The James Bond series has had an incredibly talented and diverse set of artists create pieces for each film. I find it incredible that the films main song can cause such a stir in the music and film world, and it can even split the opinions of many people regarding the quality of the films themselves.
There are quite a few awful James Bond songs (anyone remember Chris Cornell?!) and you’re probably wondering why the list is only 6 long… that’s because there are only 6 GOOD Bond theme songs -
6 – You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
You Only Live Twice was originally going to be performed by Frank Sinatra, but Frank persuaded the producers to let his daughter Nancy to record the song instead. The string introduction has been described by many as one of the most perfect intros ever and has been covered by some extremely famous artists; including Coldplay and Robbie Williams.
5 – A View to a Kill – Duran Duran
A View to a Kill is famous for being the only Bond song to reach number 1 in the US billboard hot 100, but only made it to number 2 in the UK! Duran Duran and John Barry, who helped co-write the song, were also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for “Best Original Song”.
4 – Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey
Goldfinger gave Shirley Bassey her only top 40 hit in the US billboard top 100, where it peaked at number 8. Jimmy Page famously guest starred on the record as the session guitarist but this version was recorded in mono and so the stereo version has someone else playing.
3 – Golden Eye – Tina Turner
When Bono and The Edge, from U2, found out that Tina Turner was offered to sing on the next Bond song, they decided to write Golden Eye specifically for her. For the 2010 re-release of the game “Golden Eye 007”, Nichole Scherzinger, former lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, covered the song for the games intro.
2 – Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney and Wings
Paul McCartney famously read Ian Flemings novel, wrote the song in an afternoon and recorded it the next week, he said- “It was a job of work for me in a way because writing a song around a title like that’s not the easiest thing going.”
1 – Diamonds are Forever – Shirley Bassey
Shirley Bassey’s song Diamonds are Forever was so good, she was invited back to record another Bong theme song and proved lightening does strike twice, unfortunately she was invited back to do a third and proved that lightening doesn’t strike thrice. John Barry, the record producer, wanted more passion from Bassey’s vocals so he suggested that she imagined she was singing about a penis, Don Black, the song writer, insists he was always writing about a diamond and nothing else!
This list deliberately doesn’t contain Adele’s song for the latest Skyfall movie because I’m bitter about Muse not getting the nod, so here’s a bonus – Muse with their own Bond song “Supremacy”…