Shirley Bassey, "Goldfinger" (1964)
Martin has a producer's credit on the theme to the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, though the song's composer John Barry helmed most of the song's session. Martin produced most of Bassey's other work of the time, picking songs he thought would be suitable for the English singer and running through them with her, including her first hit "I (Who Have Nothing)." But "Goldfinger" turned into her career-defining smash. The ominous song, inspired by "Mack the Knife" and written by Barry, Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newly, was almost pulled at the last minute after film producer Harry Saltzman reportedly called it "the worst song I've ever heard in my life." It went on to become a Top Ten hit, and widely regarded as one of the greatest film songs of all time. Jimmy Page was the session guitarist that day, and he recalled that Bassey fainted after nailing the song in one take. "She was very emotional, but I liked her very much," Martin said. "And of course she was a tremendous artist." P.D.