Rejected Bond Theme Songs

Over the years, a number of major artists have recorded Bond themes that were rejected by the producers. You can find out about many of these “lost” songs in the excellent BBC documentary JAMES BOND’S GREATEST HITS.
Here are a few of the rejected Bond theme songs, starting below with Johnny Cash’s rejected THUNDERBALL theme played against the THUNDERBALL main title sequence:

Here is Alice Cooper’s rejected theme for THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. He’s interviewed on the “James Bond’s Greatest Hits” documentary and is pretty pissed off that his theme was tossed in favor of Lulu’s awful theme:

Here is Dionne Warwick’s MR. KISS KISS BANG BANG, another rejected THUNDERBALL main title theme. Shirley Bassey also recorded a version of it. Both versions are available on the Best of James Bond CD collection:

Here is Julie Roger’s rejected theme for YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, which is also available on the Best of James Bond CD collection. She’s interviewed on the “James Bond’s Greatest Hits” documentary and talks about her disappointment at being passed over:

Here is Blondie’s rejected theme to FOR YOUR EYES ONLY:

Here is St. Etienne’s rejected theme for TOMORROW NEVER DIES. She’s also interviewed in the documentary and isn’t a fan of Sheryl Crow’s theme:

Here’s Pulp’s rejected theme for TOMORROW NEVER DIES (which they retitled “Tomorrow Never Lies” for their album). They’re also interviewed in the documentary.

Here is Phyllis Hyman’s rejected theme for NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. Hyman isn’t interviewed but Lani Hall and Herb Alpert, who did the final theme, do appear and admit that their winning song wasn’t very good.

Specs Appeal

I don't have the time to gamble on writing a book on spec right now, so I decided to put together a book proposal instead. In fact, that's how I sold MY GUN HAS BULLETS back in the early 90s to St. Martin's Press. 

I've just  finished writing the sample chapters. It's about 35,000 words and, dramatically speaking,  the narrative equivalent of the first act of a three-act movie. It sets up the characters, the stakes and the obstacles ahead. In other words, everything is set in motion. 

Over the next day or so I'll write up a punchy, broad-strokes outline of the rest of the novel. I don't know if the sample chapters are any good, or if my agent will think that the idea is marketable, or if any publisher in this economy will buy the book, but I am as satisified with it  and pleased with myself for meeting my personal deadline of Dec. 1 to get the package done.

Now I'll set those characters aside (if I can) and concentrate on writing my next MONK book.

WGA Slapped Down by NLRB

In April, I chastised the Writers Guild of America for sending out a letter to the membership that instructed us to ostracize the 28 writers who went "financial core" during the strike. I thought the letter was incredibly wrong-headed, reprehensible, and probably unlawful. I said, in part:

"[WGA President Patric Verrone's] letter, and his rallying cry to scorn those writers, harkens back to one of the darkest chapters in entertainment history for writers — the blacklist.  In my view, Patric is asking us to engage in that same, despicable behavior… to exclude these writers from work opportunities because of their political views. While I strongly disagree with what those writers did, I resent the Guild asking me to blacklist them because of it.

[…] I hope the NLRB slaps the WGA with stiff sanctions for this. For the first time since I joined the WGA, I am ashamed of my Guild and its leadership. The WGA Board needs to apologize for what they have done."

Now Variety reports that the National Labor Relations Board has determined that the WGA acted illegally and has ordered a full hearing into the matter before an administrative law judge in the next few months.  Unfortunately, the WGA continues to defend their embarrassing conduct and poor judgment in this matter.

This Is A Very Bad Sign

Publisher's Weekly reports the scary news that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a major NY publisher, has ordered editors to stop acquiring new manuscripts.

Josef Blumenfeld, v-p of communications for HMH, confirmed that the publisher has “temporarily stopped acquiring manuscripts” across its trade and reference divisions. The directive was given verbally to a handful of executives and, according to Blumenfeld, is “not a permanent change.” 

Blumenfeld, who hedged on when the ban might be lifted, said that the right project could still go to the editorial review board. He also maintained that the the decision is less about taking drastic measures than conducting good business.

