If you live in the U.K. then you’re only a couple of days away from seeing the latest James Bond epic, “Spectre.” But if you live state side like me, we still got two long ass weeks to go before we get to experience the 24th 007 film.
It isn’t fair dammit!
Anyway, last week I gave you my Top 10 Bond girls. This week I’m giving you my Top 10 Bond theme songs! Some of my picks may surprise you, and please note that for this list I am excluding the James Bond Theme (the one everyone knows), and my personal favorite, The 007 Theme.
I’m excluding them because they’re used in multiple movies and were not written for one specific film. Got it? good, now here’s my list:
10. Sheena Easton – For Your Eyes Only
By 1981 Roger Moore was showing his age. but Sheena Easton sure wasn’t. The Scottish beauty scored an Academy Award nomination for the theme to “For Your Eyes Only,” and remains the only artist to appear in the opening credits.
9. Sheryl Crow – Tomorrow Never Dies
Surprised to see a Pierce Brosnan era song on my list? Me too.
But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. “Tomorrow Never Dies” is the best of the Brosnan films, and for some reason, I know every word to this song. Probably because I used to listen to it on the radio driving to and from college.
8. Adele- Skyfall
After years of either dance songs or rock ballads, the Bond theme song returned to its roots with “Skyfall.”
Musically it pays honor to the time-honored standards of Bond music, in particular the John Barry sound. Lyrically, the song delves deeply into the plot of the film, which is not easy to do. And in terms of performance, the only singer today who could match Shirley Bassey is Adele.
7. Shirley Bassey- Goldfinger
Come on, did you really think this song wasn’t going to be on my list? After all, this song is the GOLD standard when it comes to 007 themes.
6. Duran Duran- A View to a Kill
If you weren’t around during the early 190’s, you’re probably not aware that Duran Duran were one of the biggest bands in the world at the time. And yet, they seemed like an odd choice to write and perform “A View To A Kill” in 1985.
The last of the Roger Bond movies is pretty forgettable, but the song has become a 1980’s classic. and the only Bond song to hit Number One on the charts,
5. Tom Jones- Thunderball
Just a few months after Tom Jones broke onto the charts with “It’s Not Unusual,” the producers of “Thunderball” hired him for the theme song. But did you know Tom Jones wasn’t their first choice?
That’s right, before jones took a crack ad the theme song, Shirley Bassey, Dionne Warwick and even Johnny Cash submitted songs for “Thunderball,” but at the last-minute the producers opted for Jones. Thank the movie gods they did!
Also, in 1999 I got to see him do this song live, which I gotta admit was pretty damn cool.
4. Louis Armstrong- We Have All the Time in the World
Its kind of an unwritten rule that James Bond theme songs must have the name of the movie in the chorus. There are exceptions of course, and the first time the problem came up was with 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Faced with the problem, the producers opted to go with a brilliant instrumental piece in the opening credits sequence.
But the studio still wanted a theme song of some kind, so Hal David and Burt Bacharach were brought on board to write another song for the movie, and they hired Louis Armstrong to sing it. The 68-year-old jazz great was quite sick at the time, but he nailed the song in a single take.
The results? Pure magic.
3. Paul McCartney & Wings- Live and Let Die
Paul McCartney’s patented musical chops coupled with producer George Martin’s masterful work came together again for “Live and Let Die.”
You might have heard of the, as the two worked together in a little group called the Beatles. No wonder this is regarded by many as one of the most exciting theme songs of all time.
2. Carly Simon- Nobody Does it Better
I wasn’t looking, but somehow this song found me.
It also helped that “Nobody Does it Better” served as the theme for “The Sy Who Loved me,” the best of the Roger Moore movies and one of the best in the series if you ask me.
1. Nancy Sinatra- You only Live Twice
The world may know her best for “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” but I know her for her haunting rendition of “You Only Live Twice.”
Sinatra’s voice paired with words by Leslie Bricusse and John Barry equals perfection, and my favorite Bond song.