Saturday, 19 December 2015

For Your Ears Only: The Almost Bond Themes

ITV broadcast a special last night entitled The Nation's Favourite Bond Theme. A poll of the top 20 favourite Bond themes as voted for by the nation (Really? I didn't know about it!) It was a bizarre mix; Another Way To Die came in last at number 20, fair enough. But then you realise that other, worthy themes, didn't even make the list at all (such as Moonraker, and of course the oft-maligned but really rather harmless and sweet All Time High from Octopussy failed to chart too) and you have to wonder at the sanity in compiling this list. Especially when Madonna's Die Another Day beat Garbage's The World Is Not Enough

The final four, should anyone be interested, was Nobody Does It Better, Goldfinger, Live and Let Die and Skyfall - a case of the most recent (the poll was conducted before Sam Smith's Writing On The Wall was released) being at the fore of people's memory or of the Oscar winning theme getting the correct recognition? You decide.

Anyway, this rather fun but basic info'd, trivial 90 minutes entertainment reminded me of the Bond themes that could have been. Those near misses that established acts put forward for consideration but were ultimately rejected. Such as....

Thunderball by Johnny Cash. 

It ultimately went to Tom Jones, though John Barry had  unsuccessfully pushed for his Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang to be the film's main theme which can be heard here by Shirley Bassey and Dionne Warwick  

You Only Live Twice by Lorraine Chandler.

You Only Live Twice by Julie Rogers.

Both were ultimately passed over for Nancy Sinatra.

The Man With The Golden Gun by Alice Cooper.

Unfortunately they opted for Lulu, a dirge-like effort from the usually reliable John Barry and Don Black. Barry was very busy at the time with other projects, and I think it shows with the finished result.

For Your Eyes Only by Blondie.

Debbie Harry and Bond would have been a match made in heaven. I don't know why they didn't go with this, but Sheena Easton's theme is very strong, fitting the film like a glove. But this really is a missed opportunity.

This Must Be The Place I've Waited Years To Leave by The Pet Shop Boys.

This track was a reworking of the boys mooted offering for The Living Daylights. John Barry, who found working with a-ha difficult, seemed more keen on two by Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders - Where Has Everybody Gone which he used several times in the actual film, and If There Was A Man which plays over the closing credits. The former is blocked on YT in the UK for some reason but you can hear Barry's instrumental in the following clip

The Goldeneye by Ace of Base

I love this mooted GoldenEye theme. It's very 90s, fall of the Iron Curtain and has a sort of Nintendo soundtrack vibe. They went with Tina Turner, with lyrics by Bono and The Edge, whilst Ace of Base reworked this song to become The Juvenile.

Tomorrow Never Dies by Saint Etienne 

Tomorrow Never Lies by Pulp

Shadows of the Big Man by Chris Rea

Tomorrow Never Dies by Swan Lee

Surrender by KD Lang

The competition to be the official theme to Tomorrow Never Dies was hotly contested. All of the above were in the running but ultimately Sheryl Crow won the race, with KD Lang coming an honest and respectable second, having her effort played over the closing credits. Note that Pulp's offering uses the film's original working title, Tomorrow Never Lies. Dies was a misprint that the film makers eventually adopted and ran with because it sounded more Bondian.

The World Is Not Enough by Straw

Only Myself To Blame by Scott Walker.

Straw's offering is self explanatory, but Walker's I'm less sure of; some cite it as being for The World Is Not Enough, whilst others point to Die Another Day. Wait, they may have opted for Madonna over Scott Walker??

No Good About Goodbye by Shirley Bassey

And if you though snubbing Walker was bad, can you believe they turned down Shirley Bassey for the caterwauling Jack White and Alicia Keys??

1 comment:

  1. Many of these are new to me. "If There Was a Man" by Chrissie Hynde is a great find, I had forgotten about that one from end credits, so thanks for that. As a Dane-Brit, I'm familiar with Swan Lee's.