10 rejected James Bond themes
28 September 2021, 18:59
As Billie Eilish becomes the youngest artist to ever record a theme song for the action thriller franchise, let's take a look at some of the legends who almost made an appearance under those famous titles.
Pulp - Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The Britpop Bond? It almost came to pass when composer David Arnold got the gig when longterm Bond soundtrack legend John Barry couldn't agree financial terms to make a comeback to the series. A number of artists auditioned songs, including Marc Almond, Saint Etienne and our very own Jarvis Cocker and Pulp. Ultimately, Sheryl Crow got the gig.
Tomorrow Never Dies Opening with Pulp
Radiohead - Spectre (2015)
Thom Yorke and co made a decent effort of soundtracking the twenty-fourth Bond movie, but the producers thought it was too melancholy (what did they expect?), so Sam Smith stepped in. Radiohead later gave away their song as a free download on Christmas Day 2015, so it all worked out OK in the end.
Spectre (2015) Main Title with Radiohead Song & Credit
Muse - Supremacy (2012)
Dom Howard petitioned bravely for this track from The 2nd Law to be used as the Skyfall theme song, but they gave the honour to Adele instead. Nice try, lads.
Muse - Supremacy (Official Video)
Pet Shop Boys - The Living Daylights (1987)
The Bond series was in transition as the 80s began to fade, with a new actor in Timothy Dalton after Roger Moore's successful run. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe demoed some tunes for the producers, but they went with A-ha instead. One of the ideas later became the PSBs song This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave.
Pet Shop Boys - Living Daylights (Demo Version)
Ace Of Base - GoldenEye (1995)
It happened. Swedish pop act Ace Of Base were best known for their hit All That She Wants and submitted an idea for the seventeenth official Bond. But the band's management though Bond was on the way out and decided against this disastrous career move, so Bono and The Edge ended up writing a song for Tina Turner instead.
Rejected Goldeneye Theme - "The Goldeneye" by Ace of Base (Demo Version)
Blondie - For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Debbie Harry wasn't best pleased when she realised that she was being employed to front a Bond tune alone - she thought they wanted the whole band Blondie and that's what they got. The song was rejected in favour of flavour-of-the-month Sheena Easton, the Scottish singer who'd broken through that year thanks to a reality TV documentary.
Blondie - For Your Eyes Only
Alice Cooper - The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Following the success of Live And Let Die from Paul McCartney & Wings the previous year, for the 1974 entry in the series the producers auditioned glam rockers Alice Cooper (still a band and not yet the name of Mr Vince Furnier) to come up with a suitable tune. In the end, the piece was rejected in favour of a different song by Lulu, who was probably not as scary.
Man with the Golden Gun
Straw - The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Who? That's probably what the film producers thought when this Bristol Britpop band pitched their own tune for Bond 19 in 1999. The accolade went to the slightly better-known Garbage and poor old Straw called it a day a couple of years later. We salute them.
Rejected The World Is Not Enough Theme - "The World Is Not Enough" by Straw
Johnny Cash - Thunderball (1965)
The Man In Black was ultimately bumped in favour of Welsh yelper Tom Jones, who was riding high with his hit It's Not Unusual when Thunderball came along in 1975.
Thunderball Opening with Johnny Cash
Julie Rogers - You Only Live Twice (1967)
This British singer had a Top 10 hit in 1964 with The Wedding and recorded a tune for the fifth Bond, but she was given short shrift when the world-famous Nancy Sinatra came along. Nancy's dad never recorded a Bond theme, which is a surprise.
"You Only Live Twice" Opening w/ music by Julie Rogers