“THE NAME’S BOND” | EVERY JAMES BOND SONG RANKED

From 1962 to 2021, films featuring Ian Fleming’s super spy have been entertaining millions as the suave martini-drinking agent saves the world from yet another crazed megalomaniac. When Paul from Discrepancy Records suggested that ranking the best Bond songs was one way to review the new 3 LP set The Best of Bond… James Bond, I was right behind the idea. 

Yet with twenty-five songs (plus Monty Norman’s original theme) spread across a staggering seven decades and six sides of vinyl, listening, analysing, comparing and ranking turned out to be a more dangerous task than I could have imagined. Nonetheless, the commission was completed and the writer arrived home slightly shaken and somewhat stirred, posting the finished article at the Discrepancy Records blog just in time to avert a catastrophe. 

The feature provides an overview of the canon and some context. For reasons of space, however, it only lists the top seven Bond songs. What about the others? 

Here is the complete list of every 007 theme song ranked from least to best. For your eyes only.

25  "No Time to Die" — Billie Eilish (2020)

24  "Die Another Day" — Madonna (2002)

23  "We Have All The Time In The World — Louis Armstrong (1969)

22  "Writing’s On The Wall" — Sam Smith (2015)

21  "Moonraker" — Shirley Bassey (1979)

20  "From Russia With Love" — Matt Monroe (1963)

19  "All Time High" — Rita Coolidge (1983)

18  "You Only Live Twice" — Nancy Sinatra (1967)

17  "Thunderball" — Tom Jones (1965)

16  "The World Is Not Enough" — Garbage (1999)

15  "For Your Eyes Only" — Sheena Easton (1981)

14  "Tomorrow Never Dies" — Sheryl Crow (1997)

13  "The Living Daylights" — a-ha (1987)

12  "Diamonds Are Forever" — Shirley Bassey (1971)

11  "Licence to Kill" — Gladys Knight (1989)

10  "Another Way To Die" — Jack White & Alicia Keys (2008)

9   "You Know My Name" — Chris Cornell (2006)

8   "Nobody Does It Better" — Carly Simon (1977)

7   "On Her Majesty’s Secret Service" — John Barry Orchestra (1969)

6   "Goldfinger" — Shirley Bassey (1964)

5   "Goldeneye" — Tina Turner (1995)

4   "A View To A Kill" — Duran Duran (1985)

3   "The Man With The Golden Gun" — Lulu (1974)

2   "Live And Let Die" — Paul McCartney & Wings (1973)

1   "Skyfall" — Adele (2012)

* * *

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Stop Press!

There is a competition running at Discrepancy’s web site, with the prize being a copy of this 3 LP Best of Bond set. Go to the article and, in the comments, nominate your favourite Bond song and say why, in 50 words or less. Closes midnight, Thursday 18 November (AEST).

29 comments

  1. Dangerous post. Ranking the Bond theme songs is opening the same can of worms that would be opened if you began the Stones V Beatles debate. You are truly brave and I absolutely disagree with your No.1 that’s all I’m saying I will not get drawn into this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha ha! You already are, Mr Bond. And I expect you to suffer!
      Come on, be a brave spy: What’s your #1?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. PS. In the article proper (link) I did address the danger aspect and justified the Top 007 rankings.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tough list to do put together so good on you. I don’t know where I would put it, but I like the Billie Eilish one a lot. It would not be Top 10, but higher than bottom.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s what the Discrepancy owner said too. 🤣
      Feel free to add a little list of your own in Comments. I’d love to see others’ favourites!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe. That would require thought and it is too early for me right now 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe it would be of interest to you that Alice Copper band did their own Bond song. As far as I know it was officialy commissioned, but for some reasons (probably it was delivered one day after the deadline) Lulu’s version was chosen instead. AC version of The Man with a Golden Gun is on “The muscle of love” album and I personaly like it very much. It would have been a killer Bond song!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a great factoid. I had totally forgotten that track on ‘Muscle of Love’ (which was my first Alice album). Must drag it out today!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this post, your commentary was just one pun short of a misdemeanors, well played. Although I would probably put “Goldfinger” at #1 I love this list and look forward to re-visiting many of these songs. Do you know if this album will be released on CD?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Rick. It was a slippery slope with the Bondage puns, for sure.
      Yes, it is out on a 2 CD set (which, to be honest, is more convenient than six sides of vinyl. When I was jumping around in the final ranking process, I used the download that came with the record!).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Satchmo’s is all I have time for, though I like Paul, Carly and Sheena’s, too. The rest are fine within the context of a Bond film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, that’s a lot of time, tref. And indeed, that was the context of the list: the films they came from. Martini?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I mostly agree. I might’ve pushed Moonraker and Diamonds Are Forever up a little higher, but certainly the top 5 are pretty damn good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, PM. It’s a rare thing for me to rank music, but that was the commission so…
      As with most such exercises, the top and bottom tend to work themselves out while the middle requires lots of agonising!

