The Best and the Worst Bond Songs
The highs and lows of 007's many musical themes.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: October 13th, 2012
s with all things Bond, everyone has their personal favorites. Favorite actor, favorite villain, favorite car, favorite Bond girl, and of course, favorite Bond theme song. Bond songs always make news, not only because being chosen to sing a Bond theme is considered a great honor, but because it's guaranteed to net the songwriter a good chunk of change.
So realizing that all such lists are subjective, here are our favorite, and least favorite Bond songs.
1. "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey from Goldfinger
You never forget your first, and in this case it's the classic combination of Shirley Bassey and John Barry. This song set the template for all great Bond songs. Larger-than-life, slightly cheesy, and infectious.
2. "Diamonds Are Forever" by Shirley Bassey from Diamonds Are Forever
Bassey's second Bond theme, and another Barry composition. This song's suggestive lyrics and laid-back vibe are like a fim noir set to music.
3. "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney from Live and Let Die
The first "rock" Bond theme, Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" is bold and theatrical, and the middle section—an homage to Bond composer John Barry—kicks the song into overdrive. Classic McCartney and classic Bond.
4. "You Only Live Twice" by Nancy Sinatra from You Only Live Twice
Many Bond songs suffer from having to have the film's title shoehorned into the lyrics. But this classic Bond theme captures Bond's seeming invincibility perfectly, without sounding hackneyed or forced.
5. "Thunderball" by Tom Jones from Thunderball
Who better to capture the larger-than-life aspect of Bond films than Tom Jones? Given one of the more unfortunate titles to work with, "Thunderball" has the classic sound of "Goldeneye" and overcomes its poor lyrics ("He strikes like Thunderball") with a perfect Jones delivery.
6. "The World Is Not Enough" by Garbage from The World Is Not Enough
Modern Bond songs tend to be our least favorite, but Garbage managed to keep the sexiness and classiness of the best Bond themes and put it in a modern musical context.
7. "Nobody Does It Better" by Carly Simon from The Spy Who Loved Me
It's easy to forget that this song is a Bond song, since it sounds more like a classic 1970s ballad, which of course it is. But not sounding like a Bond song isn't enough to spoil this one.
8. "Moonraker" by Shirley Bassey from Moonraker
Shirley Bassey's third Bond theme is not her best, but it's still pretty great. Her voice will always represent Bond to us.
9. "Tomorrow Never Dies" by Sheryl Crow from Tomorrow Never Dies
Another very respectable modern Bond theme, Sheryl Crow jettisons her usual Rolling Stones-inspired sound for this classic torch ballad.
10. "The Man with the Golden Gun" by Lulu from The Man With the Golden Gun
Another song that suffers from an unwieldily title, but Lulu's vocals are more than enough to keep this one from sinking to the bottom 10.
10. "Goldeneye" by Tina Turner from Goldeneye
Tina's great, don't get us wrong, but even her powerful voice can't save this somewhat uninspired, dated-sounded theme.
9. "Licence to Kill" by Gladys Knight from License to Kill
Another great voice that can't overcome the poor production and weak songwriting.
8. "Skyfall" by Adele from Skyfall
This song has been lauded by many and Adele has been compared to Shirley Bassey, but to our ears it's too desperately derivative. And maybe we're just sick of all the Adele hype.
7. "All Time High" by Rita Coolidge from Octopussy
From the horible sax in the opening bars, you know that this is from the 80s. That whole decade has aged poorly, and this song is no exception.
6. "Die Another Day" by Madonna from Die Another Day
There's something about a dancefloor Bond theme that just seems wrong. Surely Madge could have done better.
5. "A View to a Kill" by Duran Duran from A View to a Kill
Again, it was the '80s. And it shows.
4. "For Your Eyes Only" by Sheena Easton from For Your Eyes Only
Considering that its title should lend itself so seamlessly to a classic Bond theme, it's surprising how terrible this syrupy ballad is, until you remember how terrible Sheena Easton has always been when she wasn't singing songs written by Prince.
3. "The Living Daylights" by a-ha from The Living Daylights
The producers of The Living Daylights should have been smart enough to know that a-ha's "Take On Me" was a fluke and that the band's uber-cheesy sound would prove to be one of rock's more regrettable flashes-in-the-pan. But they didn't, and so this song is now part of the Bond repertoire forever.
2. "Another Way to Die" by Jack White and Alicia Keys from Quantum of Solace
For a Jack White song, this isn't too bad, but for a Bond theme, it's horribly out of place. White wasn't able to latch on to the Bond vibe, and this song would have been better served as a White Stripes b-side.
1. "You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell from Casino Royale
Easily the worst Bond theme ever, not because it's a bad song, but because it has no business being a Bond theme. It's a typical Cornell rocker, but there's nothing Bond about it, and hearing a '90s sounding song over the opening credits of Casino Royale, which is a prequel to all other Bond films, was especially disorienting.