This is the twenty-fourth in a series of examinations of music legends and whether they are true or false.
Click here to view an archive of the previous music urban legends.
Let’s do a twist on the last Movie Legends Revealed theme week – this time, we’ll have a theme week HERE based on songs related to movie soundtracks!
MUSIC LEGEND: Alice Cooper’s title track for the film Man with the Golden Gun was rejected by the film’s producers.
Reader Richard wrote in to ask:
Alice Cooper wrote the song “Man with the Golden Gun” (from his 1973 LP “Muscle of Love”) for the upcoming James Bond film with the same name, but it was rejected.
I remember buying and enjoying that album when it came out and was anticipating hearing the song before the movie and was surprised when it wasn’t used. Throughout Cooper’s version there are snippets of the Bond theme and had a Bond feel to it. I’ve since read, over the years that the film producers rejected it, but never found out why.
A large chunk of what Richard says above is true.
A few different artists were approached to possibly perform the title track to the 1974 James Bond film, The Man With the Golden Gun.
Alice Cooper (who we were just talking about last week) was one of those artists.
His entry ended up appearing on his 1973 album, Muscle of Love…
The entry they ended up using was a rather lackluster performance by Lulu (we were just talking about her!)…
Rumors have abounded since then that Cooper’s version was rejected for any number of reasons.
However, that was not the case.
By the time Cooper had his song ready for consideration, they had already signed a contract with Lulu!
So Cooper was not rejected, he was simply never given a chance.
I don’t know how long it took him to finish the song (from the sounds of it, he put a LOT of effort into it) – perhaps it was an unreasonable amount of time?
Either way, his song did not appear in the film not because it was rejected, but because the other song had already been chosen by the time he offered his song up as a choice.
Thanks to Alice Cooper’s auto-biography, Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock ‘n’ Roller’s Life and 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict for the information!
MUSIC LEGEND: “Unchained Melody” was actually the melody to the film Unchained!
STATUS: True (I appear to have accidentally had “False” there initially)
We as a music-listening audience are so used to song titles that don’t seem to make any sense (“Rainy Day Women #12 and #35,” as a for instance) that a song like “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers has been accepted pretty easily, despite the fact that there is no mention of the word “unchained,” or heck, “chains” even, anywhere in the song.
As it turns out, that is because the song actually came out years before the Righteous Brothers got a hold of it, when it was the title track of the 1955 prison film, Unchained!!
As I discussed in the last Movie Legends Revealed, during the 1950s, buoyed by the success of the main song from High Noon, movie studios began to demand that songwriters come up with a “hit” song that they could get played on the radio to hype their movie.
It was with this in mind that the good folks at Warner Brothers approached songwriters Alex North and Hy Zaret to come up with a main song for the film. Trying to come up with a romantic song for a prison movie was difficult, but they eventually decided on the idea of a man trapped in prison dreaming of his love, separated from him by bars.
And when you look at the song in that context, it totally works…
Oh, my love
I’ve hungered for your touch
a long lonely time
And time goes by so slowly
and time can do so much
are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
Godspeed your love to me
The film was a total bomb at the box office, but the song was big enough to spring a number of minor hits by a few different artists, and a Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song (it lost to a similarly mercenary composition, the title track to Love Is a Many Splendored Thing).
Over the next few years, the song would pop up on various albums by various artists, but it wasn’t until a decade later that the Righteous Brothers had their classic version.
So there you go! Now you know what the title of “Unchained Melody” means!
MUSIC LEGEND: “Danger Zone” was originally going to be a Toto song!
The popular hit “Danger Zone” had an interesting journey on its way to becoming a hit song for Kenny Loggins!
The songwriting team of Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock wrote the song (the same fellows who wrote “Take My Breath Away”) for the film Top Gun, and they initially offered the song to popular 1980s rocker Bryan Adams.
Adams (who hails from Canada) turned down the song, and went so far as to disallowe the use of another one of his songs for Top Gun, due to the content of Top Gun, which he felt was basically a big piece of propaganda for the United States military.
The popular pop group Toto were in negotiations at the time to have another song on the soundtrack of the film, so they were lined up to be the next to take a crack at “Danger Zone.” However, the agreement to use their “Only You” for the film fell through, and the failure of that song lead to Toto abruptly pulling out of performing this song.
So now the producers had a song ready to go, but no singer!
Luckily, singer Kenny Loggins was already in studio recording HIS entry for the album (“Playing With the Boys”), so he was able to move over and, well, the rest is history!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.com