Each single James Bond theme music, ranked from worst to finest

T

he identify’s Eilish. Billie Eilish.

When the then 18-year-old artist launched the title observe for No Time To Die, the twenty fifth movie within the James Bond franchise, all the way in which again in February 2020, she turned the youngest ever musician to report a James Bond theme music.

In doing so, Eilish adopted within the footsteps of some big names: Shirley Bassey, Adele, Madonna, Tina Turner and extra have all tried their hand at recording a music worthy of 007.

With No Time To Die now set to make its long-delayed cinema debut, greater than 18 months after Eilish unveiled her music, what higher excuse than to look again at practically 60 years of cinema historical past to ask: which Bond theme is the all-time finest?

Firstly, it’s unattainable to debate the topic with out mentioning the late John Barry, the visionary composer who scored 11 movies within the sequence between 1963 and 1987. He’s the person who pioneered the so-called “Bond sound”, that rousing mixture of thriller and intrigue – massive and brassy, but sleekly seductive.

He was additionally the one who got here up with the James Bond theme, first featured within the 1962 movie Dr No and subsequently that includes in each different Bond film. It’s probably the most celebrated items of music in movie historical past and, as such, it feels unfair to rank it among the many different themes. Let’s simply say it’s in a category of its personal.

Right here, we’ve listed the tracks — beginning with From Russia With Love in 1963 and going all the way in which as much as Writing’s On The Wall by Sam Smith in 2015 — ordering them from worst to finest.

24. Writing’s On The Wall — Sam Smith (Spectre, 2015)

Billie Eilish hardly had a tricky act to observe. This damp flannel of a music has the entire pianos and strings however not one of the mandatory gravitas. That we got this undercooked effort over Radiohead’s far superior various simply provides extra salt to the injuries.

23. Die One other Day – Madonna (Die One other Day, 2002)

It’s far and away the worst Bond movie within the sequence, and Die One other Day’s theme music is among the movie’s greatest crimes – together with the invisible automotive, ice resort and laughable CGI work, in fact. Followers not solely obtained a pointless cameo from Madonna as a flirtatious fencing teacher within the movie, however had been additionally topic to her half-hearted slice of glitchy early-00s synth pop, which sounded extra like a discarded B-side.

22. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service — John Barry (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969)

This isn’t all that dangerous, it’s only a little bit of a non-event that lasts lower than three minutes and doesn’t have any vocals. It does have a tasty little Moog bassline, although. The movie’s predominant musical second comes on the finish, when Louis Armstrong’s We Have All of the Time within the World soundtracks the massive emotional finale.

21. Tomorrow By no means Dies – Sheryl Crow (Tomorrow By no means Dies, 1997)

If we’re being trustworthy, we’d completely forgotten Sheryl Crow had recorded a Bond theme within the late 90s. Saying that, we’d be shocked if Crow herself remembered it, given how unremarkable this dreary ballad is. Surprisingly, okay.d lang additionally produced a music for the opening credit which was much better, however it was ultimately relegated to the top credit and changed with Crow’s effort. A disgrace.

20. For Your Eyes Solely — Sheena Easton (For Your Eyes Solely, 1981)

From its chillwave-style opening to the tacky balladry of the refrain, this one simply feels very… un-Bondish. It was initially written with Dusty Springfield or Donna Summer time in thoughts, however we’re unsure they may have executed a lot to raise it.

19. The Residing Daylights — A-ha (The Residing Daylights, 1987)

This one nearly seems like an experiment. What occurs when you take A-ha’s new wave sensibilities and mash them up with traditional Bond string preparations? The reply: one thing confused that nearly works however, finally, doesn’t.

18. All Time Excessive – Rita Coolidge (Octopussy, 1985)

Working round a circus dressed as a clown in Octopussy definitely wasn’t an all time excessive for Roger Moore’s Bond, however the movie’s theme wasn’t fairly so laughable. Rita Coolidge’s ABBA-esque ballad was slightly restrained for the franchise, however a strong sufficient effort all the identical.

17. Moonraker — Shirley Bassey (Moonraker, 1979)

Shirley Bassey’s third and ultimate go at doing the Bond theme was additionally her weakest — honest sufficient actually, seeing as she was solely drafted in a few weeks earlier than launch as an emergency substitute for Kate Bush. The songwriting is fairly lacklustre, and when you hear that infernal triangle, you possibly can’t unhear it.

16. The Man with the Golden Gun – Lulu (The Man with the Golden Gun, 1974)

It’s probably the most problematic Bonds and there’s a slight Carry On really feel to Lulu’s innuendo-packed Man with the Golden Gun theme, too. “He has a robust weapon, he expenses 1,000,000 a shot… Love is required every time he’s employed, it comes simply earlier than the kill.” It’s fully ridiculous, however fairly good enjoyable all issues thought of.

15. A View to a Kill – Duran Duran (A View to a Kill, 1985)

Duran Duran powered up their synthesisers for this middling effort again within the mid 80s. The texture of the theme is true, propelled by big drums and peppered with brass blasts. The tune simply isn’t fairly up it although, and Simon Le Bon’s vocal efficiency is slightly missing too.

14. From Russia With Love — Matt Monro (From Russia With Love, 1963)

The songwriting right here isn’t significantly riveting, however it’s the baritone vocal of Matt Monro that wins us over — the ultimate 10 seconds or so are actually one thing to behold.

13. You Know My Identify — Chris Cornell (On line casino Royale, 2006)

Certainly probably the most underrated Bond tracks. We’re massive followers of all of the drama that swells round this one, combining Cornell’s belting vocals with an ideal dollop of melodramatic rock and strings.

