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Johnny Cash, The Pet Shop Boys and Ace Of Base: a history of rejected James Bond theme songs

Leading up to the release of SPECTRE earlier this year, there was a lot of speculation over who w...
Newstalk
Newstalk

11.28 29 Dec 2015


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Johnny Cash, The Pet Shop Boys...

Johnny Cash, The Pet Shop Boys and Ace Of Base: a history of rejected James Bond theme songs

Newstalk
Newstalk

11.28 29 Dec 2015


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Leading up to the release of SPECTRE earlier this year, there was a lot of speculation over who would be singing the theme song.

While the title ultimately went to Sam Smith and his supremely average 'Writing's On The Wall', there was rumours that the job almost went to Ellie Goulding, and the very left-field choice of Radiohead.

On Christmas Day, the band confirmed that they had in fact been approached to record the theme song, and as a treat to their fans, they actually released the track.

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Over the years, there have been many great Bond theme songs (as well as a few duds), but there's also been a handful of songs by some very famous artists that never quite made the final cut.

Sean Connery's 1965 outing Thunderball was eventually accompanied by Tom Jones' horn-heavy outing, but both Dionne Warwick and Shirley Bassey had submitted songs, as did Johnny Cash, who served up something that sounds like it would have been much better suited to a spagetti western.

Sheena Easton's incredible theme song for Roger Moore's 1981 outing For Your Eyes Only sounds like a match made in heaven, but producers originally wanted Blondie to sing the song. The band agreed, but promptly pulled out when they weren't given as much creative control as they would have liked, but went on to write and record their own version anyway, releasing it on their 1982 album The Hunter.

Timothy Dalton's first outing as James Bond in 1987's The Living Daylights was almost themed and entirely soundtracked by The Pet Shop Boys, before the song duties finally fell to A-Ha. The Pet Shop Boys reworked their theme song as 'This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave', and we get a taster of what could have been.

With hindsight it seems ridiculous that the James Bond franchise was seen as a risky proposition, but that's exactly what it was when Pierce Brosnan took the role for GoldenEye in 1995. According to a heavily believed rumour, Ace Of Base's label were so fearful that the movie would flop, that they essentially pulled the band from the project. In their place, we got Tina Turner singing a song written by Bono and The Edge, and the rest was history.

Once GoldenEye hit box office gold, there was suddenly a huge desire to be the next act to record a Bond song, something that exists to this day. The first choice for Tomorrow Never Dies was The Cardigans, and while they did record a track, it has yet to be discovered online. Pulp were next in line, and why this was eventually ditched we'll never know (although it could simply be because Sheryl Crow's track was more in keeping with the Bond aesthetic).

Indie dance-pop act Saint Etienne were on the rise in the mid-'90s, and they too submitted a track to go with Tomorrow Never Dies. Once you hear it, you'll fully understand why they decided to give this one a miss, sounding like it's fallen off the back-end of the soundtrack to an Emmanuelle movie.

Short-lived Brit-pop band Straw were approached to soundtrack the next Brosnan Bond outing The World Is Not Enough, and they served up the whiny-sounding 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang'. The movie producers went with Garbage instead, who ultimately delivered something much more bombastic and modern sounding.


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