Rolling Stone’s Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs
I promise just because Peter Travers went and ranked every Bond film, which I reacted to it, I’m not planning on making a Versus Rolling Stone article a regular thing. Really. That is, just as soon as I clear up one itsy-bitsy little disagreement I have with Andy Greene at the magazine regarding an article that preceded the Travers’ (and which followed Adele’s Skyfall theme online début):
The Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs
As described in his intro:
“The James Bond series has undergone many changes over the decades, but the films’ producers have never stopped asking the biggest pop stars of the day to record theme songs. Adele is the latest member of the club, with her new title song for Skyfall. Many of the Bond themes that came before her have become classics, while others were quickly forgotten. Which way will her song go? While we wait to find out, here’s a look back at the 10 greatest James Bond theme songs.”
Again, I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. This is just one Bond fan and music listener’s opinion (who happens to be totally flummoxed at the moment with a couple of these choices in particular). No big deal, really.
Rolling Stone’s List
- Live and Let Die
- Nobody Does It Better
- You Only Live Twice
- Diamonds Are Forever
- A View to a Kill
- Die Another Day
- From Russia With Love
- We Have All the Time in the World
(1) Diamonds Are Forever [RS #5] – sung by Shirley Bassey, music/lyrics by John Barry, Don Black. My case for why all Dame Shirley Bassey-sung songs are on my list is located here.
(2) Goldfinger [RS #2] – sung by Shirley Bassey, music/lyrics by John Barry, Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. See above, and this was a no-brainer, yes?
(3) You Only Live Twice [RS #4] – sung by Nancy Sinatra, music/lyrics by John Barry, Leslie Bricusse. Reasons for this are located here.
(4) Live and Let Die [RS #1] – written and sung Paul McCartney (backed by Wings and produced by George Martin). The most Beatles-influenced song on the list.
(5) Nobody Does It Better [RS #3] – sung by Carly Simon, music/lyrics by Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager. Best Roger Moore film and associated song.
(6) Thunderball [RS #10] – sung by Tom Jones, music/lyrics by John Barry, Don Black. The man still sings it at his concerts, and he should.
(7) For Your Eyes Only – sung by Sheena Easton, music/lyrics by Bill Conti, Mick Leeson. Second-best Moore film, and Sheena was a real highlight.
(8) Goldeneye – sung Tina Turner, music/lyrics by Bono, The Edge. Overlooked too often in my opinion, maybe because of the others here.
(9) A View to a Kill [RS #6] – written and sung by Duran Duran, music by John Barry. Another no-brainer, and the single best thing in this the worst Bond film.
(10) Moonraker – sung by Shirley Bassey, music/lyrics John Barry, Hal David. Again, already covered, and another song that was one of the best aspects of a poor film.
Note: Rolling Stone and Greene have to be kidding (or looking for page views) by listing the absolute worst Bond song, Madonna’s travesty, in their Top 10 (criminy, at #7!). Adding insult to injury, they placed the quite pedestrian ‘From Russia With Love’ there, too. Matt Monro’s effort is nowhere near the bad adjective — it’s just not anywhere near the great one, either. So registering Madonna’s train wreck ahead of it is just another affront.
Now it could just be me, but I look at the Bond theme song as the one played during the opening titles of said movie. Using this framework, I’ve never even considered ‘We Have All the Time in the World’ as the theme song for ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. That’s still John Barry’s fun instrumental for me and this non-Connery flick. Although, I do think of Louis Armstrong’s wonderful take of that Hal David and Burt Bacharach song as the film’s love theme. It’s the only time the producers had this kind of schism with the Bond songs.
28 Responses to “Rolling Stone’s Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs”
I’ll go with your list over Rolling Stone’s. I agree with you 100%, Madonna don’t belong. While I’ve never really ranked the Bond themes, “Live and Let Die” has always been my favorite. Probably followed by “Nobody Does it Better.” Oddly, both are from Roger Moore movies. I’m a Moore fan, but he’s definitely not my favorite Bond.
Great point, John! Looking at my list, this time by the actor portraying Bond, there’s an aggregation I didn’t suspect:
1. Roger Moore – 5 songs
2. Sean Connery – 4 songs
3. Pierce Brosnan – 1 song
I’m a closeted Moore fan at listener’s heart! Whoa ;-). Thanks, my friend.
Good God! Die Another Day! Somebody’s having a laugh, right?
Moonraker must replace that. As for the others, I have no major problems.
So true, Colin. Thanks for chiming in, my friend.
Honestly, I have not had time to write and comment on a whole host of sites and I’m sorry about that Michael.
