Spectre

Album: Single release only (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • Sam Smith was not the only artist that was asked to submit a theme song for the James Bond movie Spectre. Radiohead were also asked to come up with a track, but ultimately, the producers opted for Smith's "Writing's On The Wall" as the signature tune. This moody orchestral ballad is Radiohead's effort, which they made available as a free download on Soundcloud as a Christmas present for their fans.

    Singer Thom Yorke wrote on Twitter: "Last year we were asked to write a theme tune for the Bond movie Spectre. Yes we were. It didn't work out, but became something of our own, which we love very much. As the year closes we thought you might like to hear it. Merry Christmas. May the force be with you."
  • Guitarist Jonny Greenwood was phlegmatic about the song being rejected by the Bond producers. "It wasn't right for the film, what we did," he told BBC 6 Music's Matt Everitt. "So we thought 'Great! Then it's ours. So we can finish it how it's meant to be and we can release it.' So that side of it was really positive, you know?"

    "But I guess there's lots of people interested in who does it," Greenwood continued. "There's a lot riding on it, and the song we did was just too dark or whatever, so that's fine. Which means we get to have it back and it's ours and we got to put it out. We're really, really proud of it. Why be, like, attached to an old-fashioned idea of what a James Bond thing was and it being a big deal? It's like it's sort of stupid to get worked up about, really."
  • The song was included as a bonus track on the special edition box-set of A Moon Shaped Pool.
  • Thom Yorke gave the song its live debut during a solo show at Teatro Verdi in Florence on May 28, 2018. He performed a more sparse version, stripping the track right back.

    Six weeks later, Radiohead gave the song its full band live premiere during their concert at Chicago's United Center on July 7, 2018.

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