In 1974 Alice Cooper released a concept album of sorts called “Muscle of Love.” It was the last album recorded by the original band and it came packaged in a corrugated cardboard box rather than a typical record sleeve. The 3/4” cardboard box promised all sorts of illicit and naughty things — especially after the School’s Out cover a few years earlier resembled an old fashioned school desk with a 12" record inside wrapped in a pair of girl’s paper panties. Try and package a CD that creatively! (According to Wickipedia, the original School’s Out LP was recalled because the panties were not flame-retardant(??!!))
All teenage prurience aside, what was really interesting to me was the band’s blatant attempt to land the theme song for the next James Bond movie with their heavy-metal spy-themed rocker, “The Man With the Golden Gun.” Paul McCartney & Wings had just had a huge hit with “Live and Let Die” so I suppose Alice thought if they could do it, he could do it too. If you write and record it, they will use it, right? Wrong. Apparently the song was rejected outright. Which is too bad, because I’ve always thought it was much better than the song they ended up using by Lulu. Not that I have anything against Lulu — To Sir With Love is one of my all-time favorite cinematic guilty pleasures.
So this got me thinking… in light of the controversy swirling around the theme song for the new Bond film which I saw tonight (originally Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson were tapped to record the song for the opening credits of Quantum of Solace. After they failed to deliver, Jack White and Alicia Keys contributed “Another Way to Die”), I wondered how many other Bond films featured similar recording histories. Turns out—in a fascinating article printed by The Guardian called “For Your Ears Only”—quite a few. I listened and enjoyed them all (you have to hear the song Johnny Cash recorded on spec for Thunderball), but the Happy Medium Song of the Day is still going to be “The Man With the Golden Gun” by Alice Cooper.