With more than 50 years of cinematic history under his belt, it’s fair to say 007 has a shedload of trivia for fans to chew over – one of which is the number of rejected Bond themes that never made it to the big screen.
Aside from who’s actually playing the British spy, everyone gets obsessed over the artist crooning the tune to accompany the dazzling credits sequence.
Many have penned tracks for Bond over the years, and even recorded them (alas, Amy Winehouse didn’t get that far) in a bid to get one of cinema’s prestige musical spots.
If you’re not familiar with the rejected Bond themes, here are (00)7 of them to give you an idea of what could’ve been…
Radiohead – Spectre
The most recent (and probably most famous), Radiohead were invited to pen a track for Daniel Craig’s Spectre, only to be overlooked in favour of Sam Smith’s drab Writing’s on the Wall. The rock group were happy with their moody, atmospheric track (even if Bond bosses weren’t) and decided to release it online themselves on Christmas Day 2015.
Johnny Cash – Thunderball
Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger set the template for what a Bond theme should sound like in the mid-60s, so quite what producers were thinking asking Johnny Cash to do a country-tinged Thunderball tune we’ll never know. This is pure, 100% Cash, with lyrics like “they shudder at the fury of the mighty Thunderball”.
Ace of Base – GoldenEye
Remember how Ace of Base were massive in the 90s? Well, they were big enough to almost soundtrack Pierce Brosnan’s first 007 outing. Their tune for GoldenEye was overlooked in favour of Tina Turner’s, but they released it anyway under the name The Juvenile.
Pulp – Tomorrow Never Lies
Jarvis Cocker’s Pulp came up with this offering for Tomorrow Never Dies (recorded when the film was called Tomorrow Never Lies), but the gig eventually went to the more internationally-recognised Sheryl Crow. Pulp also recorded a creepy-as-hell cover of Octopussy theme All Time High, which is well worth a listen.
Alice Cooper – The Man with the Golden Gun
After Paul McCartney & Wings delivered a classic Bond tune for Live and Let Die, producers turned to Alice Cooper in a bid to get a similarly rock-tastic number for The Man with the Golden Gun. It’s maybe not a Cooper classic, but a lot better than the Lulu song that eventually soundtracked the film.
Pet Shop Boys – The Living Daylights
The British synth group were invited to compose the song for Timothy Dalton’s debut outing, but bailed when they weren’t allowed to write the entire soundtrack score. The duo were never going to displace John Barry at the Bond helm, so all that remains of their work is the above instrumental.
Blondie – For Your Eyes Only
Blondie were one of the biggest acts of the 80s, so it was only natural to see them linked to Bond. They recorded this disco-style track for Roger Moore’s For You Eyes Only, but were snubbed in favour of Sheena Easton.