Top Ten: Bond Theme Songs

One of my fondest movie memories from childhood is watching the early James Bond films with my dad. He’s a big fan of both the Ian Fleming books and especially the Sean Connery films and has a great story about leafleting for the SNP in Edinburgh with an up and coming young actor called Tam. It’s something that we’ve shared throughout the years and still chat now and then about our favourite Bond moments.

One of the most anticipated aspects of any Bond film is the theme song and we’re still waiting for the announcement of who will get the Skyfall gig. Some have been classics, others (and I’m looking at you Madonna) have been pretty rubbish. I’ll be doing some reviews and features about the joy of Bond in the run up to Skyfall’s release later in the year and to start the series here are my Top Ten Bond Songs.

1. Goldfinger – 1964

The ultimate Bond theme performed by Shirley Bassey, a singer I can only abide when she’s singing Bond songs. Written by John Barry, Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse this is forceful, dramatic and kicks ass and cemented the importance of the theme song just three films into the series.

2. Thunderball – 1965

I love the theme song to the fourth Bond film and it’s one of my favourite driving songs (although when I press down on the accelerator in time to the music it might be construed as slightly dangerous). Apparently Tom Jones fainted after recording the song’s final high note. A song that could kill you – what could be more Bond-like?


3. We Have All The Time In The World – 1969

From On Her Majesty’s Secret Service this isn’t a title song, but a love theme. Louis Armstrong’s rich voice conveys the emotion of the moment – “We have all the time in the world” are the words that Bond says to his wife Tracy who has just been gunned down by Blofeld.



4. Diamonds Are Forever – 1971

The second Bassey theme this is another gutsy, powerful and dramatic song. Producer Harry Saltzman hated the song due to the innuendo in the lyrics including the line “They can stimulate and tease me”. Thankfully co-producer Cubby Broccoli saw that the song was included.


5. Live And Let Die – 1973

The theme song for the 1973 film of the same name was written Paul (and Linda) McCartney and performed by Wings. McCartney apparently wrote the song in an afternoon after reading the Ian Fleming source novel. It was one of the bands most successful hits and was the first Bond theme to be nominated for an Academy Award.


6. Nobody Does It Better – 1977

Carly Simon’s 1977 theme song was the first Bond main theme not to have the same name as the film although the lyrics do include the words “The spy who loved me”. This song has been covered a number of times and has appeared in several films including Mr & Mrs Smith and Lost in Translation.


7. For Your Eyes Only – 1981

Scottish pop star Sheena Easton sang this perky pop ballad, the title song of this 1981 Roger Moore outing. Some fans didn’t like it because it wasn’t quite a powerful enough ballad, that might be true but Easton’s voice is powerful and the song remains one of my favourites.


8. A View to a Kill – 1985

One of the weaker films in the Bond series has one of the best and most successful theme songs, reaching number 1 in the US Billboard Chart and number 2 in the UK Chart. Duran Duran bassist John Taylor drunkenly approached Cubby Broccoli at a party and asked when someone decent was going to be asked to write and perform the Bond theme…..


9. Licence To Kill – 1989

Gladys Knight’s soulful and powerful voice was a perfect match for this soundtrack. Usual composer John Barry was unavailable and composer Michael Kamen stepped in. Kamen was also responsible for Die Hard and Lethal Weapon soundtracks and this is a perfect addition to the late 80s/early 90s musical catalogue.


10. Goldeneye – 1995

The Bond series was rebooted in 1995 and Pierce Brosnan took over as the super suave spy. I can remember vividly being in a crowded cinema which erupted into cheers at the frankly ridiculous opening scene. Then Tina Turner’s theme tune kicked in and everything seemed right. Written by Bono and The Edge this referred back to the feisty Bassey years.


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  1. Great picks Louise! The only one I’m not too fond of is ‘Live And Let Die’, there are only parts of the song that I like. Glad to see all of the Bond actors’ movies represented, except Daniel Craig, I quite like ‘You Know My Name.’ I think on my list I’d include ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and ‘The World Is Not Enough’ by Garbage.

    • I was toying with the idea of Tomorrow Never Dies instead of Live and Let Die. It was a tough choice though.

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