Dear friend,

do you know the song Nobody Does It Better external link to Youtube by Carly Simon? Probably you have heard it, but do you know it is the theme song for a James Bond film? I’m asking you, because there was a time when I didn’t know. I remember listening to it playing on the radio in my car, and thinking, when the lyrics mention The Spy Who Loved Me, ‘wait, what? Is this about 007’?

It doesn’t happen that often that a song written for a James Bond film transcends the movie and takes a life on its own. I can only think of We Have All the Time in the World from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as a second example. Part of the merit for this emancipation must be the fact that they don’t have the same title as the film, and that they don’t try to blend the classic Bond Theme in their melody. And, of course, they are great songs.

But why am I telling you this? Because I like Nobody Does It Better (by Carole Bayer Sager and Marvin Hamlisch) so much that I currently consider it one of the songs that make life worth living (twenty-ish years ago I had a very clear ’top five’ list of such songs… now I’m not ever sure what they were… maybe Moonlight Shadow? Wuthering Heights? Cornflake Girl?). By that, I mean a song that makes me feel happy.

It makes me happy, as a whole, because I choose to interpret it as a celebration of love: from one person to their partner, who understands them as nobody else can (even though sometimes s/he drives them crazy). And it makes me happy in two very specific moments: the first one is when the song turns into its coda, and instead of the usual ‘baby, you’re the best’, Carly Simon sings ‘baby, baby… darling, you’re the best’, making it even sweeter and more endearing; the second moment is when the brass instruments come in, at 3:01… an additional last-minute melody, and absolute joy.