Nobody Does It Better
The titular tracks of the 007 franchise are just as iconic as the cars, the gadgets and even the Bond girls themselves. They set the stage for what’s to come, which can either mean grand emotional depth of a whole lot of wasted potential. Whether the upcoming entry’s soundtrack measures up or not, there’s no denying that these five will forever stand in the upper echelons of cinema’s greatest theme songs!
By recalling the dark and dramatic musical ambiance refined by Shirley Bassey for earlier 007 films, this orchestral pop ballad is beautiful, haunting and oh-so-Bond. Thanks to Adele’s emotional and soulful vocals, the contributions of a 77-piece orchestra and production from Paul Epworth, Skyfall maintained a perfect balance between classic and contemporary. The top 10 hit was also the first Bond theme to win the Oscar for Best Original Song.
#4: “A View to a Kill”
Duran Duran (1985)
Mixing rock and new wave to evoke feelings of tension and excitement that are normally associated with spy films, Duran Duran crafted this 3-and-a-half minute number for the Bond film of the same name in 1985. Despite critics’ reservations about the band’s abilities to compose a tune appropriate for the franchise, A View to a Kill became the only Bond theme song to top the Billboard Hot 100.
Tom Jones (1965)
Story goes that the Welsh crooner strained his vocal chords so much to hold this song’s final note that he lost consciousness. It was obviously worth it, because his version of the track won out over the renditions of several other artists. Backed by the John Barry orchestra, Tom Jones uses his hearty vocals to full melodramatic effect and nailed a Top 40 U.S. hit in the process.
#2: “Live and Let Die”
Paul McCartney & Wings (1973)
Starting off slowly with piano and Paul McCartney’s lead vocals, Live and Let Die quickly becomes a sonic blast of symphonic rock with the addition of keyboards, bass, guitar and drums. Featuring the writing talents of Macca and his late wife Linda, as well as production by Beatles’ producer George Martin, the exciting and unpredictable number became a top 10 hit and remains a McCartney live staple.
Shirley Bassey (1964)
Is there any other song that so flawlessly captures the action, drama, mystique and intrigue of James Bond films than this? We think not. In less than three minutes, Dame Shirley Bassey and John Barry fashioned a big, brassy number that showed off her vocal chops while giving audiences a musical representation of the movie’s gold theme. Goldfinger also became Bassey’s only top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame award.
Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 James Bond Moments.