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(Credit: Paul Rider)

Music

Enjoy My Bloody Valentine's shoegaze James Bond cover

@SamWKemp

Seminal shoegazers My Bloody Valentine aren’t exactly known for their love ballads. The Irish group shot to fame in the late 1980s after their first EP on Alan McGee’s Creation Records, You Made Me Realise, debuted at number two on the UK Indie Charts.

The group’s ethereal blend of churned guitars, low-slung basslines and textured, nearly imperceptible vocals sparked a surge in popularity for the “shoegazing bands” cropping up around the UK, including the likes of Slowdive, Swervedriver, and Ride. But it wouldn’t be until 1991’s Loveless that My Bloody Valentine would write themselves into the history books. An album that nearly bankrupt Creation Records, Loveless, was guitarist Kevin Sheild’s Magnum Opus: a dense, reverb-drenched swirl of a thing that, decades later, is still baffling and mesmerising fans in equal measure.

The process of creating Loveless nearly drove Shields and company to madness, so it’s little wonder they decided to take a break from writing their own material for a little while. Three years after the album’s release, they shared a cover of John Barry’s 1969 James Bond theme ‘We Have All The Time In The World’ – popularised by Louis Armstrong when he sang it for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The performance would be Armstrong’s last. Indeed, he was so ill during recording that he was unable to play the trumpet part, which was performed by another musician.

Despite being one of John Barry’s favourite Bond compositions, when the track was unveiled in December 1969 to coincide with the film’s release, it failed to chart on both sides of the Atlantic. 25 years later, My Bloody Valentine decided to cover the track for Island Records’ Peace Together charity compilation for the youth of Northern Ireland, in 1993. That same year, the track was used by Guinness for one of their commercials. As a result, Armstrong’s version was re-released on vinyl and CD, reaching number three on the UK Singles Chart and number four in Ireland.

It’s astonishing that this delightfully syrupy slice of synthgaze got any airplay at all considering Oasis’ Definitely Maybe, Blur’s Parklife and Pulp’s His n Hers were all released the same year. Compared to the explosive sound of Britpop, My Bloody Valentine’s ‘All The Time In The World’ sounds like a lost segment of the Runescape soundtrack. I still love it though; hopefully, you do too.