Bond themes

16 Nov

James Bond themes have always been important. OK, so maybe not as important as the film itself, but you know what I mean. Growing up with the films, one of the things that stuck with me [other than the eyebrow dexterity of the actors] was the famous opening credits, with their stunning visuals, naked ladies and of course the songs.

Unfortunately, upon listening back to these themes I realised something: most of them are rubbish. [I feel I should mention this.] The hardest part of the countdown wasn’t choosing the best song [that was obvious] but trying to pick the worst! And so with that, let’s begin…

  1. James Bond Theme –Monty Norman. The original and the best, there is no beating this! One of only three instrumental themes, the only thing I can fault is the strange drumming in the middle…
  2. Live And Let Die –Paul McCartney and Wings. Oh fuck yes. This doesn’t sound like a typical Bond theme and that’s what I love about it- it’s dark, heavy and fast. There’s also a weird defeatist/carefree attitude coming from the lyrics, which work so well.
  3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service –John Barry. Oooh another instrumental! And a damn fine instrumental at that. Catchy, horny goodness, it’s another classic.
  4. Goldfinger –Shirley Bassey. Damn Shirley! What a voice. This is what a Bond theme is all about: strong vocals, innuendo, sex and brass. And sass. Lots of sass.
  5. Thunderball –Tom Jones. You know you’re in for a good film when the song alludes to the badass characteristics of the bad guy right from the start. [Walking is for the weak.] And what a tune! But Tom, promise me you won’t faint during the recording process again, kay?
  6. A View To A Kill –Duran Duran. I don’t know why but I love this song! It’s overdramatic, cheesy and so, so good.
  7. You Know My Name –Chris Cornell. The reboot in 2006 [2006?! Crickey how time flies] signalled a new Bond; gritty and edgy with less of those lame [but somehow endearing] one liners and the theme song changes with it. A harsher, more powerful sound with wonderfully gravelly vocals. Plus how can you not love a guy who’s willing to write a song called Octopussy ‘for fun’.
  8. Diamonds Are Forever –Shirley Bassey. Sensuous as fuck.
  9. The Man With The Golden Gun –Lulu. Euphemismoriffic! Let’s be honest here- it’s only this far up because of it’s comedic value. I’m so juvenile but this is a very funny song if you’ve got a dirty mind. For example: “his eye may be on you or me, who will he bang? We shall see.” Snigger.
  10. The World Is Not Enough –Garbage. Lesson from this: always go after the big things in life, even if you don’t want them. Never settle for second best and never let anyone say you can’t do anything. What a curiously motivational song…
  11. Tomorrow Never Dies –Sheryl Crow. A little bit too passive/submissive for my liking but damn has Sheryl got a strong voice.
  12. All Time High –Rita Coolidge. Why do I like this? I say ‘like’… It’s tolerable but in my mind not really good as a Bond theme.
  13. Nobody Does It Better –Carly Simon. Again, only really listenable in a dirty way 😉
  14. From Russia With Love –John Barry. The last of the instrumentals, not brilliant, not terrible, just plodding along without really going anywhere. This does however, have the best opening titles ever:
  15. Moonraker –Shirley Bassey. My least favourite of all the Shirley Bassey themes. It’s not as fierce as the previous two and although Ms. Bassey’s voice is incredible as usual, it lumber’s along [much like From Russia With Love] without making any impact whatsoever.
  16. You Only Live Twice –Nancy Sinatra.  Lovely string section but I’m not overwhelmed by it as a Bond theme.
  17. GoldenEye –Tine Turner. Eh. There’s no denying that Tina’s got a fabulous voice but the song is only mediocre. The music is ok [there’s that lovely hook in the intro] but the lyrics are freaky and god awful.
  18. The Living Daylights –aha. Nope.
  19. Die Another Day –Madonna. Oh Madge… I remember liking this when it came out, all of those 10 years ago, but now I find it truly dreadful. If you’re feeling brave, go check out the video. But put it on mute. Please put it on mute.
  20. For Your Eyes Only –Sheena Easton. Sappy shite with weird lyrics. How could anyone think this was a good idea?
  21. Licence To Kill –Gladys Knight. Good lord this is awful.
    *JOINT LAST*
  22. Another Way To Die –Jack White & Alicia Keys. What a clusterfuck of a song! Awkward, disjointed noise are the main things I got from this. Horrible as a Bond theme, horrible as a song in general.
    Skyfall –Adele. I really don’t like this song. The lyrics are horrendous, the backing vocals genuinely made me laugh and the song is just bland, which is the worst thing to be.

HONOURABLE MENTION:
We Have All The Time In The World –Louis Armstrong. We don’t though, do we Louis? Mr Armstrong has such a magnificent voice and if anyone else sang this I’d probably hate it. But as it happens, he does and it’s beautiful.

About the writer: Daisy is an irregular photographer, wannabe writer and full time female. In between tea and toast breaks she spends far too much time on the internet blogging, tumbling and tweeting. She is unapologetic in her love of the Spice Girls.

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