“In this case, it’s a symbol of doing things smarter; it’s not an indicator of the end of literature,” he said. “We have turned off the spigot, but we have a very robust pipeline.” 

The action by the highly leveraged HMH may also be as much about the company's need to cut costs in a tight credit about the current economic slowdown.

While Blumenfeld dismissed the severity of the policy, a number of agents said they have never heard of a publisher going so far as to instruct its editors to stop acquiring.

I Should Be Appointed Secretary of State Because My Mom Had Her Picture Taken With Gerald Ford

You know how much I like to trash publishing scams. Well, now my brother Tod is jumping into the fray with an expose of BK Nelson Literary Agency and their, um, "qualifications":

I can't think of a better reason to sign with BK Nelson other than she was associated with a law firm that, uh, had a partner whose daughter married Paul McCartney. If anyone can think of a stranger biographical note in an agent's bio, please, forward it to me. It's pretty much the equivalent of me saying you should buy my books because I once worked at a staffing service that sent temps to Disney (which was founded by Walt Disney).

Major Brilliant

I have been loving writer/producer Earl Pomerantz's brilliant and hilarious blog posts about the development of his sitcom MAJOR DAD. Here's an anecdote he shared about working on the pilot with then-CBS President Kim LeMasters:

Here’s something somebody told me I said once about how TV networks behave: “The first thing they say is the last thing they say.” What did I mean by that? I meant this.

During the “casting approval” process, the president of CBS, Kim (a man) had strongly objected to the casting of Shanna Reed as our leading lady. Universal insisted. We got Shanna Reed.

It is now the night before the filming. What is Kim’s primary “note”, besides that the show doesn’t “ring true” to the spirit of the Marine Corps?

“I can’t tell you what to do,” he began, before telling us what to do, “but if I were you, I would close down production and look for another leading lady.”

The Audience for Canadian Shows is Tiny

It doesn't take many viewers to make a show #1 on the CBC in Canada. The series THE BORDER was the highest rated "off-ice" Canadian series last week with 765,000 viewers. The guest appearance of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA's Grace Park is credited with the spike in viewership. According to the TV Feeds My Family blog, there are YouTube videos that are getting bigger audiences than most Canadian series.

The rest of CBC's week went like this: Air Farce Final Flight: 710,000, Dr. Who: 701,000, Rick Mercer Report (repeat): 637,000, Heartland: 625,000, The Tudors: 567,000, Fifth Estate: 526,000, Nature of Things 486,000, Little Mosque on the Prairie: 464,000, This Hour Has 22 Minutes (repeat): 428,000 and, dwindling well below sustainability, Sophie: 280,000.

Among the other Canadian-produced fare last week, CTV's So You Think You Can Dance Canada waltzed off with 1,160,000 viewers (another 888,000 watched the results show Thursday night). Next was ol' reliable Corner Gas at 1,066,000. Global's The Guard was down to 385,000. Well back, making Sophie look like CSI, was Degrassi: The Lost Generation at 222,000 viewers–across Canada. There are more people in Saskatoon!

UPDATE: The previous headline on this post ("The TV Audience in Canada is Tiny") was miss-leading so I have changed it to more accurately reflect what I was trying to say. American shows draw the lion's share of episodic TV viewers in Canada as they do in many European countries.

Mr. Monk is Slightly Less Miserable

The first reviews of MR. MONK IS MISERABLE have started coming in. Publishers Weekly was lukewarm ("This one's likely to divert only die-hard fans of the TV show"), Harriett Klausner loved it (and you know how rare that is), and Mark Baker at Eopinions gave it a rave, so naturally he's the one I'm gonna quote here:

"Those familiar with the TV show know that it is as much comedy as mystery.  That holds true here as well.  I was laughing pretty hard at many things over the course of the book.  There is a sub-plot introduced in the second half that fans of the TV show will especially find hilarious.  It may have been my favorite part of the book, in fact. As any fan of the TV series know, when Mr. Monk is Miserable, we benefit."

In other MONK book news, the German edition of MR. MONK GOES TO GERMA51krmQ3ebbL._SS500_NY came out yesterday and I'm told it is already getting lots of press. The translator of the book tells me that the entire first printing sold out before publication to the people of Lohr, where the book takes place.