Why James Bond Rejected Blondie’s Version of ‘For Your Eyes Only’
Blondie were at the height of their fame when John Glen was appointed director of the 12th James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only, in 1981.
The New York punk icons had scored seven Top 40 hits in the preceding two years, including four No. 1 songs: “Heart of Glass,” “Call Me,” “The Tide is High” and “Rapture.”
Meanwhile, the Bond franchise was being steered in a grittier direction than it had gone in some time. It’s clear that a tie-up could make some sense.
“We had gone as far as we could into space,” Glen later told author Sally Hibbin. “We needed a change of some sort, back to the grass roots 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 humor.”
The resulting plot found 007, played by Roger Moore for the fifth time, relying more on his intelligence than on clever gadgets, pursuing a classic cloak-and-dagger action-led spy storyline.
Listen to Blondie's ‘For Your Eyes Only’
Somebody in the production team saw Blondie as a perfect match for the new direction: a band with humor, wit and intelligence all its own, and in the spotlight at the correct moment.
However, as Jon Burlingame noted in his 2012 book The Music of James Bond, the band was only “briefly” considered to deliver the movie theme by composer Bill Conti.
The reason might be simple. "They just wanted me to sing on their track," singer Debbie Harry recalled. That wasn’t acceptable to a group like Blondie. “We actually wrote a song, our own version, and submitted it.," she said.
Watch Blondie Perform ‘From Russia With Love’
While that song was swiftly rejected in favor of Sheena Easton singing the title track, Blondie released their version anyway on 1982's The Hunter.
The album was a flop compared to its recent predecessors and launched a chain of events that led to the band’s breakup. But Blondie's take on the “For Your Eyes Only” concept shows that they had a clear understanding of what a Bond theme needed to be.
They even remained 007 fans. They covered the Goldfinger theme, and, for many years, have included a cover of “From Russia With Love” in their live shows.
Watch Blondie Perform ‘Goldfinger’