Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

(August 4, 1901–July 6, 1971): Legendary trumpet player and New Orleans native who sang “We Have All the Time in the World” in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In 1969, Armstrong had been in a New York hospital for nearly a year when composer John Barry and lyricist Hal David decided that he was the best person to sing the main song in the film. They needed a man in the autumn of his years who could, with true emotion, sing the line “We’ve got all the time in the world,” which was taken from the last scene in Ian Fleming’s original novel.

“Louis Armstrong was the sweetest man alive,” recalled John Barry solemnly, “but having been laid up for over a year, he had no energy left. He couldn’t even play his trumpet. And still he summoned the energy to do our song. At the end of the recording session in New York City, he came up to me and said, ‘Thank you for this job.’ He was such a marvelous man. He died soon after that.

“The song didn’t do a thing when the film came out. It was a very heavy song, so we couldn’t use it as the title track. It was buried inside the film and that probably hurt its chances for success. Interestingly, two years later, it suddenly became number one in Italy.”[1]

[1] John Barry, interview by Steven Jay Rubin, Los Angeles, December 12, 1977.


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