Frequent collaborator Nicholas Dodd orchestrated and conducted the score. fame) and arranged and composed by the celebrated John Barry, spent 13 weeks in the UK charts. We rank all the James Bond themes on their musical merit. It’s literally a song about the titular assassin and his iconic weapon, punctuated by over-the-top boasts that “love is required whenever he’s hired.” This is the most unabashedly campy Bond theme, and if you can’t get at least a little joy out of that, lighten up. The sophomore Bond outing introduced the idea of a Bond Theme Song as we know it (though it plays in full with lyrics during the end credits instead of right off the bat), so it’s understandable that “From Russia with Love” plays things pretty safe. On Thursday she dropped her theme song, "No Time to Die," for the 25th Bond film. While it incorporates The Spy Who Loves Me in its lyrics, 'Nobody Does It... 3. The music was composed and conducted by John Barry, and performed by the John Barry Orchestra.This was Barry's third soundtrack for the series. It’s blunt, which is luckily more feature than bug. Live and let live, right? That’s fine, though. Bassey, though, hints at the sad darkness of such a lifestyle, even as the music—which goes from eerie to upbeat—obscures its subject of glamour and worship in shadows. No, featured Monty Norman's "James Bond Theme," a distinctive instrumental piece that has figured in every Bond picture since and that leads off the disc. © 2021 Condé Nast. Dame Shirley Bassey has sung more Bond … You can hear “Live and Let Die” or “Nobody Does It Better” in the wild and not instantly think of 007. Yet more evidence that the best Bond themes come from the most sensitive singers, not just the big-voiced belters. The song carries the simple imagery and makes for a hell of an opening … Composed by longtime film composer John Barry, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” adds some serious funk to the art of spycraft, and while it’s a lot of fun, it feels weird to compare what really feels more like a standard (high-quality!) Although John Barry remained deeply involved in the song, it is very much a Duran Duran composition through and through: Barry’s contributions, the signature stabs of brass, are used like ornaments rather than essential functions of the song (the band were in charge of the major songwriting elements, chord progressions etc), which is brazenly effective. And as the first official singer of what colloquially would become known as ‘the Bond song’, Matt Monro’s is pleasingly workmanlike: all the post-Sinatra cool and heightened drama is present in his performance. Alicia Keys’ vocal talents are colossal, but the material is utterly unsuited to her, the result being a very queasy duet that sounds simultaneously underwritten and over-ornamented (there’s a literally a bit where Keys attempts to mimic guitar feedback by going “meh”). That prelude has surpassed the movie and the song itself to become a timeless musical cue. And while no-one should decry an artist for trying something new, to leave out the chorus of a Bond theme song and replace it with robot noises was perhaps a step too far. The Best of Bond...James Bond, a compilation of all 25 theme songs from the iconic film franchise, will be released as a limited-edition 3xLP vinyl this fall. Almost quite good. A View To Kill opens with a woman revealing her cleavage, only to have a lasered 007 on her chest, which even for Bond is pretty unsubtle. 24. 11. History-making in that, at 18, Eilish is the youngest musician to write and record a Bond theme – and she performed it at the Brit Awards 2020 with legendary composer Hans Zimmer. Then, twist: It’s all a fake-out. The soundtrack was still … For a noisy composition, it sounds strangely relaxed, oddly calm throughout. “Diamonds Are Forever,” Shirley Bassey (1971). “You Know My Name” is both confidently boisterous and ominous, which makes it a fitting introduction to Daniel Craig as a rookie James Bond. James Bond Movie Theme Songs, Ranked Worst to Best From A-Ha to Adele, breaking down the franchise’s legendary (and legendarily bad) opening numbers James Bond Movie Theme Songs, Ranked Worst to Best From A-Ha to Adele, breaking down the franchise’s legendary (and legendarily bad) opening numbers Destined to be a Bond footnote, this definitely needed another edit. With just a two-bar theme of French horns and violins, “You Only Live Twice” transports you into a comforting paradise that feels just ever so subtly false in nature. Firstly, it’s the first and arguably only time rock music has been successfully weaved into a Bond theme, brass and bluster intact. Plus, it made for a killer Kanye sample. Others would be great songs even if they had nothing to do with 007. 5 October 2020, 15:02. There is a flaw, though, and it’s a very simple one: the song is too slow and too rigid. Shirley Manson conveys that longing for fulfillment that 007 can’t quite ever reach with this mournful descriptor title track. Sweeping and glorious, it’s an ode to feeling comforted and secure, which is not necessarily an emotion one might associate with James Bond and his predilection for collateral damage. Those recognizable notes, which composer John Barry recorded for Bond’s first film outing in 1962, Dr. No, make up what is only one of many iconic Bond themes. This is a rock song dragged to its breaking point by the need to sound ‘a bit Bond-y’ and, like Madonna’s effort before it, a song without a discernible, singalongable chorus. Out of the 24 existing songs, spanning all the way back to Monty Norman’s original James Bond theme, there are 10 that represent what we believe to be the best James Bond theme songs of all time. Every element is precise, tense, lean and efficient. Bill Conti and Mick Leeson were responsible for the first Bond theme song of the 1980s and, like so much of the pop culture in that decade, it’s ripe for reappraisal. But in the grand pantheon of Bond themes, it’s basically one of the ones where the singer sings the title of the film and, therefore, absolutely basic Bond theme territory. There’s nothing more sneakily comforting than Paul McCartney luring you into a false sense of security with the opening of this song, a gentle, nostalgic reminder of times when you used to optimistically let bygones be bygones. The rich and varied history of James Bond title theme songs has given us – like the movies themselves – triumphs, thrills, disasters and surprises. A Ranking of Every James Bond Theme Song, From Billie Eilish to Paul McCartney 1. Gladys Knight (sans Pips and wearing a tuxedo in the music video) is easily equal to the task, but there was something missing - John Barry was no longer musically involved with Bond, but the very heavy quote of his ‘Goldfinger’ musical motif at the outset here meant that his sound was never far away. George Lazenby’s underrated James Bond was a more emotional character than audiences had seen before, and the song reflected this quite perfectly. The theme tune to 007, From Russia with Love, performed by Matt Monro. But with the second entry in the series, 1963's From Russia with Love, there was a specially written title song sung by a contemporary pop artist during the opening … But ‘All Time High’ from Octopussy is perfectly serviceable: glossy, slick and well executed, and another example of a Bond theme which doesn’t rely on vocal histrionics to make its impact felt. All 23 James Bond movie theme songs, ranked. This is definitely the most deeply odd Bond theme ever written and, in a weird way, that also makes it quite admirable, despite the quite vociferous critical reception it was given on release. Boldly, there is no percussion at all (save for the odd cymbal crescendo), but the flipside of that boldness is just how exposed it leaves Smith’s vocals. Madge was really going for broke with “Die Another Day,” which features stirring, slashing violin, retro sci-fi synths and vocal distortions, and an inexplicable challenge to Sigmund Freud. Every lyric is steeped in intrigue, ominous and enticing at the same time. “Tomorrow Never Dies,” Sheryl Crow (1997). MGM/UA Multiple-Grammy-winner Billie Eilish is the new voice behind the James Bond franchise. It became the first James Bond theme song to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song. 5. Roger Moore (1927–2017) played his best James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).That film opens with 007’s greatest on-screen moment: a ski chase that leads to Bond (indomitable stuntman Rick Sylvester) skiing right off a cliff and plunging into the void! Adele’s voice has that mixture of powerful gravitas and popular appeal (you know, like James Bond himself), and she’s able to reach levels of intensity while still letting “Skyfall” have a bit of genre fun—at no point during the song’s most dramatic moments do you forget that it’s the lead-in to a movie about a kickass super-spy. … Cornell was a devastating vocalist with the right material, and there are moments here which allow him to open up and hint at the potential of a rock-led Bond theme. The James Bond film series from Eon Productions features numerous musical compositions since its inception in 1962, many of which are now considered classic pieces of British film music. Bond themes have a habit of making gung-ho phrases like “Tomorrow never dies” sound dire and fatalistic rather than explosive, and this is a prime example. