Spectre title sequence

MOVIES: The Bond Themes That Never Were: ‘Spectre’

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…


In 2005 Daniel Craig became the sixth actor to play James Bond and the following year Bond was back in a massive reboot with Ian Fleming’s first novel Casino Royale. The film was an enormous success and die hard Fleming fans who had switched off from the cinematic Bond for many years were back in their millions. The trend continued with another Fleming story ‘Quantum Of Solace’ in 2008 and in 2012 with the colossal ‘Skyfall’, the first Bond film to surpass a billion dollars at the box office and becoming the biggest grossing British film of all time. For his fourth outing as 007, Craig was blessed with the return of Fleming’s most famous villainous cartel S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) and its supreme leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Armed with an enormous budget of $245m the producers set out to make an epic with epic stunts and epic special effects like never before. With director Sam Mendes back from his Oscar and BAFTA award winning success with ‘Skyfall’ along too came composer Thomas Newman (1955-), who had won both Grammy and BAFTA awards for the previous picture together with an Academy Award nomination for Best Score. Newman’s style was traditional and very Barry-esque and won great critical and audience acclaim. For ‘SPECTRE’ Newman composed any number of superb themes, in fact far more incidental music was composed for this film than any previous Bond film.

British band Radiohead, who had achieved six consecutive million-selling albums in America during the late 1990’s and early 00’s, were commissioned to write the title song and went back to their earlier material from the 90’s without even entering the studio! The song “Man Of War” was written for their 1997 album “Ok Computer” but didn’t make the final cut. The song was rejected as it had not been specifically written for the new film. SO the group went away and wrote a new composition with the film’s title in mind. Submitting “Spectre” the group had come up with a haunting and beautiful epic that would perfectly accompany the close of the pre-credits sequence and Daniel Kleinman’s main titles. So here are those titles with Radiohead’s song “Spectre” – see how well it fits in with its surroundings:

But…”Spectre” was rejected as being “too melancholy”. Late in the day (September 2015) after much searching, it was announced that British singer Sam Smith had been hired to write and perform the title song. Smith had debuted the previous year with the album “In the Lonely Hour”, which would sell over twelve million copies globally. Working with producer Jimmy Napes, Smith found it difficult to write a song called “Spectre” and eventually the pair would come up with the song “Writing’s On The Wall”. Success! This time the song was accepted and when released in late September 2015, it topped the UK singles chart becoming the first James Bond song to do so (Duran Duran and Adele had both peaked at No.2). The single would chart high across most of the rest of the world but stall at No.71 in the US.

Nevertheless, it would go on to win an Academy Award, the second for a 007 song after Adele’s “Skyfall”, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. So here is the main title sequence for ‘SPECTRE’ as we saw it when the film was released in October 2015 with Sam Smith singing “Writing’s On The Wall”:

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

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