Revisiting The Best Rejected Bond Theme Songs

Bond’s best themes are as iconic as the suave spy himself, forever cemented in canon as must-have parts of the franchise. Sometimes like when Shirley Bassey moans “he only likes golllllllddddd “ on “Goldfinger,” they perfectly encapsulate the glamor, over-the-top drama and elegance of the entire series. Often times they are more memorable than the movies they appear in, like The spy who loved me ‘s “Nobody Does It Better” by Carly Simon, or “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney, which made the soundtrack to a failed movie but became a # 1 hit and remains a staple of Macca’s live sets. nowadays.

Being invited to record a Bond theme is an honor for any artist; it’s your chance to align yourself with an unforgettable pop culture figure, come away with huge success and maybe even win the Oscar for Best Original Song. But the selection process is notoriously difficult, and those who are ultimately chosen are far from the only artists who write and record potential leads for any given Bond film. Even huge talents like Johnny Cash, Blondie, and Radiohead failed to make the cut, and there are countless alternate universe Bond themes floating around that never made their way into the movies.

With that in mind, we’re looking at some of the best for getting the ax. Hear them out and compare them to the winning picks that beat them below.

Johnny Cash, “ball of thunder”

Made for Made for is for is for: Thunder clap (1965)

Lost at: Tom Jones, “ball of thunder”

The Man in Black’s attempt at a Bond theme is undeniably great, but the producers ultimately decided it wasn’t the right style. On the one hand, it makes sense; Cash’s “Thunderball” feels more like a great western theme than a British spy movie, and Tom Jones’ version – which is full of all the classic Bond-themed touchstones like horns, strings elegant and belted voices – is a better fit. But we could have blackmailed Johnny Cash, “Thunderball, your breath of fire can burn the coldest man, and who’s going to suffer from the power in your hand?”

Lorraine Chandler, “You Only Live Twice”

Made for Made for is for is for is for: You only live twice (1967)

Lost at: Nancy Sinatra, “You Only Live Twice”

Nancy Sinatra’s take on “You Only Live Twice” is one of Bond’s most memorable themes to date, but she wasn’t the first to tackle the theme of the most stupidly titled 007 film. English singer Julie Rogers recorded a version, then Lorraine Chandler came up with a more moving version. It came out of the vault of RCA Records in the 90s and has become a fixture on the Northern Soul scene in England. Eventually the producers called Frank Sinatra and asked him him to do so, but he suggested his daughter Nancy instead, and the rest is history.

Alice Cooper, “The Man with the Golden Gun”

Made for Made for is for is for: The man with the golden gun (1974)

Lost to: Lulu, “The man with the golden gun”

Like Johnny Cash, Alice Cooper is probably not an artist whose sound is reminiscent of things like rocked martinis and Aston Martins. And yet we have come so close to have an Alice Cooper theme for The man with the golden gun. (He later included the song on his Muscle of love album.) Instead, a different song of the same name performed by Lulu was selected, but songwriter John Barry said it was the Bond theme he was least proud of. “He’s the one I hate the most,” he said in 2006. “It just never happened to me.” I should have stayed with Alice!

Blondie, “For your eyes only”

Made for Made for is for is for: Just for your eyes (nineteen eighty one)

Lost at: Sheena Easton, “For Your Eyes Only”

Producers of Just for your eyes actually hired Debbie Harry to sing the song Sheena Easton eventually recorded (which was written by Bill Conti and Michael Leeson), but she quit after they didn’t allow her and her fellow students to Blondie, to write and perform their own Bond theme. However, their rejected “For Your Eyes Only” was not wasted; the band then released it on their 1982 album The hunter.

Pet Shop Boys, “James Bond # 1”

Made for Made for is for is for: Daylight alive (1987)

Lost at: A-ha, “Daylights Alive”

Pet Shop Boys submitted this demo for a potential theme to Daylight alive, Timothy Dalton’s debut film as 007. The producers eventually opted for a song by Norwegian synth-pop trio A-ha (from “Take On Me”), but the Pet Shop Boys reworked their rejected version in “This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave”, which appeared on their 1990 album Behviour. By the time he was released, Dalton’s short stint as Bond was already over.

Basic ace, “The Goldeneye”

Made for Made for is for is for: Golden eye (1995)

Lost at: Tina Turner, “Golden Eyes”

You probably know the Swedish techno-pop group Ace of Base best from their massive 1993 hit “The Sign”. It’s only natural that the producers wanted to try and capitalize on the success of this song by recruiting them for a Bond theme, but when Tina Turner makes herself available, you go with Tina Turner. Turner’s theme for Pierce Brosnan’s 1995 Bond debut, which was written by U2’s Bono and The Edge, is the obvious choice here. As for Ace of Base, they finally reused their song as “The Juvenile” on their 2002 album. Da Capo.

Pulp, “Tomorrow never lie”

Made for Made for is for is for: Tomorrow never dies (1997)

Lost at: Sheryl Crow, “Tomorrow Never Dies”

Pulp’s “Tomorrow Never Lies” (so named because it was recorded before the film’s title was changed from Lies To Dies) is a great lead, but it failed to stand out in a crowded field of candidates. Leader Jarvis Cocker expressed his frustration with the whole process. “It was strange. They set up some sort of American Idol situation, where they asked nine different artists to come up with a Bond song, ”said Cocker Free time. “They listen to nine different attempts to work ‘tomorrow never dies’ in words. We were told on a Wednesday that the deadline was Friday. Therefore, I was really pissed off when they went with Sheryl Crow instead.

Muse, “Supremacy”

Made for Made for is for is for: Fall from the sky (2012)

Lost at: Adele Skyfall “

Can we still call this one “rejected” if the bond producers never asked for it in the first place? The group lobbied for “Supremacy” to be the Fall from the sky theme, but they did not succeed. “There’s a little whisper to the Bond vibe – it all gets a little crazy ‘Live and Let Die’ in the middle,” drummer Dom Howard said in a 2012 interview with the BBC. “My take is that they should use it for the next James Bond movie, but I don’t know what’s going on with that. Heard Adele does it! Luckily, he was right about that last part, and Adele went on to deliver the best Bond theme of the 21st century. It’s hard to imagine anything else, even this grandiose piece by Muse, coming close to surpassing it.

Radiohead, “Specter”

Made for Made for is for is for: Spectrum (2015)

Lost at: Sam Smith, “The Handwriting is on the Wall”

In one of the silliest moves on the show, Bond producers got the chance to ask Radiohead to play the theme of Spectrum and opted for Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On the Wall” snoozefest instead. Thom Yorke and his company first submitted “Man of War”, an unreleased song written in the 90s, but which was refused because it was not written specifically for the film and therefore would not be eligible for an Oscar. of the best original Song. They went back to the drawing board and came back with “Specter”, but it was dismissed for being “too melancholy”. The decision to cut it was “an absolute nightmare,” according to director Sam Mendes. “We had this beautiful song and we couldn’t use it,” he said. “But it’s kind of cooler for Radiohead to have written a song that hasn’t been used.”

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