When you go to see a new James Bond movie, you know that you are guaranteed to get a few things. Fancy cars, suave costumes, complicated drink orders and of course, a brand new theme song. And just like the movies themselves, themed songs can vary widely in quality (the less said about that abysmal song “Quantum of Solace”, the better). This tradition began with 1964’s “Goldfinger”, one of the best and most successful Bond films in history. Sean Connery’s film began with an original theme song by Shirley Bassey, who would go on to sing for two other Bond films on the road, and for each successive Bond film, a new artist was selected to record a song specific to this. movie. Five of those songs were nominated for the Best Original Song Academy Award, and two – Adele’s “Skyfall” and Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” – actually won.
But what are the best Bond themed songs? Who reigns supreme in the battle between Adele and Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones? Below, we’ve rounded up 11 of those songs that have stood the test of time.
11. “The world is not enough” – Garbage
Despite “Goldeneye”, the Bond films of the 1990s suffered an identity crisis. The Cold War was over and the franchise struggled to understand where a super spy like James Bond fit. The world of music was also changing rapidly throughout the ’90s, which is why you have artists as diverse as Tina Turner, Madonna, and Sheryl Crow taking care of the theme song. But it’s Garbage’s “The World Is Not Enough” that stands tallest in Brosnan’s day – on the mark for the rock band, but also somehow perfectly suited to a rock band. 90s leap.
10. “Moonraker” – Shirley Bassey
“Moonraker” is one of the worst Bond films ever made, but bringing Shirley Bassey back for this space-themed caper was a brilliant move. The theme of this Roger Moore Bond film is romantic and radical, in keeping with Moore’s more subdued and less aggressive take on the character. If only the movie was half as good as this song.
9. “No Time to Die” – Billie Eilish
A bit of a recency bias here maybe, but Billie Eilish is a surprising choice for Daniel Craig’s final round as 007. In “No Time to Die,” Eilish brings her signature muted tones, but she hits a rather emotional climax and even features a classic Bond guitar riff at the very end. The combo of Eilish, Finneas O’Connell and Hans Zimmer turns out to be successful.
8. “Ball of Thunder” – Tom Jones
Tom Jones and the Bond franchise is a perfect match. Its theme for 1965 “Thunderball” is thrilling and bombastic and effortless, and it has accompanied box office success well. Indeed, “Thunderball” remains one of the most financially successful Bond films ever made taking inflation into account, as it reached the peak of Sean Connery’s popularity as a character – even though the film himself is so obsessed with underwater photography that he forgets some to craft a compelling plot.
7. “You know my name” – Chris Cornell
2006’s “Casino Royale” was the biggest reinvention ever undertaken by the Bond franchise, presenting Daniel Craig as a more vulnerable and human iteration of the super spy while also addressing an origin story for Bond for the first time. Fittingly, Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” is unlike any other Bond song so far. And somewhat unusually, this one doesn’t continue a popular 2000s musical trend (thankfully the producers haven’t reached out to NSYNC). It’s a rock song, but somewhat classic in structure. A stormy introduction to one of the best Bond films ever made.
6. “You Only Live Twice” – Nancy Sinatra
While 1967’s “You Only Live Twice” certainly has its problems as a movie, Nancy Sinatra’s theme song is a very romantic tune. The song draws some influence from the film’s Japanese setting, but Sinatra’s take on the material feels somewhat timeless.
5. “A sight to kill” – Duran Duran
Duran Duran’s Bond song is a bop, a complete stop. Legend has it that Duran Duran’s involvement in the Bond franchise began when bassist John Taylor confronted producer Cubby Broccoli at a party and asked him when they were going to ask someone “decent” to do it. one of their theme songs. The ’80s were largely a disappointing decade for the franchise, and Roger Moore’s latest outing isn’t all that memorable, but the theme song “A View to a Kill” is one of the best in the series.
4. “Nobody does better” – Carly Simon
Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” is one of the least Bond-like theme songs in the entire franchise, and that’s part of the reason why it stands out as one of the most unforgettable. It was certainly a choice to open 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me” with a slow power ballad, but it also made sense for Roger Moore’s take on the character. Even though the quality of the song doesn’t quite match the cartoonish nature of the silly villainous plot line “I’ll Build a City Under the Ocean” in the movie.
3. “Live and let die” – Paul McCartney and Wings
Certainly the most epic Bond theme song ever written, “Live and Let Die” ultimately brought Beatles blood to the UK-born franchise. Written by Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by their band Wings, the song is wonderfully complex, starting with a more traditional Bond theme before moving into a full-fledged rock section, then morphing into a casual ditty. To this day, it remains a concert staple for McCartney and is one of the most iconic Bond themes ever recorded.
2. “Skyfall” – Adèle
It’s tempting to put “Skyfall” in the first box considering it’s such an amazing song, so consider that a tie for first place. Adele’s emotionally deep theme is just… perfect. There is no other way to describe it. Sam Mendes’ 2012 film was intended as the ultimate James Bond film, recalling the franchise’s past while moving it forward in a character-driven way. To that end, Adele’s theme seems to draw inspiration from classic Shirley Bassey styles, albeit crafted with Adele’s own voice.
1. “Goldfinger” – Shirley Bassey
It’s a testament to the longevity of the franchise that they really took it out of the park with their first outing. “Dr. No” and “From Russia with Love” featured sequences of credits to instrumental tunes, but 1964’s “Goldfinger” opens with a daring, confident and catchy tune performed by Shirley Bassey which remains the theme today. par excellence of Bond. It so fully captures the essence of the franchise at this point and compliments the “100% pure Bond” nature of the film, which would introduce and refine certain features that would remain for decades to come. It is simply the best.