The 007 Best Rejected James Bond Songs

Hello everyone! I hope you have been enjoying our month long fun with James Bond movies on The Last Action Podcast. Today I wanted to share with you the top 007 (see what I did there) Bond songs that were rejected for a film. Some of them are better than the song they went with in my opinion. Give them a listen, and share what you think on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter), our Discord channel, or respond below!

1. The Man With the Golden Gun - Alice Cooper

Let me say this - The Man With the Golden Gun song by Lulu is god awful. I have no idea what they were thinking to go with this tune. John Barry, who wrote the song, agreed, saying “It’s the one I hate the most”. Alice Cooper had his version rejected. Listen to it, and agree with me that the producers were crazy. The Cooper song is so good!


2. Thunderball - Johnny Cash

As discussed on the episode we released a few weeks ago, Johnny Cash submitted this song to Eon Productions for hope that it would be used as the theme for the film. The song was ultimately rejected. Maybe because it was too Bonanza-sounding? The lyrics are a loose description of the film, as Cash states that:

“There’s a man who could stop the thing in time, he is known by very few but he’s feared by all in crime. By courage and by fighting, he has not been known to fall, but neither has the fury of the mighty Thunderball”


3. Spectre - Radiohead

Radiohead is one of my favorite bands. They are one of the most innovative bands in the last 25 years. However, they are not very commercial, and they will not compromise their writing to be so. While this is a great song, I can see why the producers went with Sam Smith’s “Writing on the Wall” - it’s definitely a more commercial choice. Once Radiohead found out their song wasn’t being used, they released it on Soundcloud on Christmas Day, 2015.


4. For Your Eyes Only - Blondie

I don’t mind the Sheena Easton song, but Blondie is pretty awesome. More heavy hitting, good twangy guitars, it would have been a great fit for the era. Maybe it’s missing some brass, but that’s ok.


5. Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Shirley Bassey

Just off of her famous hit “Goldfinger” that reached No.8 on the Billboard Chart in 1964, Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was supposed to be the featured song for Thunderball. As the story goes, there were some issues with Bassey’s singing on the cut (I can’t hear any issues personally), so they had Dionne Warwick re-record the track with a longer instrumental intro so that the lyrics didn’t begin until after the film showed the title of the film. Bassey threatened to sue, and so neither version was used, even though there are instrumental versions of the song throughout the film. This all led John Barry to rush into the studio and write up a song titled Thunderball that Tom Jones would perform. Fun note: According to an NPR interview with John Barry, “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is what Italians called James Bond.

Here is the Dionne Warwick version too (with the longer instrumental in the beginning):


6. Run James Run - The Beach Boys

This song has a strange story tied to it. In 1966, The Beach Boys, under the mastermind Brian Wilson, released one of the most influential albums in history, “Pet Sounds”. The album has some great songs, like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “Sloop John B.” and “God Only Knows”. In addition, it had two instrumental tracks, one of which was named “Pet Sounds”. This song originally had the name “Run James Run” because Wilson wrote it with the intention of it being a Bond song one day. He claims that he loved the movie Thunderball, and so he wanted to try his hands at a Bond song. Listen to it here - I feel it could have worked, but is a good song either way.


7. The World Is Not Enough - Straw

Straw is an English pop band that I have never heard of except for this song. The song sounds very Radiohead, which is probably why I really like it. It sounds very James Bond, with the brass hits and guitar. In the end, the song by Garbage was chosen and is liked by many, but personally I prefer this song to what they went with.

Happy listening!