Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
By the time the Bond franchise had reached its 18th incarnation in 1997 with Tomorrow Never Dies, the coveted opportunity to provide the title track was chosen through a competitive tender process. There were twelve submissions made for the movie, including songs from Swan Lee, Pulp, Saint Etienne, Marc Almond, Sheryl Crow and David Arnold. Arnold had already been personally recommended to compose the film’s soundtrack by Bond veteran John Barry, who had retired from the series in 1987.
The producers eventually chose Sheryl Crow's track for the main titles, while David Arnold's song "Surrender" performed by K.D. Lang, was relegated to the end titles. Arnold’s song had obviously been a very serious contender at one point as its melody occurs in various cues throughout the film. The decision to parachute Crows song into the iconic title sequence was more than likely based on commercial considerations. However, "Surrender" is an infinitely superior song, written in a traditional Bond idiom and performed in a similarly appropriate fashion.
This is yet another example of the many “curious” business decisions that have been made regarding the Bond movies over the last fifty years. Others include the removal of George Lazenby after one movie and the decision to release Licence to Kill in the summer of 1989, thus competing with Lethal Weapon 2, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Batman. Yet despite these odd choices the franchise still remains a major box office attraction and K.D. Lang’s "Surrender" is still the epitome of a Bond title song, even if it never quite achieved that status.