Man With The Golden Gun titles

MOVIES: The Bond Themes That Never Were: ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’

The Bond songs that should of been but were replaced at the last minute!

In this series, we take a look at the songs recorded for the James Bond films that were binned and replaced with something else. The how’s, the when’s and the why’s will all be answered. Some of the songs were featured elsewhere in their respective films, others were completely dumped. In this part we look at the song that should of accompanied the title sequence to…

The Man With The Golden Gun

‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ was the ninth 007 feature produced and the second to star Roger Moore as James Bond, filmed and released in 1974. By now budgets were lingering anywhere between $7-8 million and venturing into farther and never before seen territory. ‘Golden Gun’ was Ian Fleming’s last story written before his untimely death in August 1964 and dealt with a small time KGB thug by the name of Francisco Scaramanga. When published posthumously in 1965 it was met with lukewarm adulation from the critics and subsequently did not sell as previous books had done.

A decade later, the screenwriters liberally binned the vast majority of the novel for a more ‘exciting’ plot with Scaramanga now a freelance killer who charges $1m a kill. A man who lives in opulence and luxury on a remote island in the south China sea, who enjoys only the best in food and drink and also sexy women. An equal of Bond himself in every respect. To counter the new urbane and laid-back James Bond, the producers cast a giant heavyweight villain to bring the new Scaramanga to life, one who also happened to be Fleming’s step cousin, Christopher Lee. With filming largely being centred on a remote, and at that time, undiscovered part of southern Thailand, Phang Nga Bay, John Barry crafted the score to his seventh 007 film with a Far East flavour.

When it came to the title song, American rocker Alice Cooper (born 1948) wrote and submitted a title song for the film. Cooper had just had a massive hit around the world with “Schools Out For Summer” and was looking to cement this with a key track that was associated with a successful and well known film across the globe. Cooper’s “The Man With The Golden Gun” was a typical mid-70’s glam rock affair with more than a nod to the lifestyle and notoriety of the film’s title character. So here is veteran Maurice Binder’s title sequence for the film, as it should of been, had things worked out, with Alice Cooper performing the title song he submitted:

But as we know, thing’s don’t always work out as expected. Cooper’s “The Man With The Golden Gun” was rejected and, at the last minute, a new song was written by Barry and Don Black (he of “Thunderball” and “Diamonds Are Forever”) with Scottish singer Lulu (also born in 1948) performing it. Once again, some very dubious lyrics were bound “love is required, whenever he’s hired, he comes just before the kill”! And “his eye may be on you or me, who will he bang? We shall see”! Lulu had begun 1974 with a credible recording of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” and would end it with another man, this one had a golden gun. While the film was a huge success across much of the world, American audiences seemed less keen on this entry in the series that any previous films. Audience attendance and box office receipts were half that of its predecessor ‘Live And Let Die’ and unfortunately the song suffered, failing to chart at all in The States and barely registering elsewhere.

Although Alice Cooper’s “Man With The Golden Gun” was rejected, it didn’t go unreleased and featured on his 1974 album “Muscle Of Love”.

So here is the main title sequence to ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ as we’ve always known it to be, with Lulu singing the smutty title song and the golden gun itself caressing and teasing naked women’s bodies freely and quite literally:

Click here to read about the other title songs in this series

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