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…
For Your Eyes Only
‘For Your Eyes Only’ was the twelfth production James Bond film made by Eon, filmed from October 1980 to March 1981 and the fifth to star Roger Moore as James Bond. Filmed mostly in Europe, in Greece and Italy at a cost of $18m, ‘For Your Eyes Only’ was directed by long standing editor John Glen, who would ultimately direct all five 007 films made and released in the 1980’s.
After the excess of ‘Moonraker’ (1979) had blasted James Bond into space and to the top of the global box office chart once again, the producers and screenwriters took 007 back to his roots in a gritty espionage thriller devoid of gadgets, allowing Bond to rely on his common sense and wit to outrun the villains this time around. For Bond fans and cinema goers around the world this was welcome news as was the prospect of Moore giving a straight-down-the-middle performance as Fleming had written the character, unafraid to kill if he needed and pushing himself to the limit to save the world from tyranny.
John Barry was unavailable to score the film working as he was on the scores to ‘Somewhere In Time’, ‘Raise The Titanic’ and ‘Body Heat’ all at the same time! Instead, American composer Bill Conti (born 1942) assumed the baton for this film. Conti was best known for scoring ‘Rocky’ in 1976 and its sequel ‘Rocky II’ in 1979, receiving an Academy Award nomination for the song “Gonna Fly Now” for the former. Conti’s score for ‘For Your Eyes Only’ was of its time using keyboards and synthesizers instead of strings and brass to create mood and atmosphere. For the major action sequences and chases, disco and pop was used to accompany the chase, making this film more accessible to those who followed this new and rising style of music.
‘For Your Eyes Only’ both looked and sounded fresh for the beginning of Bond’s third decade on the silver screen and it obviously worked as Conti would receive a second Oscar nomination for it. For the title song, he turned to the big group of the moment, Blondie, who fashioned a typical Blondie-esque theme song for the film that both feels and sounds Bondian, and oh how Debbie Harry’s vocal fit this number so well! So here is the title sequence to ‘For Your Eyes Only’ as it was planned, with the majesty of Blondie’s title song pulling us in to the world of 007:
But…it wasn’t to be! The producers wanted a song written by Conti in keeping with his electro-score and so a new “For Your Eyes Only” was written with Mick Leeson and produced by Christopher Neil. They chose the newest and fastest rising artist in the charts, Sheena Easton to perform the song. 22 year old Scottish born Easton had topped the charts with “9 To 5 (Morning Train)” the previous year and was seen as someone to carry the new sound of 007 to the younger generation. When released as a single, “For Your Eyes Only” went to No.4 in the US and No.8 in the UK as well as making the top ten in a further fourteen countries around the world including a number one placing in Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. The song became the biggest 007 hit since “Nobody Does It Better” four years earlier and like that song, was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, the third 007 tune to do so.
But more than that, legendary titles designer Maurice Binder was so impressed with Sheena’s beauty that he used as part of the main title sequence itself! To date, Sheena Easton remains the only title song performer ever to appear in a Bond main title visual singing their own song. She does so with fish and the usual silhouettes floating by her as she warbles lines like “for your eyes only can see me through the night”! So here is the title sequence for ‘For Your Eyes Only’ as we know it, with Sheena Easton not only singing the song, but doing so on screen at the same time!: