20.com: Artist Sam Smith". The Official Lebanese Top 20. October 18, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  39. "Luxembourg Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  40. "Mexico Ingles Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved 7 November 2015. (subscription required)
  41. "Nederlandse Top 40 – Sam Smith search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  42. "Dutchcharts.nl – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  43. "NZ Heatseekers Chart (23 November 2015)". Recorded Music NZ. 16 November 2015. Archived from the original on 22 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  44. "Portuguesecharts.com - Singles - 09/2016". Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  45. "Portugal Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 21 November 2015. (subscription required)
  46. "Archive Chart: 2015-10-08". Scottish Singles Top 40. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  47. "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201605 into search.
  48. "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201546 into search.
  49. "Spanishcharts.com – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  50. "Swedishcharts.com – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  51. "Swisscharts.com – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  52. "Archive Chart: 2015-10-08" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  53. "Sam Smith – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Sam Smith. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  54. "Sam Smith – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Sam Smith. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  55. http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/end-of-year-singles-chart/
  56. "Italian single certifications – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Sam Smith in the field Filtra. Select 2015 in the field Anno. The certification will load automatically
  57. "British single certifications – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Writing's on the Wall in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  58. "American single certifications – Sam Smith – Writing's on the Wall". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/29/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.