Top 10 Bond Themes

By Doug Strassler,

One of the tenets of the James Bond franchise has been its trademark theme songs. Of the 23 (including Adele’s newly released title song from Skyfall), there have been some clunkers and some golden gems (hint, hint). Check out below the top ten James Bond theme songs

10. ”All Time High,” Octopussy

Rita Coolidge’s adult-contemporary ballad has come under fire from some, but clearly there are fans; Mark Wahlberg even used the theme to serenade Mila Kunis in Ted just this summer. It’s a smart tune, with notes piling higher just as the lyrics do; it’s just too bad Coolidge can’t quite hit all of them.

9. ”Licence to Kill,” Licence to Kill

Gladys Knight joined the Bond fray with this very-‘80s but underrated jaunt. All but forgotten, it’s kinda fun and more than a little awesome.

8. ”Diamonds are Forever,” Diamonds Are Forever

Sean Connery’s sixth and final M16 mission may have been lackluster, but Shirley Bassey’s tune helped add some shine.

7. ”For Your Eyes Only,” For Your Eyes Only

The first of three Oscar-nominated Bond theme songs, Sheena Easton’s single went to #4. Fun fact: Blondie also wrote a song with the same title, which producers declined for the movie.

6. ”A View to a Kill,” A View to a Kill
Duran Duran’s them is the only Bond song to date to top the singles charts. Though I still don’t quite understand what dancing into the fire to fatal sounds of broken dreams really looks or sounds like.

5. ”You Know My Name,” Casino Royale

Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell might have seemed an odd choice to sing the Bond theme for the Daniel Craig series re-launch, but his power-packed anthem about treachery and guilt was the perfect entry point for this newly-defined, and darker, franchise.

4. ”The World Is Not Enough,” The World Is Not Enough

You win some, you lose some. World’s Denise Richards might just be the least convincing Bond girl of all time – playing a nuclear physicist, at that! But Garbage’s string-heavy theme, merging styles old and new, is one for all time.

3. ”Live and Let Die,” Live and Let Die

All right, all right, it’s a classic, the first rock song to open a Bond film. And it’s by a Beatle, no less, Paul McCartney. Plus it also got an Oscar nod (competing against “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and losing to “The Way We Were”). Still, I admit, his double use of the preposition “in” (“In this ever changing world in which we live in”) has always rankled me.

2. ”Nobody Does It Better,” The Spy Who Loved Me
The late, great Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager penned this number, sung to silky perfection by Carly Simon. It’s the first Bond theme to have a different title than the film that it opens. The song also spent three weeks on the charts in the silver position.

1. ”Goldfinger,” Goldfinger
Was there ever a doubt? Shirley Bassey’s brassy other Bond theme (composed by John Barry with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley) is so incredibly silly you can’t not love it. And plenty do: In 2008, the single was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.



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