12. Licence to Kill – Gladys Knight (Licence to Kill, 1989)

This Gladys Knight energy ballad has the hallmarks of an excellent Bond theme, hitting all the best cadences and displaying off her blockbuster voice. The late 80s twist in manufacturing is a pleasure too – suppose big gated reverb drum sounds, glittering synths and an unlimited key change. It’s one other observe that’s underrated – very like Dalton’s stint as Bond.

11. One other Strategy to Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys (Quantum of Solace, 2008)

Jack White wrote, produced and performed guitar, drums and piano on this difficult rocking Bond theme, duetting with Alicia Keys. Whereas it did really feel slightly unfocused, it was good to have some heavy riffage within the Bond world once more – the primary correct guitar motif because the days of Dr No and Reside and Let Die.

10. The World Is Not Sufficient — Rubbish (The World Is Not Sufficient, 1999)

It’d come throughout as very turn-of-the-millennium now, however much more than twenty years later, there’s no denying that this among the finest fashionable Bond themes — no different observe has combined the darkish attract of its traditional predecessors with modern sounds fairly in addition to this one.

9. Thunderball – Tom Jones (Thunderball, 1965)

It felt like Tom Jones and Bassey had been attempting to out-belt every within the early years of Bond, and Jones actually provides it some on this massive band quantity. The orchestration and explosive brass thrives are important Bond, and there are good allusions to the unique theme from Dr No too, with Jones’s powerhouse vocals sitting of their midst.

8. No Time To Die – Billie Eilish (No Time To Die, 2021)

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Eilish’s Bond effort is downright haunting – and it’s testomony to her and brother Finneas’ songwriting skills that regardless of the tumultuous launch saga, No Time To Die feels simply as putting because it did when it was unveiled to a lot fanfare final 12 months, without delay strikingly fashionable (it’s extra understated than your common Bond theme, with these muted opening piano notes and Eilish’s whispering vocals) and plugged into the franchise’s musical heritage (that’ll be the hovering strings in the direction of the top).

7. GoldenEye — Tina Turner (GoldenEye, 1995)

There’s a distinctly sinister vibe to this one, due to each the songwriting of Bono and The Edge — who clung firmly to the traditions of the Bond theme, somewhat than attempt any nice leaps ahead — and the wonderful, inky vocals of Tina Turner. Further marks for the refined güiro that is available in through the refrain.

6. Skyfall – Adele (Skyfall, 2012)

Adele took us again to the golden age of the massive Bond theme in 2012, giving a memorable efficiency on the fashionable title observe. The music, based mostly across the traditional descending three-chord development so synonymous with Bond, was equally daring and restrained, accelerating in the direction of an emphatic end – very like the movie itself.

5. Diamonds Are Perpetually — Shirley Bassey (Diamonds Are Perpetually, 1971)

It was a tough choice between this and Bassey’s different traditional, Goldfinger, as to which ought to place increased on our listing. Regardless, Diamonds Are Perpetually is a gold normal towards which all the opposite Bond themes have since been judged. The sultry, sophisticatedly funky groove is the proper backdrop for Bassey’s beautifully wounded vocal efficiency.

4. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger, 1964)

It doesn’t get extra quintessentially Bond than the opening orchestral swell and scream of brass on Goldfinger. It’s one in every of John Barry’s best moments, and the supply from Bassey is among the all-time nice diva performances. There’s implausible use of dynamics within the orchestration all through, and the way in which Bassey assaults her approach via the observe, delivering the lyrics with relish, is price its weight in… effectively, gold.

3. Reside And Let Die — Wings (Reside and Let Die, 1973)

The primary Bond theme ever nominated for an Oscar, and with good purpose — it’s an absolute romp. We’ll excuse the awkward reggae bit within the center (a part of the movie was set in Caribbean, however nonetheless, we’re not satisfied) and simply deal with that unbeatable predominant riff. When Macca and the gang are in full circulation on this observe, it’s unattainable to not conjure photographs of a high-octane automotive chase or some death-defying fisticuffs. Excellent.

2. You Solely Reside Twice — Nancy Sinatra (You Solely Reside Twice, 1967)

Certainly John Barry’s best manufacturing, You Solely Reside Twice is a swirling magnificence. Orchestral breezes blow over Nancy Sinatra’s luxurious tones, whereas Barry adeptly works in some conventional sounds from Japan, the nation during which the movie is about (he definitely handles these components with extra panaché than the movie itself, whose tropes of the Far East are clumsy to say the very least). There are literally two variations of this music — a subsequent transforming by producer Lee Hazlewood added additional layers of guitar-led psychedelia — however it’s this authentic that endures as probably the most affecting Bond themes ever written.

1. No person Does it Higher – Carly Simon (The Spy Who Cherished Me, 1977)

This excellent slice of energy balladry has no actual proper to work as a James Bond theme, actually – given how completely different it feels to different, extra conventional songs within the franchise.

Carly Simon’s elegant tune was the primary Bond music which didn’t share the identify of the film, and it’s an enormous departure from the norm. The writers knew how completely different the music was – the road “like heaven above me, the Spy Who Cherished Me” was added late within the day by Carly Simon, nearly to justify its standing as a Bond theme. The power of the writing alone, although, is what earns it a place on the prime of our listing.

The opening piano flourish immediately hooks the listener, and all the pieces that comes after – from Simon’s impassioned supply to the woozy strings and propulsive chord development – is completely pitched and nonetheless retains us shaken and stirred to today.

It’s unshackled by a number of the conventional hallmarks of Bond themes, and because of this it’s one of many solely ones which manages to transcend the franchise fully – it’s not simply one of many nice film themes, however one of many biggest pop songs of the 70s and past.

No Time To Die is in cinemas from September 30