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’s secondary theme would almost seem out of place for Bond—on a casual listen, it’s just lovely and optimistic. Matt Monro was one of the big singing stars of the 60s – with hits such as ‘My Kind Of Girl’ – and his Bond song, written by Lionel Bart (of Oliver! NOT RANKED: “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” John Barry Orchestra (1969). This time, they’ve set their scopes on ranking the James Bond opening title sequences. For all his glamour, women, and martinis, James Bond is a deeply sad character. It’s hard to say for sure what part of the James Bond franchise is the most iconic. . Shirley Bassey is both boasting about the titular villain’s opulence and exploits and warning us listeners not to waltz right into his sticky web of sin. Gert Fröbe played the role of Goldfinger, but ignore that: Bassey is Goldfinger. “The World Is Not Enough,” Garbage (1999). Sheryl Crow falls between these two extremes, aiming for the pout and simplicity of Nancy Sinatra, but also sticking a monster chorus into the mix as well. It’s a waste of Bassey’s myriad talents. 12. Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli described the song as "incredibly powerful and moving", adding it had been "impeccably crafted to work within the emotional story of the film". As a result, the sheer relief of hearing a passable Bond theme led listeners to believe that ‘Skyfall’ was a classic. The sixth Bond movie opens with an all-instrumental song, rather than a traditional Bond theme with lyrics. MP3 Music Listen with Music Unlimited. The Grammy sweeper’s voice is haunting and, importantly, full of mystery. Not traditionally seen as Bond’s heyday, and certainly not celebrated for its Bond theme songs. ... but this is the greatest Bond opening ever. “Another Way to Die,” Jack White and Alicia Keys (Quantum of Solace, 2008). It stands up to the greats in terms of melody (plenty of Bond motifs in there), harmony (fragile and beautiful chord crunches we’ve come to know and love from Eilish and her producer brother, Finneas O’Connell) and orchestration (hello, jangly Bond piano high notes and sweeping chorus strings). Proving that the key to a successful Bond song is sensitivity over bluster, ‘You Only Live Twice’ is absolutely up there as one of the best. Plus, this movie had a secondary theme from Louis Armstrong that, for all intents and purposes, is the more traditional Bond song. FREE Shipping on orders over $25 shipped by Amazon. Every James Bond Opening Sequence, Ranked. James Bond’s Best and Worst: Peter Travers Ranks All 24 Movies The Best and Worst of the franchise Smooth Classics with Margherita Taylor I went back and listened to all 24 James Bond title songs and ranked them from worst to best. Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli described the song as "incredibly powerful and moving", adding it had been "impeccably crafted to work within the emotional story of the film". The melody is elementary, while the ad libs and improvisations are predictable in shape, both of which contribute to a sense of buttoned-up repression. Moonraker is arguably the worst James Bond film of them all, and its theme song isn't really helping its case. And it doesn’t always matter if they aren’t. The song won the Academy Award and was the first Bond song to hit number one on the UK charts. 5. But ‘Thunderball’, the third ‘attached’ theme song to a Bond film is strangely inert, especially when considered directly alongside Shirley Bassey’s ‘Goldfinger’. Audio CD $15.99 $ 15. Every James Bond film has a theme song, and they are listed below. RELATED: A License To Kill: 10 Worst Things James Bond Has Ever Done, Ranked. 