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

by Christopher Smith

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…

Tomorrow Never Dies

By the mid-90’s Irish actor Pierce Brosnan was in the driving seat as the fifth 007 and with the return and enormous success of ‘GoldenEye’ (1995), a cool $100m was allocated to make its successor, the eighteenth Bond epic ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (which was to of been titled ‘Tomorrow Never Lies’). Filmed across France, Germany, Great Britain and Thailand, this returned Bond to the high-octane, explosive 007 film that perhaps had not been seen since the mid-80’s, with a fast moving story that never allows the characters too long in one location. With power-hungry media barons as the main focus of the storyline, Bond crosses the globe to put a stop to one media mogul who actually creates the headlines, Elliot Carver (played with deliciousness by Jonathan Pryce). He is aided by Colonel Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) of the New China Freedom Army and Carver’s own wife, a former beau of 007, Paris, played by the smouldering Teri Hatcher.

Pre-production of the film that would become ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ began in mid-1996, while ‘GoldenEye’ was still showing in cinema’s in many parts of the world, but the launch of the next Bond film so soon and with such a high production budget was a tribute to the man who had steered the series from the very beginning, through the many highs and lows and ensured its survival at the end of the twentieth century and assured its presence into the twenty first, Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli. Aged 87 when scripting began and with day-to-day production of the films now in the hands of his daughter Barbara and his step son Michael Wilson, ‘Cubby’ was able to rest, safe in the knowledge that the world’s biggest and most enduring film franchise, which he had been so instrumental in gaining studio approval, was far from finished. So it was with great sadness that ‘Cubby’ passed peacefully away at his home in Beverly Hills on the evening of 27th June 1996, only a few months before Bond18 went before the cameras. The film was dedicated to his memory and both Barbara and Michael agreed that each Bond film, which had always begun ‘Albert R. Broccoli presents’, should remain, slightly adjusted to read ‘Albert R. Broccoli’s Eon Productions presents’.

Even before filming began, there were strong rumours that John Barry was going to return to score the film. His absence on ‘Licence To Kill’ and ‘GoldenEye’ had been felt and despite three years out of action due to ill health, Barry had returned triumphantly in 1990 winning his fifth Academy Award for ‘Dances With Wolves’. His scores for ‘Chaplin’ (1992) and ‘Cry The Beloved Country’ (1995) cemented his place as Britain’s most successful film composer and now the prospect of returning to the film series with which he was best known was too good to be true. In fact it was. In a press statement given in 1997, Barry confirmed that he would not be scoring the next Bond film nor likely to score any further entries in the series. So who would the mantle of the series composer pass to next? Well, British songwriter and composer David Arnold was a lifelong Barry fanatic for a start. He cited his favourite Barry score as ‘You Only Live Twice’ and in 1993 wrote and produced the song “Play Dead”, performed by Bjork, for the film ‘The Young Americans’. Both the song and the score were clearly Bondian in style and sound, so the news that Arnold was to score the next 007 film was greeted with much interest and applause.

Competition to perform the title song was fraught, with twelve artists vying to win the chance to hear their music above a Bond main title sequence, including British group Pulp and singer Marc Almond. The song, “Surrender (Tomorrow Never Dies)” was eventually composed by Arnold and David McAlmont, who had performed on Arnold’s Bond tribute album “Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project”, with lyrics by legendary Bond lyricist Don Black. Originally McAlmont was to of performed the song, but after much searching, it was decided Canadian singer kd Lang should carry the soaring vocal performance off. Lang had come to internationally prominence with her singles “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine”, now that place was to be sealed be joining an exclusive list of artists who had recorded a main title song. So here is that title sequence with the big band opening and kd Lang’s vocals enticing us further into 007 territory:

But as we know, it wasn’t to be. Once again, the producers made a last minute request that a more ‘chart friendly’ artist of the moment should be used. After much overnight searching, American singer Sheryl Crow was invited to come up with a title song. Crow had burst onto the music scene in 1993 with her global smash hit “All I Wanna Do” and had followed this in 1996 with “Everyday Is A Winding Road” and “If It Makes You Happy”. Working with producer Mitchell Froom, Crow recorded her song “Tomorrow Never Dies” and it was instantly accepted and subsequently used as the song for the new 007 film. Fans became and remain divided as to whether the song really ‘cuts’ it as a memorable Bond title song, with many preferring kd Lang’s “Surrender” over it. This is perhaps born out by the fact that it failed to make the UK top ten when released in December 1997 and made no appearance on the US singles chart.

Lang’s song, mercifully, was not scrapped as so many had been in the past. It was instead used over the closing credits to the film which began with the legend ‘In loving memory of Cubby’. ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ confirmed that after thirty five years on the big screen, nobody does it better. So here is the main title sequence to the film as we have always and will always know it, with Sheryl Crow belting out lines like “Until the world falls away” and “Until you say there’ll be no more goodbyes”, “I see it in your eyes…”:

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

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Written by aylshamchris

i L O V E music