B. J. Arnau
|B. J. Arnau|
|Employer||UA Records, RCA Records|
|Known for||Singer and Actor|
B. J. Arnau is an American-born female singer and actress active in the UK and the US from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. She is also known as Brenda Arnau.
Arnau is best remembered as the cabaret act in the James Bond film Live and Let Die (1973). She performed the title track (composed by Paul and Linda McCartney). The producer, Harry Saltzman, requested a black soul singer for the opening credits but Arnau’s appearance was a compromise. The soundtrack’s composer George Martin indicated that “McCartney would only allow the song to be used in the movie if [his group] Wings were able to perform the song in the opening credits...”. In a review of the soundtrack, Eder cites Arnau’s performance as “far more interesting [than] any of the instrumental material...”. 
Another black female singer, Shirley Bassey, was already synonymous with Bond themes. Arnau went on to perform Bassey’s hit "Big Spender" on the 1975 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show (following Bassey's 1971 appearance). Arnau's profile was further confounded by changes of moniker between B. J. and Brenda. She had previously contributed to the soundtrack of Finian’s Rainbow (1968) for which she acted in an un-credited role. Live and Let Die strengthened a demand on TV; acting and singing on The Benny Hill Show, and in guest spots on The John Denver Show and Frost’s Weekly.
Arnau’s James Bond appearance led to her signing a three-year record deal with RCA in London, and securing a cabaret season at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. An LP of cover-versions was released the same year. It was a serious effort drawing on her soul roots, backed by a variety of artists including Francis Monkman of Curved Air; Albert Lee of Head, Hands and Feet; Herbie Flowers and Rosetta Hightower. Her single recordings for various labels dating from 1968 cumulated with the release of the self-penned double-A side Electra Flash / Dance Electra Flash on Pye in 1980. Electra’s disco influence was a departure from earlier material on UA and Polydor. Arnau then faded from public view and information is now scarce.
1968 "Gonna Spread Love" (UA)
1969 "Yesterday I Heard the Rain" (UA)
1971 "Children Outside" (Philips)
1971 "I Want To Go Back There Again" (Mojo/Polydor)
1972 "The Big Hurt" (Polydor)
1973 "Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me" (RCA)
1973 "Live and Let Die" (RCA)
1973 "Jubilation" (RCA)
1974 "Step in the Right Direction" (Bell)
1980 AA: "Electra Flash" / "Dance Electra Flash" (Pye)
1968 "Finian's Rainbow Soundtrack" [Uncredited] (Warner Brothers)
1973 "Live and Let Die Soundtrack" (UA)
1973 "B. J. Arnau" (RCA)