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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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!