The best James Bond themes that never were

Adele's title track for the new 007 film Skyfall is out today – we pore over the best songs that didn't make it onto the credits of James Bond films past

Adele's new James Bond theme Skyfall is out today – check it out here – but for all the Bond themes that made it onto the credits, there are plenty of songs that fell by the wayside for one reason or another. We've gathered the best of the rest – from Johnny Cash to Shirley Bassey herself.

James Bond composer David Arnold started work on this tune for Quantum of Solace, but abandoned it after Jack White and Alicia Keys signed up to write the theme song. He later dusted it off for Shirley Bassey's album The Performance – and enlisted Bond veteran Don Black to write the lyrics.

Borrowing musical motifs from the Quantum of Solace score, and with lyrical references to the film's themes, it's arguably a better fit for the movie than White's effort. And Bassey proves she's still got it, too.

Shirley Bassey – No Good About Goodbye

The Man in Black clearly didn't feel the need to alter his signature style in the slightest for James Bond – and the end result comes across as more Cowboys and Indians than casinos and martinis.

Perhaps that's why it ended up being dropped in favour of Tom Jones' more full-throated effort. Still, Cash wins points for managing to work the film's plot – involving stolen nuclear missiles – into the lyrics.

Short-lived indie outfit Straw pitched this effort to the Bond producers for Pierce Brosnan's third outing as the super-spy. They lost out to Garbage for the honour of the title track, but Straw's tune deserves wider recognition.

The production is oh-so-very 90s, but it's the lyrics where Straw shine – jam-packed with references to the Fleming novels and films, they're a treat for the clued-up Bond fan.

Johnny Cash – Thunderball

Shock-rocker Alice Cooper claims this tune was dropped by the producers in favour of Lulu's raunchy title song – it later popped up on the Muscle of Love album.

A swaggering rock effort in the vein of Wings' Live and Let Die, it certainly conjures up visions of a safari-suited Roger Moore schmoozing his way through a casino, eyebrow shooting towards the ceiling.

Seemingly every 1990s Britpop act lined up to pitch for the title song to Pierce Brosnan's second Bond film, but Pulp's song – still bearing the movie's original title – is the stand-out effort.

Jarvis Cocker's louche lounge lizard persona is a bit of a jarring change from the usual Bond bombast, but he certainly captures 007's jaded quality.

For the best of Bond, check out the November issue of Stuff magazine, out now – where we go behind the scenes of Skyfall with cars and gadgets from the movie, plus a chat with the new Q, Ben Whishaw.

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