7. I went back and listened to all 24 James Bond title songs and ranked them from worst to best. The recording of "Skyfall" was first released as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the James Bond film franchise in October 2012. Paul McCartney & Wings – 'Live and Let Die'. The sixth Bond movie opens with an all-instrumental song, rather than a traditional Bond theme with lyrics. Each time the song pulls away from the intensity of its chorus—like in the middle, when it gets briefly beachy—the respites let Wings hit you with full force again. James Bond theme songs ranked from worst to best, based on musical merit. “Thunderball” already sounds like a parody of itself, which, frankly, is admirable. It’s a bad vibe for Bond, and not an interesting enough song to stand on its own. James Bond theme songs ranked from worst to best, based on musical merit. >. Like the films, however, the themes of the Daniel Craig era include both hits and misses. James Bond Songs. That ironic melancholy adds some serious depth to this one. 007 Classics (The Songs From James Bond) by London Symphony Orchestra | Mar 5, 2011. 13. The best known of these pieces is the ubiquitous "James Bond Theme".Other instrumentals, such as the "007 Theme" or "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", and various songs, such as Shirley … The latest Bond instalment, No Time to Die, is due to be released on 8 April 2020, with Billie Eilish singing the title theme. Download 'Melodie Opus 42 No.3' on iTunes. Delicious, winding string melodies are the counterpoint to Nancy Sinatra’s rather un-showy vocal display, marking her out in particular as a unique figure in the series. The blaring, warbling horns are a jolt to the system and an additional warning siren you just have to ignore. To be able to score the theme song to a film that is part of such a legendary series is a huge honor," Eilish said in a statement. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. Read more: No Time To Die soundtrack: what’s the music in the new Bond film and when is it released? What’s *the* definitive Bond title theme? The album was first released by United Artists Records in 1965 in both monaural and stereo editions, with a CD release in 1988. “A View to a Kill,” Duran Duran (1985). Some Bond themes sound timeless. Skyfall is… a mansion in the film? Balanced against the rest of the list, it’s a solid mid-table affair with some top arranging in the background. The sultry 'You Only Live Twice' captures all the sex and exoticism of the films, with a (much sampled) opening that is only slightly less iconic than the Bond theme itself. It’s the entire movie series compressed into a tight, three-minute song, the gold standard for Bond themes. His shimmering strings bubble beneath the surface, and Bassey’s voice is only given limited opportunities to open up, lending the whole piece a charged and difficult air. Even if you didn’t recognize the world’s most famous spy, you’d certainly hear him coming, announced by his thundering, iconic theme music. Like, we get it, we're about to see a movie about James Bond, we're all onboard. Behind the bluster and brilliance of Bassey’s delivery is Lesley Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s divine extrapolation of the core Bond themes, but it’s Bassey’s show through and through. “Thunderball” might be the platonic ideal of a James Bond theme: It’s got hints of the iconic 007 motif, blaring horns, extremely literal lyrics that give you a weirdly conceptual impression of the movie’s plot, and somebody crooning the titular MacGuffin phrase without a shred of irony. 18. 4.1 out of 5 stars 16. 23. James Bond isn’t the most covert secret agent, and he’s quick to turn to violence to get out of a bad situation. All rights reserved. Roger Moore (1927–2017) played his best James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).That film opens with 007’s greatest on-screen moment: a ski chase that leads to Bond (indomitable stuntman Rick Sylvester) skiing right off a cliff and plunging into the void! Casino Royale: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.The soundtrack to the 2006 film Casino Royale was released by Sony Classical on November 14, 2006. “For Your Eyes Only,” Sheena Easton (1981). A theory for you: by the time ’Skyfall’ came along, there hadn’t been a classic Bond theme for many, many years (since 1995 to be precise). Atonal horns, a little bit of post-McCartney rock rhythm and a squally guitar break in the first 20 seconds - wahey, we’re getting somewhere! The result redefined what it meant to record a Bond theme: pop artists would now flock to the franchise, seeking to leave their own distinctive mark, rather than the franchise drafting yet another vocalist to interpret the material. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Your California Privacy Rights. It also means we’re omitting any Bond themes that didn’t make the final cut, including Radiohead’s unused Spectre theme, which is a shame. Paul McCartney & Wings – 'Live and Let Die' 4. 