Hello there everybody. Last week I went to see No time to die, it’s great movie, I liked it a lot, and it inspired me to make this list about my favorite James Bond movies themes. So, here they are for you to listen to them.
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack London. (Quoted by M in No Time to Die)
Since its first movie in 1962 the James Bond franchise has given us some of the best songs in film history. Many of them have reached the top places in the charts and are now considered classical pieces of British music. Five James Bond songs have been nominated for the Academy Awards and two of them have won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
And now here they are, ten of the best. Enjoy:
10-Duran Duran - A View to a Kill
From A View to a Kill (1985)
Duran Duran - A View To A Kill
One of many themes to be written with legendary Bond composer John Barry. A little rock and pop for creating the necessary tension for a Bond movie. This has been the only Bond theme so far that has reached the number 1 spot on the Billboard 100.
Roger Moore and Tanya Roberts in A View to a Kill
9-Sheena Easton – For Your Eyes Only
From For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Sheena Easton – For Your Eyes Only
“For your ayes only can see me through the dark…” Scottish Sheena Easton was big in the US in the early 1980s and this track just cemented her popularity. It was written by Bill Conti, the composer of the Rocky theme. This one was nominated for an Oscar in 1982.
And guess what? Easton is the only singer that has appeared in a James Bond credits scene while singing.
A still of For Your Eyes Only
8-Garbage – The World Is Not Enough
From The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Garbage - The World Is Not Enough
A song from one of my favorite bands from the 1990s, Garbage expressed once their desire to make the James Bond theme one day when they were just beginning in the music business. This one has a classic Bond feeling and a little of grandiose at the end.
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in The World Is Not Enough
7-Nancy Sinatra – You Only Live Twice
From You Only Live Twice (1967)
Nancy Sinatra – You Only Live Twice
Great opening, lovely lyrics and beautiful melody by John Barry. Hunting, mysterious and sexy at the same time. It has been covered many times but none of those has surpassed this classic. It was also featured on a Mad Man episode, the finale of season 5.
A still of You Only Live Twice
6-Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
Hundreds of movie songs have come and gone, but nobody does it half as good than Carly Simon. This track from The Spy Who Loved Me was the first Bond theme not to be named after its corresponding film since Dr No. It’s one of the sexiest Bond themes ever and a fan favorite. It reached number 2 on the Billboard chart and was nominated for an Oscar in 1978. In 2004 was listed as the 67th greatest film song ever by the American Film Institute.
Roger Moore and Barbara Bach in The Spy Who Loved Me
5-Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever
From Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever
A great song for a not so great movie. This was Shirley Bassey’s second Bond theme. Sounds kind of powerful like a diamond and Bassey’s vocals are great. I love the little pause and the sound of the bass coming after. Apparently this song was despised by producer Harry Saltzman, nevertheless it has stood the test of time, becoming an iconic song and a fan favorite. Dame Shirley Bassey is the only person who has sang three James Bond themes.
Sean Connery as James Bond in an ivory dinner jacket
4-Paul McCartney & The Wings – Live and Let Die
From Live and Let Die (1973)
Paul McCartney & The Wings – Live and Let Die
A piano and Sir Paul slow vocals that later turn into an explosion of orchestra and symphonic rock. Composed by Paul McCartney and his then wife, Linda, it became a top ten hit, reaching number two in the US and nine in the UK. It was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Song in 1974. Allegedly Sir Paul had to pay for the orchestra out of his own pocket. Just as many of you, I discovered this jewel because of the 1991 version of Guns N’ Roses. A masterpiece, a classic on the 1970s and a fan favorite. It was also featured in 2013’s American Hustle, a movie that now people love to hate.
Roger Moore in his first time as 007
3-Chris Cornell – You Know My Name
From Casino Royale (2006)
Chris Cornell – You Know My Name
When those drums started to sound at the movie theatre back then, in 2006, they announced a new era: a new tough Bond for the 21st century had arrived. The beloved Chris Cornell co-wrote this track, perfect for Daniel Craig’s introduction as 007, after leaving great bands like Soundgarden and Audioslave. Tough, powerful and human at the same time, like the new James Bond, this one was praised by some critics while others despised it. It is one of Chris Cornell best songs of his solo career. Too bad Chris is no longer with us. RIP Chris Cornell.
Daniel Craig in 2006 as the new James Bond
2-Sam Smith – Writing’s on the Wall
From Spectre (2015)
Sam Smith – Writing’s on the Wall
The theme of my favorite James Bond movie, of course it has to be here! Sam Smith had expressed his desire to sing the James Bond theme, and wrote this ballad with another guy in just half an hour. It’s a wonderful theme, dramatic and lovely at the same time. It became the first Bond theme to reach number one on the UK music charts and won the Oscar for Best song in 2016.
The best Bond poster ever. Period.
1-Adele – Skyfall
From Skyfall (2012)
Adele – Skyfall
The first Bond theme to ever win the Oscar for best original song in 2013. Also won a plethora of other awards. It’s probably the best known James Bond song of the recent years. Emotional vocals from Adele, a perfect combination between classic Bond and modern times. And perhaps my favorite James Bond song.
James Bond chasing a bad guy in Istanbul
Billie Eilish – No Time to Die
From No Time to Die (2021)
Billie Eilish – No Time to Die
When they announced that someone named Billy Eilish was selected to sing the song for the 25th James Bond movie, I was left dumbfounded… I didn’t know who this person was. Turns out she was an 18 year old woman who always sings depressing songs and looks like a 40 year old divorcée with a drinking problem. Nevertheless I liked her song and I was the only one at the movie theatre who knew the lyrics or who is the person singing them. When this one came last year many people didn’t like it, but I think it’s a nice song. Written by Billy and her brother, it went on to achieve great success and the video with the audio track became viral on YouTube the very first day of its release.
Daniel Craig in a commando sweater in his last time as James Bond
I leave you here some pictures of a cd I bought in 2013, it includes all the James Bond themes prior to Skyfall:
Thanks to this cd I discovered several of those wonderful songs
This is my second post here about music from movies, check the first one here:
Your word is important, so don’t be shy and let us know what do think. Which one of these is your favorite James Bond theme? Did I miss one? If so, put the link in the comment section, that’s what it is for.
Thank you for stopping by and don’t forget to upvote!
Until next time.
Orlando, The Reading Man.