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Tina Turner nearly didn’t sing GoldenEye theme after Bono sent her ‘the worst’ demo: ‘It was really rough’

‘This song, I didn’t even know what key to practice it in,’ singer recalled in 2018

Isobel Lewis
Thursday 25 May 2023 06:35 BST
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Legendary singer Tina Turner dies aged 83

Tina Turner, the legendary singer and voice behind one of the greatest James Bond themes of all time, has died aged 83.

The “What’s Love Got to Do with It” singer died on Wednesday (24 May) at her home in Switzerland after a long illness, her representative announced.

“Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock’n’Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland,” their statement read.

“With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”

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Throughout her lengthy and successful musical career, Turner released hit records as both a solo performer, and with her ex-husband Ike Turner.

In 1995, she recorded one of her best-known songs, the titular theme for GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as 007 agent Bond.

However, Turner very nearly wasn’t the voice of “GoldenEye”, after originally dismissing a “really rough” demo sent to her by the track’s songwriters, U2’s Bono and The Edge.

Turner, pictured in 1997, initially said no to the demo (AFP via Getty Images)

Initially, Depeche Mode had been in line to perform the Bond theme, but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts. Ace of Base were also considered.

With Turner featuring a resurgence in popularity following the success of the Oscar-nominated 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It about her life, Bond producers were keen to get her on board to sing the song.

Bono and The Edge, who felt they needed to shake things up with U2, wrote a demo of “GoldenEye” and sent it to Turner.

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Although, despite her being a big fan of the band, the singer turned down the track, recalling in a 2018 interview: “Bono sent me the worst demo. He kind of threw it together as if he thought I wasn’t going to do it. This song, I didn’t even know what key to practice it in!”

However, Bono was desperate to make the track work and personally reached out to Turner, imploring her to say yes.

“It was unbelievable, what I was sent here,” she remembered, “but, you know, you have to step into the shoes and learn it. And then I sang it how I would sing it, and even Bono was impressed.

“I actually had to come out of myself to make it a song. I’d never sung a song like that before, so it really gave me creativity in terms of making something out of something that was really rough, very rough.”

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