007 needs his soundtrack even more than his gadgets. "Skyfall" climbed all the way to #2 on the U.K. pop singles chart and peaked at #8 in the U.S. Here, Bond’s longtime composer, John Barry—who had a hand in creating many of the Bond songs, including "A View to a Kill" and "Goldfinger," among others—just wrote some music that hews pretty close to the rest of the score, and then English crooner Matt Monro sang lyrics, lounge-style. The history of James Bond theme songs isn’t quite as long as some might suspect, however. That immediate wash of strings is pure Bond atmosphere, a perfect encapsulation of the aesthetic, soundworld and grippingly cool style with which the spy was synonymous. Preview, buy and download songs from the album Best of Bond... James Bond (Deluxe Edition), including "James Bond Theme (From "Dr. No")," "From Russia with Love," "Goldfinger (Main Title)" and many more. GQ may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. If there’s a moment when “Goldeneye” cements itself as a top-tier Bond song, it’s when Tina Turner pauses as she sings, “Time… time is not on my side.” In that pause, amidst the suspenseful instrumentation, Turner relishes her power and potential for cruelty. Since 1957, GQ has inspired men to look sharper and live smarter with its unparalleled coverage of style, culture, and beyond. Sheryl Crow’s vocals are much more stable, but the song maintains that captivating energy throughout. That arrangement is decidedly more ‘pop’ than previous efforts and perhaps demonstrates Barry’s desire to expand the definition of what a Bond theme song could be, it benefits from its distance from the plot and title of the film. “Writing’s on the Wall,” Sam Smith (Spectre, 2015). Is there another artist in recent memory who was, right out of the gate, a more natural fit to sing a Bond theme? Monro’s song is played during the film (as source music on a radio) and over the end titles of Sean Connery’s second outing as 007. Diamonds are shiny and pure, but Shirley Bassey sure casts a shadow on them in her second Bond theme. Sheena Easton’s voice is plain but striking, and the song’s introduction is an almost direct inversion of Bassey’s two-note ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ motif, a cheeky but necessary acknowledgment of what had come before. Then you realize that Louis Armstrong’s distinctive voice injects just enough sorrow into the lyrics, and remember that the song’s title comes from the last thing Bond says to his wife, Tracy, before she’s murdered at the end of the movie. Bringing back Shirley Bassey for the third time is perhaps lazy, but still, if you were to rely on any one singer to deliver your latest Bond theme then you’d pick Shirley. For a secret agent, James Bond is hard to miss. 2. It’s perhaps no wonder that longtime Bond theme overlord John Barry found working with the band to be a bore: tensions and muted arguments meant that his contributions to the song (there are… some… strings… somewhere…?) Visit the James Bond music page to see all songs and soundtracks. Nobody Does It Better (song) Diamonds are Forever (song) Live and Let Die (song) Or $9.49 to buy MP3. The history of James Bond theme songs isn’t quite as long as some might suspect, however. In honor of Eilish’s new contribution, here are all the James Bond themes, ranked. Shirley, John, we salute your restraint. ‘Nobody Does It Better’? All the angular brass riffs are there, along with the belting vocals, but it’s a curiously joyless effort. Confusing, but in a nice way? Adele, utterly spellbinding vocal talent that she is, basically whispers the whole song. It’s the Bond theme that won an Oscar, but it is completely mid-table in terms of its musical merits. You don’t need to be a secret agent to rock to McCartney’s encouragement to let ’em burn. There is, somewhere in this song, a mushroom cloud of emotion dying to escape, but the composition simply doesn’t allow it to emerge. So, let’s attempt to rationalise the song with its constituent parts. Please note that this isn’t a ranking on the film overall, but just the song itself. However, their team-up for Quantum of Solace is a good reminder of why 007 typically works alone (apologies to Felix Leiter). Read more: the biggest songs in West Side Story, RANKED from worst to best >. There’s a swirling chord progression which barely moves for the entirety of the song (which is a colossal four minutes and forty-six seconds long), the dynamic level barely goes further than mezzo-forte to forte and back again. Or, as she puts it in her endlessly imitable style, ‘Gold-finguh!’