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Radiohead delights fans by gifting unused ‘Spectre’ Bond theme song

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke delighted fans on Christmas Day with the gift of a new track. The freebie comes with an interesting back story, too, as Yorke revealed it’d been written and recorded as the theme song for Spectre, the latest Bond movie.

Of course, Sam Smith’s Writing’s On The Wall ended up as the film’s prestigious opener, so what happened to Radiohead’s effort? Yorke said only that “it didn’t work out,” suggesting that Bond producers weren’t particularly keen on the deliciously dark orchestral piece. But then what did they expect with Radiohead?

“Last year we were asked to write a tune for Bond movie Spectre. Yes we were,” York said in a message posted across a series of tweets, adding, “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.”

The song, posted on SoundCloud Christmas Day, clocked up more than 1.2 million plays within 12 hours of landing on the audio site. Fans can both stream and download the track.

Before Spectre hit theaters in October, the rumor mill was pointing to Radiohead as the producers’ band of choice for the coveted task of recording the movie’s theme song – an integral part of the Bond package and one much discussed by music and movie fans alike with every new release in the franchise.

Back in July, one leading sports betting outlet in the UK even went so far as to suspend betting on Spectre‘s theme song after someone apparently with inside knowledge tried to put £15,000 ($22,000) on Radiohead.

“Nobody risks £15,000 on a hunch,” a spokesman for the betting company said at the time. But as we now know, the producers ended up voting down Radiohead’s effort before turning to Sam Smith.

Spooks aside, Spectre is Radiohead’s first new song since their Daily Mail/Staircase single in December, 2011. Their most recent album, The King of Limbs, was also released in the same year. Fans keen for some new material – besides the Christmas offering – shouldn’t have too long to wait as the band has been hard at work recently on its ninth studio album.