      Like

  7. Oh, and just briefly on your mention of the ‘clunky grammar’ of Live & Let Die in the Discrepancy article… I assume you’re talking about the line “But if this ever changin’ world…”

    I don’t actually believe McCartney is singing what many people believe he is singing: “…in which we live in”, but rather, “…in which we’re livin'”. Which makes the line “But if this ever changin’ world in which we’re livin’ makes you give in and cry”. It’s perfect grammar, and further, it makes the internal rhyme “livin'” and “give in” more elegant and plausibly echoes the dropping of the ‘g’ on “changin'” which would be in keeping with Paul’s scouse linguistic heritage. Once you hear it this way, you can’t hear it the other way.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I guess I never knew that there was a ‘Bond Song’ for each movie. Even after reading your list, I can only come up with the tune to a few of them. I’d join the contest, but my write up of why I like Live and Let Die would be very glass half empty. I don’t really go for the movies either. When he was about 8, Eli wanted to watch Goldfinger. The misogyny! It made me feel icky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. Much of it is distinctly cringe-worthy, though one of the hallmarks of the Daniel Craig era is addressing that glaring problem. At our place we had a lively conversation after watching Goldfinger with the boy (15 at the time).
      As I recall, the VC post following Sean Connery’s death touched on the same problem.
      All that baggage notwithstanding, the song canon is the most enduring and loved in either film or music, and worth celebrating for that, I reckon.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Fun post, Bruce, Bruce Jenkins! 🙂

    The Bond tunes are an interesting subject, and there’s a good number of pretty decent ones that have come out over the decades. I did my own post on them in March 2020, though I didn’t rank them. I’m terrible at ranking and can’t even do it with two things! 🙂

    That being said, my all time high, I mean all time favorite, would be “Goldfinger.” It’s just such a classic, and Shirley Bassey’s voice gives me goosebumps. As a completely unbiased Beatles fan, I would also put Sir Paul’s “Live and Let Die” among my top three. But then I’m already ranking-challenged – shaken, but not stirred!

    I guess I also like “A View to a Kill” and “GoldenEye.” And, yes, Adele’s “Skyfall” is definitely not bad either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I share your ambivalence regarding ranking, Christian. It was mainly to generate some discussion in the Discrepancy post. Glad the top 007 included a good number of your favourites. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A tough task, as they all matter and yet none of them matter, you know? Good on ya.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Neat idea, Bruce – admittedly, I don’t have a ton of emotional investment in Bonds.
    However, I quite like the ones that I’ve heard near the top of the list (McCartney / Tina Turner / Duran Duran) so I feel semi-confident extrapolating and saying I agree with your rankings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been fascinating seeing the competition entries, Geoff. Quite a range of ‘favourites’! But I get what you are saying – not everyone’s niche!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. […] As I worked through these two dozen songs, one conclusion was inescapable: there are many excellent Bond songs and very few stiffs. If you would like to see the entire list— #25 to #1—visit the Vinyl Connection blog. […]

    Like

  13. You just never know when CB is going to bust out with ‘Goldfinger”! Queued up at the market, waking up in the morning, in the movie theater, out for a stroll, mid conversation, library …It’s in my being..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Golden words he will pour in your ear
      But his lies can’t disguise what you fear

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Man That is why I love you. Golden tongue.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Out of sentiment, I’d say my first choice is Goldfinger; but if I were to choose the song I actually enjoy listening to the most, it would be Chris Cornell‘s You Know My Name; there’s somethings surging and gritty about it that I really like. Some of the artists on the list seem such incongruous choices for a Bond film; are Sheena Easton, Carly Simon, and Rita Coolidge really names that come to mind when casting about for a theme song?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The boy and I also found our appreciation of Chris Cornell’s song increasing as we went along. Yes, the mellow songs by female singers. I think it may be about highlighting the ‘romantic’ side of Bond (please note inverted commas), you know… women want to be with him, men want to be him. Or whatever fantasy schtick was applicable to the era. Still, in the DR competition, the Carly Simon theme tied for second most popular!

      Like

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