The internet is full of articles that rank the theme songs from the adventures of Her Majesty’s super agent in order “from worst to best” (or vice versa). Reading these lists shows that there is no such thing as a “perfect Bond’s song”, because it all depends on the taste of the evaluator. Nevertheless, you can try to create a list of songs that are above average, and often already live their own lives, independent of the famous film series.
“James Bond Theme” (1962)
Musical theme by Monty Norman accompanies the films about Bond from the very beginning, that is, from “Doktor No” in 1962. A fragment of it appears traditionally linked in the opening scene, in which Agent 007 aims his gun at the camera, which causes the screen to run down with blood a moment later.
The theme played on the guitar is one of the musical showpieces of the cinema. He arranged and recorded the original version of the piece with his orchestra John Barryresponsible for the soundtracks for several films in the series. In each edition, the arrangement changed slightly, referring to the style of what was currently in fashion on the music scene.
source: YouTube / TheAmericanGazette
The title song of the third film in the series was the first to appear in the background of the opening credits, setting a trend that continues to this day. It is also the first of the three songs she has sung Shirley Bassey, an absolute record holder when it comes to Bond’s vocal themes. In addition, it has everything that we associate with the musical setting of this film series: a raised melody, effective vocal performances and a tasteful, orchestral arrangement.
source: YouTube / Dame Shirley Bassey
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Nancy Sinatra she chose a method other than Shirley Bassey – she sang the composition assigned to her restrainedly, even with reserve. In combination with a slightly dark and psychedelic part of strings, one of the most intriguing pieces of the entire series was created, consistently placed in the tops of “The Best Of” listings.
Nancy struggled with recording this song for quite a long time – she made over 30 attempts. Besides, the makers of the film “You Live Only Once” did not dream about singing in it. Composer John Barry preferred Aretha Franklin to replace her, and producer Cubby Broccoli originally proposed Nancy’s dad, Frank Sinatra. Ultimately, the singer was chosen by the popularity of her then hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin ‘”.
source: YouTube / Nancy Sinatra – topic
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
The last film of the series with the participation of Sean Connery received a decent musical setting, to which she contributed greatly Shirley Bassey. The words she sang with dignity about the superiority of diamonds over men particularly liked the female part of the audience.
The piece was included in the canon of popular music – he included it in his concert repertoire, among others rock band Arctic Monkeys and rapper and producer Kanye West gave him a new lease of life by sampling a section of the chorus for his 2005 track “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”.
source: YouTube / Dame Shirley Bassey
Live and Let Die (1973)
Another immortal hit from the 1970s is a work Paul McCartneywho recorded it with the group Wings, brought to life by him after the break-up of The Beatles. This is one of the most musically varied Bond songs – it starts as a soft ballad, and over time turns into a fiery rock track with reggae elements, additionally enriched with the scream of a symphony orchestra, arranged by the famous producer George Martin.
Younger fans were reminded of the song by Guns N ‘Roses on their 1991 album “Use Your Illusion 1”.
source: YouTube / Wings – topic
“A View to a Kill” (1985)
Among the most memorable Bond songs of the 1980s, the most prominent is the song of the formation, which was at the peak of its popularity at that time. Duran Duran. It’s a pop hit, richly embellished with synthesizer sounds, and in addition it is practically entirely authored by the band performing it, not the main composer of the film’s music, as was often the case in previous parts of the series.
In “Killer View” on the screen we can admire, among others Grace Jones. The singer, as usual, looked deadly, but she did not contribute to the musical layer of the film in any way.
source: YouTube / Duran Duran
“License to Kill” (1989)
Another hit from the 80s with killing in the title musically drew handfuls from “Goldfinger”, a quarter of a century older. Gladys Knight however, she did such a good vocal job here that the song does a great job without having to lean on the original it is based on. It is also a tribute to R&B fans who have not previously been pampered by Bond producers.
source: YouTube / HD Film Tributes
A composer and author’s duo Bono & The Edgeand a voice of one of a kind Tiny Turner – it must have been a hit. The musical theme of the first film with Pierce Brosnan as agent 007 is relatively subdued, and the singer opted for this more sensual than screaming side of her stage personality.
An alternative song suggestion for the movie “GoldenEye” was proposed by the band Ace Of Base. After Bond producers bet on Tina Turner, the Swedes reworked their track a bit and published it in 2002 under the title “The Juvenile”.
source: YouTube / Tina Turner Official
“The World Is Not Enough” (1999)
One of the most popular rock bands of the 90s, including the producer responsible for Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album, seemed to be the perfect song performer for the last twentieth-century film in the series – at least in terms of marketing. The musicians of the group themselves Garbage they also did not mind, they even claimed that it was a dream come true.
Singer Shirley Mason had to rise to the heights of her skills to sing a song composed by David Arnold, who was responsible for the soundtrack to “The World Is Not Enough”. However, she came out of this attempt unscathed, and her dramatic vocals can be placed on one shelf with the most memorable performances of Bond’s songs.
source: YouTube / OfficialGarbage
After the rather poor first decade of the 21st century (songs sung by Madonna, Chris Cornell and the duo Jack White & Alicia Keys are not the most successful in their repertoire), the 50th anniversary of the series in the film about the adventures of James Bond again resounds with a song that has a chance to survive in good shape for the next several dozen years. A piece sung by Adele became a worldwide hit and was showered with awards, including the Oscar, Grammy and Brit Award.
source: YouTube / Adele
“No Time to Die” (2021)
She composed and sang the theme song in the movie Nie Czas dyać, which was released on Friday Billie Eilish. The teenage megastar received almost exclusively positive reviews for his work, and the song conquered the charts and … disappeared from them a long time ago. The single with this recording was released in February 2020, more than a year and a half before the premiere of the film, delayed due to the pandemic. If only for this reason, it is a unique item in the catalog of Bond’s musical themes.
source: YouTube / Billie Eilish
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