Radiohead was this close to having their music featured as the theme song for the latest James Bond movie Spectre. So what happened? Well, Sam Smith happened. That meant that the Radiohead song “Spectre” would be discarded and no one probably would have even known it existed, had it not been for a Christmas miracle.
As New York Daily News reported, the band decided to reveal their songs to fans at absolutely no charge. Radiohead singer Thom Yorke also tweeted about the abandoned project.
“Last year, [Radiohead was asked] to write a tune for Bond movie Spectre.”
Yorke added, “Yes, we were.” to his statement as if to combat any potential denials on the part of sources connected with Spectre. It’s an understandable move since rejected Bond themes are rarely discussed. Movie runners may have wanted to give the impression they intended to go with Smith. However, since this song is called “Spectre” and the word is said throughout…it certainly feels like it was meant to be an official theme.
Thanks to Radiohead’s generosity, you can listen to the song below.
The song opens on a haunting note with the piano, which is only amplified by Thom Yorke’s vocals. The song is very disorienting, almost nightmarish. One can only imagine how strong the impact would be if played over a trippy Bond opening featuring nude silhouettes and floating octopuses.
One fan of the band decided to combine the discarded song with the backdrop used for Spectre‘s opening score. Admittedly, the effect was rather cool.
Hearing the song and how well it seems to fit with that sequence makes it kind of hard to fathom how it didn’t work out. Yorke only admits that their efforts “didn’t work out.” Was it because movie runners found out they could get Sam Smith instead? If so, that sounds rather harsh.
Though it’s not like the people behind Spectre are regretting the decision to replace the British rockers with the popular crooner. “Writing On The Wall,” the song that would ultimately be the official Sprectre theme, went on to hit the top of the charts in Britain. However, with the revelation of the haunting and uniquely beautiful “Spectre,” we have to ask whether or not a song associated with this latest James Bond film was destined for the top of the charts anyway.
— The Verge (@verge) December 25, 2015
For their part, Radiohead doesn’t seem to be particularly shaken or stirred up about how things didn’t work for “Spectre.” As Yorke described it, the song “became something of our own, which we love very much.” The song was loved so much that it seemed too much of a waste to let it go unheard by their fans forever.
Although thanks to this act of Christmas kindness, they’ve caused quite a bit of debate on the internet over the weekend as to which song — their’s or Smith’s — should have been used for Spectre.
Hmm. It’s hard to argue against the Sam Smith version, although it’s interesting to note that the Radiohead song seems to fit the movie far better. The reason? It actually mentions the movie title repeatedly — like practically all 007 themes. The music is definitely true to Bond movies, however the lyrics are so separate from the movie that one has to wonder just how last-minute this change was.
Speculation aside, at least now fans of Radiohead have their own version of the Spectre theme to enjoy this Christmas.
In addition to wishing his fans a “Merry Christmas,” Thom also quipped, “May the Force be with you.” Funny, since it turns out that James Bond actor Daniel Craig had a cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
— i-D (@i_D) December 23, 2015
Having heard both “Spectre” and “Writing’s On The Wall,” which do you think is the best fit as the Spectre theme? Share your thoughts below.