Blondie and the James Bond theme, on paper, sound like a match made in heaven. However, the team behind the franchise thought otherwise when they rejected the band’s attempt at creating the theme song for 1981 effort For Your Eyes Only. Remarkably, the project instead opted for Sheena Easton to get the high-profile gig.
The New York group’s attempt at creating a theme for the revered film series is far from a classic Bond song and is very much a typical Blondie track, one which should have made it a perfect choice for the 007’s introduction—but the Bond executives had other ideas.
The band’s uncompromising punk DNA, which has always been one of Blondie’s greatest assets, often gave them that edge over their contemporaries once they found themselves involved in the pop world. On this occasion, however, it would be the very same asset that would prevent them from being put on duties for the illustrious Bond theme.
Blondie recorded their own original song, which Chris Stein and Debbie Harry provided the lyrics for, but it wasn’t what the producers were looking for despite the song being absolutely magnificent. Instead, they wanted Blondie to simply perform the song that had been written by the film’s composer Bill Conti and lyricist Michael Leeson. The band, however, downright refused to do so.
Director John Glen told author Sally Hibbin that he was tasked with making a more gritty Bond film than the previous efforts, a factor which would have made Blondie a perfect match: “We had gone as far as we could into space, we needed a change of some sort, back to the grassroots of Bond. We wanted to make the new film more of a thriller than a romp, without losing sight of what made Bond famous – its humour.”
“They just wanted me to sing on their track,” singer Debbie Harry later recalled and this didn’t sit well with Blondie’s ethos, she added: “We actually wrote a song, our own version, and submitted it.”
Sheena Easton agreed to perform the track rather than write her own version for the film so was instead given the opportunity, one that is undoubtedly the highpoint in her career. The two songs could not be any more different and I think you’ll be able to take a guess at which one we prefer at Far Out.
Listen to both Blondie and Sheena Easton’s ‘For Your Eyes Only’ versions below, decide for yourself which one you prefer.