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Radiohead’s "Spectre," And 9 Other Rejected James Bond Theme Songs

Radiohead is releasing "Spectre" as a seven-inch single in the U.K. today, joining many other bands who repurposed their Bond castoffs into singles.

  • <p>Daniel Craig as superspy James Bond in <em>Spectre</em></p>
  • 01 /12

    Daniel Craig as superspy James Bond in Spectre

  • 02 /12 | "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" by Dionne Warwick/Shirley Bassey

    Halfway through scoring the film, producer Albert Broccoli decided the film's title must appear in the lyrics, so this song was discarded.

  • 03 /12 | "Thunderball" by Johnny Cash

    Although never officially released, Johnny Cash's "Thunderball" is an intriguing addition to the canon.

  • 04 /12 | "Run James Run" by Brian Wilson

    This would-be Bond theme ended up becoming the title track on the Beach Boys' most beloved album, Pet Sounds.

  • 05 /12 | "The Man with the Golden Gun" by Alice Cooper

    The song eventually surfaced on the band's 1973 album, Muscle of Love.

  • 06 /12 | "For Your Eyes Only" by Blondie

    Dismissed in favor of a Sheena Easton tune, the song eventually showed up on Blondie's 1982 album, The Hunter.

  • 07 /12 | "The Living Daylights" by Pet Shop Boys

    The Boys eventually gave this song an overhaul and released it as "This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave" on their album, Behaviour.

  • 08 /12 | Ace of Base – Goldeneye

    Retitled as "The Juvenile," this song eventually saw a release on the band's 2002 album, Da Capo.

  • 09 /12 | "Tomorrow Never Lies" by Pulp

    Pulp put the song out as a b-side on their 1997 single "Help the Aged", and on the vinyl version of 1998's This Is Hardcore.

  • 10 /12 | "Tomorrow Never Dies" by Saint Etienne

    The song appears on St. Etienne's Built on Sand album.

  • 11 /12 | "Spectre" by Radiohead

    This song is seeing a UK release today as a 7' single.

  • 12 /12 | Sam Smith - "Writing On The Wall"

    Smith won an Academy Award for his Bond theme in 2016.

Imagine telling Radiohead, the band that figured out how to audioize despair and which is having quite a recent resurgence, that their James Bond theme song would not be appearing in the film, Spectre. It probably happened over email, a blow that even the technological paranoia of OK Computer and Kid A could not have foreseen. Ultimately, the decision to discard Radiohead’s "Spectre" over Sam Smith’s dull but Academy Award-winning "Writing On The Wall" is indicative of the film’s meh-plus reception, but at least the world got a new Radiohead song out of it. Now the band is following the footsteps of many other musicians before them, and releasing their castoff Bond theme as a single.

When the Bond Team wants a single, apparently they don’t merely approach Sheryl Crow and say "Sheryl, you simply must write a song for Tomorrow Never Dies, the film in which Denise Richards plays a nuclear physicist." Instead, several bands are given the opportunity to audition for the honor, leaving St. Etienne to eventually put their would-be titular song on a later album, and Pulp to release a B-side called "Tomorrow Never Lies." (Both are jams!) This is a practice that goes back to the earliest days of Bond, and has created many memorable songs over the years.

As Radiohead releases the U.K. seven-inch single for "Spectre" today, take a stroll through the slides above for nine other songs that were shaken out of the running for the official soundtrack but later stirred into some other form of release.

Slideshow Credits: 01 / Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Danjaq, LLC and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.;