I have been enjoying many of your recent entries and the Bond theme is always a fun one to peruse.
You and I are completely simpatico when it comes to the music aren’t we? Gosh, we love our music!
Well, I plan on doing my own set of lists to keep the Bond flame burning in the new year but I’m not quite there yet.
In the meantime, let me tell you that I agree with you completely on your points about your list and the Stone list.
Madonna, Munro and even Armstrong, as nice a song as it is, really need to go! It took me some time to realize it, but I am a huge Shirley Bassey Bond advocate and she can pretty much do no wrong. Further she’s the best of the Bond bunch.
Second, Tina Turner’s U2 penned Goldeneye is a PERFECT fit within the franchise. She’s wonderful and she pulls it off brilliantly. Finally, Adele’s Skyfall is in keeping with the spirit of Bassey which is why she would make my list. It is a brilliant song.
All the best pal.
Hey, great to have your music thoughts on the subject, SFF! I look forward to your upcoming Bond posts. Never too late for those. Great to hear you’re in the Bassey camp. She really is a stunning artist that has stood the test of time. And Tina’s turn, with a wonderful arrangement backing her up, really is under appreciated in my book. I, too, love Adele’s song for SKYFALL. I think in the coming years, it’s going to continue to rise in my estimation. Brilliant song that’s in another stellar opening title sequence for the OO7 series. Thanks so much, my friend.
Great List! I am now up to You Only Live Twice so I am getting more and more into the legend of Bond. I was wonderding if their is a cd that has all the bond theme songs, I think that would be a good seller! I really do think the new Adele song should warrant some consideration.
Yes, there is. I have the The Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary Box Set, Limited Edition, in fact. But there are others out there. And yes, Adele’s song is a more than worthy contender. These are songs I’ve been with longer, but given time I suspect the English lass will breakthrough. Thanks, mummbles.
Thanks for the tip and glad you like Adele’s song, I just watched another movie in the series!
Which one? I’m teeing OHMSS soon as it’s a great alternative Christmas film.
I definetly like your list better than RS 🙂 I cannot believe they omitted Goldeneye and included Die Another Day!
Thank you very much, sati. We’re on the same wavelength.
Yeah, Rolling Stone’s list is almost invalid for the inclusion of that Madonna song. I’m not impressed at all.
Meanwhile, I would just strongly implore you to reevaluate the virtues of the greatest Bond song of all time, ever, Nobody does it Better… #5 is too low, bro 😉
Nobody does it… quite the way you do… why’d you have to be so good?!
After you implored me, Fogs, I did revisit Carly’s wonderful performance with ‘Nobody Does It Better’ and you’ve convinced me. I’m going to re-order this… [tap, tap] uh… Dame Shirley is looking at me… Sorry, my friend. I’m gonna leave it as is ;-).
Yeah, Rolling Stone’s inclusion of Madonna’s song was the chief motivation for posting my list.
Reblogged this on St. Clair Cinema Club and commented:
Love these Bond lists!
Thank you for the re-blog, Paula 😀
you’re very welcome 🙂
[…] ✵ I’ve already covered the song segment here. […]
I think the sing from OHMSS is the best, but if it has to the the song from the title sequence, well GOLDFINGER remains the most iconic though otherwise I think ‘Nobody does it Better’ is probably the one shat stands up as a pop song divorced from the movie shall we say. great list all the same though …
No question, both are excellent songs, Sergio. I’m splitting hairs in coming up with my order. Thank very kindly, my friend.
I have to put in a good word for “All-Time High” by Rita Coolidge. A splendid song, and one that often gets overlooked among Bond themes.
I admit when it was released, ‘All Time High’ didn’t exactly captivate me. However, like the film it headlined, it’s grown on me. I do now enjoy Octopussy’s theme song. Thanks for reading and commenting, vp19.
[…] beginning in 1964. Out of the three theme songs she’s recorded, I’d have all of them in my Top Ten. Not a bad batting average out of twenty (in reality, those for Dr. No and On Her Majesty’s […]
[…] you’re nowhere close to attaining that famed double-O licence. Though I’ve ranked my Top Ten for this subject, and sung praises for Shirley Bassey, I’ve not listed out those worthy of […]
Your list is far better! Die Another Day was dreadful. Goldeneye was a great song. It came out after your list, but I’d add Skyfall and take out Moonraker.
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Yep, I’d have to agree with that “Skyfall” swap, Alex. Thanks for taking this in and leaving a comment, my friend. Much appreciated. 🙂
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