I was listening to Nina Simone's song "Tomorrow is My Turn," released in 1965, and came across a section that sounded virtually identical to the iconic James Bond theme from the 1962 movie, which you can hear in Shirley Bassey's version of "Goldfinger." Both are heavily jazz influenced, and it's incredibly unlikely that two songs made just three years apart "happened" to have the same notes. Did Nina Simone get the notes from James Bond, or was it the other way around? Or did something else happen?

2 Answers 2


There's no direct evidence I can find that the section was intentionally 'stolen', but it's not in the Aznavour version, so it was added after the Bond theme became popular. It's also hard to define 'stolen' [or plagiarised] in music legal terms.

The chances of it being accidental though are, I think, unrealistic. The whole world knew that sound by the mid 60's. It was a "thing". Everybody wanted it. By 1965 audiences had heard this theme & the arrangement style in at least two Bond films [I'm not certain as to whether Goldfinger would have been released before the Simone song was recorded.]

Court battles over copyright was not the big business it is today. People would often 'borrow' bits of arrangement stye, or a couple of memorable chords - you can't copyright a style & you can't copyright a chord sequence, only a 'song'… which is why modern court cases are so tough. No-one really ever properly qualified the term 'song' legally.
So, 'borrowing' a popular chord sequence & arrangement style would not bring legal action.

The 'borrowed' bit is actually from the main James Bond theme [not from Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger specifically], first used in Dr No in 1962 - the one we all know & love. This was written by Monty Norman, who was employed to write the soundtrack for the first Bond movie. He was later replaced by John Barry, who scored the arrangement we now know so well. Barry claimed he wrote it, not Norman. This resulted in two court libel cases, both of which Norman won.

Barry's claim was severely undermined by the fact that Norman had previously used the same tune in an earlier piece. Honestly, it was a terrible piece, supposedly comedic… but the tune, and even a precursor to the famous twang guitar riff, is right there for all to hear.
Read more on Wikipedia - Dr. No (soundtrack)

John Barry's 'original' James Bond theme [the chord sequence in question starts at around 42s]

Monty Norman's 'Good Sign, Bad Sign' [occasionally known as 'Unlucky Sneeze']

Bizarrely, I was reminded of this Monty Norman tune in a repeat of QI I saw on TV just last night ;)


Did Nina Simone get the notes from James Bond

Probably not.

Tomorrow Is My Turn

"Tomorrow Is My Turn" by Nina Simone is an English version, released in 1965, of "L'Amour, c'est comme un jour" written by Charles Aznavour in 1962.

Source: L'Amour, c'est comme un jour - Wikipedia


"Goldfinger" was released in 1964 and was composed by John Barry.

It was supposedly influenced by the song "Mack the Knife".

The iconic two-note phrase which is the basis for the song's introduction was not in the original orchestration, but occurred to Barry during a tea-break, following an hour and a half of rehearsal.

Source: Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey song) - Wikipedia

It may be that John Barry was influenced by the Charles Aznavour song but there is no evidence for this that I could find.

The Nina Simone version came later, with the lyrics rewritten, but presumably the same music (I haven't listen to them).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.