The theme songs to Bond films have become a phenomenon all their own. Some of the biggest music superstars of all time have authored Bond themes. Paul McCartney, Madonna, Duran Duran. Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones. Carly Simon. Chris Cornell. Sheryl Crow… Jack Black and Alicia Keyes.
Many of the songs have earned lives of their own in pop music, topping the charts, and/or becoming beloved classics. They’re a highly anticipated, much talked about aspect of each new movie. Who will do the song, what it will be called, how good will it be.
It’s yet another element of the series that sets it apart and above other movie franchises. NO other film franchise has the association with popular music that Bond does. There’s a litany of incredible Bond theme songs that dates back into the 1960s, and continues to this day.
Read on to see the ten best!
10) “The World Is Not Enough” – Garbage
This installment’s winner of “The Best of the Rest” is “The World is not Enough” by Garbage. Not my favorite theme, certainly, but they do do a great job of building around the title.
9) “All Time High”, theme from “Octopussy” – Rita Coolidge
Coolidge had been out of the limelight for a while prior to being called on to perform this song. She scored an adult contemporary #1 hit with it, and it’s a pleasant addition to a fun Bond movie.
8) “For Your Eyes Only” Sheena Easton
A sweet enough pop ballad. Easton scored one of her biggest hits (top ten), and earned an Academy Award nomination for this theme to this 1981 Bond film.
7) “Thunderball” – Tom Jones
There’s not much to point out on this theme aside from Tom Jones’ incredible set of pipes. Thankfully, that’s more than enough!
6) “Another Way to Die”, theme from “Quantum of Solace” – Jack White, Alicia Keyes
This song just kicks ass, in my opinion. Modern and hard-driving, the pairing of White and Keyes made for a fantastic combination. His buzzsaw guitar and her piano and vocals made an unforgettable theme for me.
5) “You Know My Name”, theme from “Casino Royale” – Chris Cornell
Cornell was a huge player in the Grunge era of the 90’s, and has an incredible voice. “You Know my Name” felt modern, yet called back classic elements at the same time. Having Cornell open “Casino Royale” loudly announced a new day had dawned for Bond.
4) “A View to a Kill” – Duran Duran
Nothing says “80s” quite like Duran Duran. Legendarily this theme came to be after bassist John Taylor asked Bond producer Cubby Broccoli something to the effect of “When are you going to have a theme song that doesn’t suck?”
3) “Live and Let Die” – Paul McCartney and Wings
Sir Paul contributes the series’ most famous Rock theme. Changing tempos as often as Bond does, Live and Let Die soothes you with a verse and then punches the gas and screams through an instrumental segment, only to sweep gently along again with another verse. Explosive, literally.
2) “Goldfinger” – Shirley Bassey
Shirley Bassey with full accompaniment equals a blasting, classic Bond theme. There’s an unforgettable, almost bombastic quality to this one. Confident, bold… Bassey belts it out like no one’s business.
1) “Nobody Does it Better”, theme from “The Spy Who Loved Me” – Carly Simon
Silky smooth and lyrically appropriate, Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does it Better” encapsulates the suave, ladies man side of Bond, leaving a trail of jilted lovers in his wake.
A quick note: I’m choosing not to listen to the Adele song for “Skyfall” prior to actually seeing the movie.
Well there you have it folks, the Top Ten Bond Theme Songs! I expect there to be quite a debate here, as tastes in music vary even more wildly than taste in movies! :D Did I exclude any you’re a fan of? Rank something too high or too low? You know the drill, let us hear it!