. Subsequent movies in the franchise had their own distinct (for better or for worse) musical offerings; the most recent comes to us from Grammy winner Billie Eilish, who recently released the theme for No Time to Die. 22. “Live and Let Die,” Paul McCartney and Wings (1973). Meet Rowan Pierce, Hear a colossal 80-inch symphonic gong that sounds, Sir Elton John to ‘go into battle’ in fight for, Watch guitarist Craig Ogden’s exclusive Valentine’s Day, Download 'Melodie Opus 42 No.3' on iTunes. Their high notes often approach whining instead of crooning, and the relative sparseness of the strings and piano don’t do their self-pitying lyrics any favors. For our money, the best Bond title sequence of the 1980s is The Living Daylights, which features a song by A-ha. Here are all 5 modern James Bond theme songs ranked from worst to best, including Billie Eilish's new "No Time To Die." Other instrumentals, such as the '007 Theme' or 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', and various songs, such as Shirley Bassey's 'Goldfinger', Paul McCartney's 'Live and Let Die', Carly Simon's 'Nobody Does It Better', Sheena Easton's 'For Your E As such, Lulu is forced to ham her way through material which, although spirited, is only really an impression of great Bond songs of the previous decade. The orchestral pop song, written by Adele and producer Paul Epworth, is considered one of the best Bond songs of all. Carly Simon is not known for her Bassey-esque vocal prowess, but the storytelling in ‘Nobody Does It Better’ is nuanced, poised and, coupled with Marvin Hamlisch’s iconic piano tinkling, a surprisingly delicate experience. As a Bond movie, Moonraker itself occupies a strange place in the canon: indebted to the late-70s vogue for science fiction and space movies, but still very definitely a Roger Moore vehicle for ridiculous double entendres and bonkers stunts. That’s decidedly not the case with “Goldfinger,” whose crowning as the greatest Bond theme of all is as set as a deadly coating of gold body paint. The sixth Bond movie opens with an all-instrumental song, rather than a traditional Bond theme with lyrics. “From Russia with Love,” John Barry Orchestra (1963). No, featured Monty Norman's "James Bond Theme," a distinctive instrumental piece that has figured in every Bond picture since and that leads off the disc. James Bond Themes, Ranked. It could be considered the most classical of all Bond themes, and is certainly distinct in the series. Ad Choices. The Living Daylights is one of the spookier-sounding Bond titles, and A-ha’s ghostly way of singing, combined with unnatural sounding synth effects, inspires a sense of gradual dread. It sounds like a Duran Duran song, and it boasts extremely ’80s-core synth effects and lyrics like “Dance into the fire.” It’s an okay Bond theme, but an incredible time capsule of a song. Shirley Bassey’s pipes are at their absolute zenith here, and with only the second proper Bond theme the die was cast. The song won the Academy Award and was the first Bond song to hit number one on the UK charts. It’s hard for Adele to connect the song with any relatable human emotion, regardless of her demonstrable skills. 10. The sultry 'You Only Live Twice' captures all the sex and exoticism of the films, with a (much sampled) opening that is only slightly less iconic than the Bond theme itself. “The Man with the Golden Gun,” Lulu (1974). All the opening theme songs to most the James Bond movies are here! The rest of the song, charmingly sung by the great Nancy Sinatra, is almost (politely) irrelevant. We have to consider Paul McCartney’s attempt at a classic Bond song a relative success for a couple of reasons. Thunderball is the soundtrack album for the fourth James Bond film Thunderball.. By Ben Finane. It only took 52 years but it would be a big surprise if Billie Eilish’s song … “All Time High” is bland and uninspired, a song that could easily be mistaken for the theme to a forgotten sitcom about a nontraditional family making it work with laughter and love. Very strong. >. Shirley Bassey – 'Diamonds Are Forever' 2. Any great Bond movie needs to grab its audience’s attention immediately with a stunning opening action scene, like GoldenEye’s Contra Dam jump and Skyfall’s fight on the roof of a moving train.. Perhaps the greatest opening action scene in Bond history can be found at the beginning of The Spy Who Loved Me, in which a ski chase at the top of a mountain culminates …

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