Thursday, 25 October 2012

My Top Ten James Bond Themes

Apparently there's a new James Bond film out this week. I know, I wish they'd spend a little more money promoting it too, it can be very easy for low-budget films like this to slip through the cracks and not find their audience at the multiplex. Still, if you can't find a cinema in your local area that's taking a punt on it, here's a reminder of some of 007's greatest hits. I actually quite like Adele's new theme song... but not as much as these...

10. Jack White & Alicia Keys - Another Way To Die (from Quantum of Solace)

A little too derivative to be considered classic, but Jack White has a License To Kill.

9. a-ha - The Living Daylights

I never rated Timothy Dalton, he's probably my least favourite Bond (Lazenby might clinch it... were On Her Majesty's Secret Service not such a great film despite him). That whole "new man" thing was such an 80s blunder for a character like Bond. This was by far the best thing about The Living Daylights.

8. Rita Coolidge - All Time High (from Octopussy)

Written by John Barry (and Tim Rice), hence: ace. Even better: the Pulp cover version

Speaking of Pulp, how much better would Tomorrow Never Dies have been if their theme tune had been chosen over Sheryl Crow's?

7. Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever

John Barry again, with Don Black on lyrics, and - of course - the immortal Dame Shirley on diamonds.

6. Nancy Sinatra - You Only Live Twice

So good, Robbie Williams stole its timeless intro for his second biggest hit. Barry again.

5. Paul McCartney & Wings - Live & Let Die

Possibly the first Bond film I ever saw, so Roger Moore and his eyebrows were officially MY Bond... as a kid, at least. I like Macca's original, but I do prefer Axl's sneering cover. It's just so nasty.

4. Shirley Bassey - Goldfinger

Barry, Bassey... and a young Jimmy Page on guitar. Or so legend has it. 

3. Louis Armstrong - We Have All The Time In The World (from On Her Majesty's Secret Service)

Whenever I'm stuck behind a car driving at 20 miles an hour, I call the driver a 'Louis'. Well, it's better than some of the words I might choose.

As mentioned previously, though I don't particularly rate Lazenby, OHMSS has possibly the best Bond plot ever. That final scene is just a killer. And this - John Barry and Hal David... well, nobody does it better.

Or do they...?

2. Carly Simon - Nobody Does It Better (from The Spy Who Loved Me)

Written by Marvin Hamlisch and Carol Bayer Sager (of You're Moving Out Today fame), this is the song that most says Bond to me... well, apart from our far too obvious Number One. (Aimee Mann does a lovely cover too.)

1. John Barry - The James Bond Theme

Not the Moby version, the David Arnold version or the one where some idiot decided it might be a good idea to let random tone-deaf Irish egomaniacs with a God Complex have a go. The original... and still the best.

Those were my best Bonds... but which is your Nobody Does It Better?


  1. License to Kill? For your eyes only?

  2. No View To A Kill? As for Nobody Does It Better, I do like Radiohead's version:

    1. My profoundest apologies to Duranies everywhere.

      Yeah, I'd forgotten Thom's version. Not bad.

  3. I like it when they went for the 'flavour of the month' artist without considering the artist's longevity/gravitas .... as with the wondrous Sheena Easton! (Who chose her?)
    Will Adele be 'the Sheena Easton' in the year 2035? (Albeit with a few added kilos and no Prince insertions).
    Speaking of which - I'd have found time to slip in Cheryl Crow - ahead of a-ha!

    I do like Matt Monro. One of the finest British male crooners ever. (Although Lionel Bart's 'From Russia With Love' was hardly his absolute apex).

    Course, there's 'themes' and then there's 'songs'. And didn't a couple of 'em have no lyrics? Does this make a difference?

    Any road, I'm glad Madonna didn't get a mention .. until now.

    1. I have a soft spot for Sheena though... she'd have been #11.

      I like Matt Monro too, but as you say - FRWL isn't really a classic. A bit too insipid for Bond.

      Yeah, I blurred the line between 'themes' and 'songs' because I can do that. It's my super-power.

      Madonna did an excellent theme song to one of the Austin Powers movies (Beautiful Stranger), but Die Another Day was immensely forgettable.

  4. I had never twigged about Robbie - the penny just dropped - a bit late LOL

    I think Louis will always be my favourite in most things!

    1. I expect Robbie was hoping people would think he'd come up with that himself.

  5. Just listened to Adele's song properly for the first time.

    Reminds me awfully of The Brian Song ..

  6. Goldfinger just captures it perfectly for me. But I do have a soft spot for Live And Let Die.

    1. It's Roger's Moore's eyebrows - and the crocodiles.

  7. Wait - they make music for these films? And there's me wondering what that noise is when Daniel Craig does that stuff...

    1. Obviously, he's too much of a distraction...