Eon Productions had a novel idea for picking the theme song for Tomorrow Never Dies, the 18th James Bond film. Instead of simply commissioning an artist to write a song, the company commissioned numerous famous artists to create a theme, with the studio picking their favourite from the submissions.
Rejected James Bond themes are nothing new. Radiohead famously tried their hand at a theme song for Spectre, but when producers baulked at the melancholic and slow-burning track, Sam Smith stepped in to fill their place. But for Tomorrow Never Dies, Eon were somehow able to convince at least twelve different famous musicians and bands to throw in their best songs in a battle royale to see who would come out on top.
Notable artists who submitted a track for possible inclusion in the film included former Soft Cell frontman Marc Almond, Danish rockers Swan Lee, and English dance-pop outfit Saint Etienne. Composer David Arnold expressed interest in recording a song himself on top of providing the film’s score, but Eon wanted an established name.
Eventually, the studio opted to go with Sheryl Crow’s ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ as the film’s theme. K.D. Lang, who submitted the song ‘Surrender’ for the film, had her song played over the film’s ending credits. But there was another track in the submissions that eventually came to light: ‘Tomorrow Never Lies’ by Britpop leaders Pulp.
When their theme wasn’t chosen, Pulp opted instead to release the song on the B-side of their 1997 single ‘Help the Aged’. Due to the fact that Crow’s song was named after the film’s title, Pulp were initially forced to change their song’s title to ‘Tomorrow Never Lies’, the original working title for the movie. Eventually, the song appeared on the 2006 special edition of their 1998 album This Is Hardcore.
Check out Pulp’s rejected James Bond theme ‘Tomorrow Never Lies’ down below.