The Bond Themes That Could Have Been

Adele: we’d been expecting her. Nobody was too surprised when the woman with the best-selling musical release of last year was officially announced as Skyfall’s Bond girl. Her theme song premieres early tomorrow morning at – when else? – 00:07, but we’ve already heard a snippet leaked online and the signs are good: strings to make John Barry swoon and Adele’s voice on fine form. The only people bound to be upset are Muse, who had suggested that their new track ‘Supremacy’ would have made an ideal Bond theme.

As much fun as it would have been to hear Matt Bellamy’s histrionics over some iconic opening graphics, it was about time 007 returned to the Shirley Bassey school of classic belted Bond themes like ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ rather than the rockier tracks chosen since Daniel Craig took over that famous tuxedo. Jack White might be a bona fide guitar genius and we all love a bit of Soundgarden, but Chris Cornell’s ‘You Know My Name’ and White’s collaboration with Alicia Keys on ‘Another Way To Die’ are hardly classic entries in the Bond canon.

Still, Muse can console themselves with the fact that they’re not the first people to miss out on the coveted Bond job. Back in 1965, Johnny Cash submitted a song he hoped could become the theme song for Thunderball. As much as I love the original Man In Black, I can’t help but be relieved the producers chose Tom Jones instead. Cash’s theme is less Savile Row suits and more Rawhide cowboy chaps:

Another Bond hopeful was Alice Cooper, who submitted this unpolished slab of bar-room rock for The Man With The Golden Gun. Not his finest 2 minutes 45, and Bond did well to escape this particular fate:

If there’s one person who must feel cheated about being passed over as a Bond girl though, it’s Debbie Harry. Blondie’s submission for 1981’s For Your Eyes Only was included on their album ‘The Hunter’ but here’s what it would have looked like over the credits:

While Jarvis Cocker is just as much of a quintessential British man as James Bond, it’s maybe not surprising that the Bond producers passed over Pulp’s submission for Tomorrow Never Dies. Recorded under the film’s original name, ‘Tomorrow Never Lies’, this knowing, self-aware song would have been a departure from the Bond theme’s typical bombast:

So Muse shouldn’t feel too hard done by at not being granted their licence to thrill. Many great bands have taken a shot, but only a few hit the target. Still, there’s always the next film. Never say never (again).

Originally published by NME.