Today in Madonna History: May 30, 2002

On May 30, 2002, People magazine mistakenly reported that Madonna was set to record a cover version of Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind:

Madonna fans who are looking forward to seeing and hearing her on the new James Bond film, Die Another Day, will be chuffed to hear that her Madgeness will be taking a slightly bigger role in the flick than previously thought. Mrs R will record a cover of a song called If You Could Read My Mind for a spicy scene where Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, seduces Halle Berry’s character, Jade. The song was originally recorded in 1970 by Gordon Lightfoot.

In fact, an original song titled Can’t You Read My Mind, written by Madonna & Mirwais, is registered in ASCAP’s database. String arranger Michel Colombier confirmed in May of 2002 that he had recorded a string arrangement for the song, referring to it as the theme for the upcoming Bond film. This suggests that it was likely an early version of the released theme song, Die Another Day, possibly featuring alternate lyrics that were later revised to tie in with the film’s title.

Today in Madonna History: November 14, 2004

On November 14 2004, Michael Colombier – the composer/arranger who produced the beautiful string arrangements for Madonna’s songs Die Another Day, Don’t Tell Me & Easy Ride, and composed the soundtrack for Swept Away (perhaps the film’s most memorable attribute) – passed away at age 65.

Colombier was one of the most prolific and versatile French musicians of his generation. Besides his career as a film composer scoring over 100 feature, cable and television films since the early 1960’s – Colombier was a prolific songwriter and arranger who worked with artists such as Joni Mitchell, Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, The Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, Air, Barbra Streisand & Earth Wind And Fire.

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As a film composer, Michel Colombier scored many French and American films, including The Golden Child, Ruthless People, New Jack City, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and The Money Pit. His background in jazz was evident in the majority of his film scores, and his ability to compose original score music that merged seamlessly with pop songs made him the perfect composer for 1980’s films with song-heavy soundtracks, including White Nights, Against All Odds and Purple Rain (which won a Grammy Award as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Score).

Today in Madonna History: September 27, 2002

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On September 27 2002, the theme and title-track for the twentieth film in the James Bond franchise, Die Another Day, received its world premiere on New York radio station Z100. The song had been due to hit the airwaves on October 10th, but when Z100 got their hands on the track ahead of schedule they immediately added it to their heavy rotation playlist. Other stations quickly followed suit, prompting an early but very strong debut at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and becoming the chart’s highest first-week entry of the year.

Die Another Day was written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais with string arrangement by the late, great Michel Colombier. After being introduced to Madonna through Mirwais, Colombier arranged strings for Madonna’s 2000 hit Don’t Tell Me, scored her film Swept Away and arranged the American Life tracks Nothing Fails and Easy Ride. Colombier sadly lost a brief battle with cancer in 2004, leaving behind a legacy of celebrated collaborations with the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, Prince and Joni Mitchell, to name only a few.

Madonna’s Bond theme was first performed during 2004’s Re-Invention Tour, where it became a visual showstopper with its ambitious and impressively executed tango-influenced choreography.

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