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8 Best Bond Themes

With news recently released about who exactly will be recording the theme song for Spectre, we thought it’d be the perfect time to look back at some of James Bond’s best opening credit tunes.

Ellie Goulding, Radiohead and Lana Del Ray were all apparently in the running this time around but the final nod has gone to Sam Smith. His track for the upcoming film is still very much a secret. All we know is that it’s called Writing’s On The Wall and that it’ll be the first Bond song to be recorded by a British male solo artist since Tom Jones’ Thunderball way back in 1963.

All Sam Smith has really revealed is this, in an interview with Radio One: “I got called into the office with Barbara Broccoli and Sam Mendes and they gave me the script, I read the script… they said ‘have a go at the song’. It’s the quickest I’ve ever written a song – it took 20 minutes… and they loved it!”

So, while we wait to find out what he’s come up with, let’s look back at the very best Bond themes from down the years…

8 Best Bond Themes

8. A View To a Kill – Duran Duran

Only the very staunchest Roger Moore fans would try and argue that A View To a Kill was anything other than a below average Bond outing. But weirdly, New Romantic types Duran Duran came up with a title track that remains one of the finest. Unlike many movie songs, this remained a part of the band’s regular live sets up until they split, featured on their Greatest Hits and even got nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Oh, and was a worldwide #1 hit single. Not bad, eh? Now, everybody – ‘DANCE! Into the fire…’

7. You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra

Ol’ Blue Eyes’ daughter Nancy is mostly known nowadays for Something Stupid, her duet with her dad. That and for wearing knee-high footwear specifically designed for hiking purposes. But for Bond fans, her name is synonymous with the most wonderful opening to any 007 song ever. Younger types might just recognise it from Robbie Williams’ Millennium, but for us You Only Live Twice is a stone cold classic. So popular is the tune in fact, that it’s a staple for covering. You can find versions from Soft Cell, Bjork, Shirley Bassey and Coldplay. But none peaks Ms. Sinatra’s original.
6. Live And Let Die – Paul McCartney & Wings

With the enormous back catalogue that Paul McCartney has to draw from, it’s always a little bit of a surprise to hear him breaking out his Bond song during huge gigs. But then again – it is an amazing tune. Anthemic, stirring, catchy – Live and Let Die has it all. It’s just a bit of a shame that the film couldn’t back up the huge excitement built up by the opening titles song, isn’t it…?

5. Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon

When she wasn’t accusing Warren Beatty of vanity in her songs, she was championing the efficiency of Ian Fleming’s spy creation. Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better is a swirling epic of a opening song and perfectly sets the scene for the beginning of The Spy Who Loved Me. Best Song nominations at the Golden Globes and Oscars followed and in 2004, the song was even honored by the American Film Institute, who named it the 67th greatest song ever as part of their 100 Years Series. *Clang. Clag-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang…*
4. Skyfall – Adele

The last time we saw James Bond in the cinema, he was setting booby traps for Silva in Skyfall and attempting to save M. Setting up the opening for 007’s last effort was Adele. The London-born singer’s eponymous title track came with big expectations. But more than delivered on them. Skyfall is a total earworm; modern and yet instantly recognisable as a Bond song. The song went on to sell more than two million copies worldwide and even bagged Adele a Golden Globe and Academy Award. And much deserved it was too.

3. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey

When you think of James Bond songs, you think of Shirley Bassey, don’t you? But while Goldfinger might not be her only Bond rodeo, it’s without doubt her best. Diamonds Are Forever is a decent song, but the rousing Goldfinger has to go down as the apex of the Welsh star’s career. Weirdly, two of the inspirations behind the song are swing classics Moon River and Mack the Knife.

2. From Russia With Love – Matt Monro

English crooner Matt Monro is often a forgotten figure in the easy listening world. But many musical experts point to Monro as ‘The Voice’ of the 1960s. With a clear, crisp delivery – song lyrics become poetry delivered straight to your brain with Matt at the mic. But he needs the material. And with composer Lionel Bart’s work on From Russia With Love, he had exactly the right ingredients to create one of the finest Bond’s theme songs of all time.
1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – John Barry

And flying into the number one spot is the ultimate Bond tune by the ultimate Bond composer, John Barry. Not only does On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have Barry’s quintessential opening track, it also features a special version of Louis Armstrong stone-cold classic, We Have All The Time In The World. You’ll have heard Barry’s classic composition in the latest trailers for Spectre. Will it feature in the film itself? We certainly hope so…

What’s your all-time favourite Bond theme? Let us know in the comments below!

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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1 Comment

    I liked “For Your Eyes Only”. Very romantic song. Shame about the film though – it was a bit naff!!!

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