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The Bond Themes That Never Were

For your ears only, Tom Pheby looks back at the artists who recorded Bond themes only to be told to try another day...

Whilst compiling my recent article on the many Bond themes, I found myself rummaging through a sea of songs that ranged from brilliant to bland. I also discovered a number ditties that never saw the light of day or, for one reason or another, were gratefully declined. Many of them featured iconic artists and high profile names of the day, some of which were surprising and some were downright laughable.

So off we go on a journey through some of the Bond themes that never were. A journey of discovery and disappointment. You choose which is which....

The wonderful Amy Winehouse was picked for Quantum of Solace but was unable to provide anything tangible due to, one assumes, her torturous personal life. It was announced that she would be working with Songwriter/Producer Mark Ronson but after a number of weeks even he realised that the project would never be completed.

Ronson explained,
“We did work on it but we never finished it. I don’t think it will happen unless by some miracle it gets recorded and someone sings on it. I’m not sure Amy is ready to work on music yet.”
A friend told me where I could find a sample of what she had worked on, so off I went assuming that even in her troubled condition it had the potential to be the best Bond song that was never made. I was wrong. Amy sounds like we remember her from her last concerts, an unorganised mess who had basically had lost pitch and tone after constantly abusing herself, what a damn shame!!!

Goldfrapp and Muse also submitted songs for Quantum of Solace, the net seems to have been cast far and wide and of the two Goldfrapp wins hands down. I'm not really a Muse fan but their own offering was a wailing, tortured, cult pop tune that would scare dogs and horses.

Blondie came up with a pasty version of  For Your Eyes Only (a theme eventually sung by Sheena Easton). Thankfully producers decided against Debbie Harry and co, and the track eventually appeared on the bands awful album The Hunter. Harry never had the right voice for a soundtrack of this sort, and she just shrieks and wines her way through what is a really dire song.

The Pet Shop Boys recorded a demo for The Living Daylights, which was later reworked into their album track This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave.

Here's a big surprise. Alice cooper, the snake biting rock God had a go at The Man With The Golden Gun. The result turned out to be a twangy non-event that failed to impress. It's a contrived, painfully boring mess that seems as if it will never end. Who would have thought Alice could do bland?

Pulp, headed by everyone's favourite scruff Jarvis Cocker, offered up their version of the Tomorrow Never Dies theme tune, titled Tomorrow Never Lies, which was actually the films original title. But this wasn't the only near miss, Swan Lee (I'd never heard of the name either) had a trippy bash at the title song, as did Canadian songstress K.D. Lang...

Lang's track, Surrender, must have impressed someone somewhere as it was included over the end credits for Tomorrow Never Dies, but I feel it was worthy of much, much more. Lang managed to return to the more authentic sounding Bond theme which she complemented by virtue of a tremendous pair of lungs, worthy of filling any cinema or stadium. She also added a dollop of star quality which had been missing for many years, and when you listen to the track it's difficult not to appreciate it for its Basseyesque quality.

Talking of Bassey, not satisfied with three Bond tunes to her credit she also recorded Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for Thunderball. And she wasn't the only one...

Bassey's was replaced by Dionne Warwick and this version was to be the theme tune to Thunderball, but United Artists requested that the theme song contain the film's title in its lyrics. So in came Tom Jones, right?

Wrong. First up it's Johnny Cash...

Now I love the Cashster, but the man in black did drop the ball with this one. It's pure Johnny Cash type stuff but it's also the kind of song you might play whilst rounding up wayward cattle. Perfect for a classic western perhaps, not so much for Bond though. It's incredibly dated, and at one point, I must admit, I laughed.

Other artists who came close to providing a Bond theme include; Julie Rogers who attempted You Only Live Twice, before Nancy Sinatra, only to turn in a very poor sounding oriental affair that was instantly forgettable and more suitable for an elevator than a Bond film. Johnny Mathis was the original choice for Moonraker but due to commitments he was unable to complete the track, Bassey was drafted in at the last minute and probably regrets it to this day. And finally, before Tina Turner was given the opportunity to record the theme for GoldeEye, Swedish popsters Ace Of Base were being considered! The group eventually re-recorded their track, replacing the phrase "GoldenEye" with "Juvenile" and released it as a single in 2002...

...A strange choice of artist, to be sure. Thankfully though, producers have never toyed with the idea of having Boyzone, Westlife, Kajagoogoo or Sam Smith record a Bond theme....wait a minute!

Script Writer, Poet, Blogger and junk television specialist. Half English, half Irish and half Alsatian, Tom is well known for insisting on being called Demetri for reasons best known to himself. A former film abuser and telly addict who shamefully skulks around his home town of Canterbury after dark dressed as Julie Andrews. Follow Tom on Twitter

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