It may have taken an extra 18 months but the new James Bond movie is finally here. Love them and/or hate them, this franchise has some of the most iconic music in film. Big strings. That du-du-duhhhh motif that rings out whenever something cool happens. It’s as ingrained in pop culture as Darth Vader’s march in Star Wars and Jaws stalking unaware swimmers.
For every movie there’s always hubbub surrounding the choice of artist for the title song. It may feel like an age ago, but it was a coup when the franchise managed to snag the biggest star of the time: Billie Eilish. Despite it feeling like a bit of a catch, some folks (including me) were wondering if she could pull it off? A lot of people haven’t. I’m looking at you Sam Smith. In the end her song for No Time To Die was fine. Not a classic. But not a complete flunk. I’m still looking at you Sam Smith
Anyway all of this is just an excuse to put together my top 10 bond songs, to get me in the mood for the delayed release of the new movie, No Time to Die. So here we go:
A View To A Kill – Duran Duran
For this track they really embraced 80s pop culture by recruiting Duran Duran. A bold pick. Unsurprisingly they delivered something full of synths and drum machines. And I kind of love it.
Thunderball – Tom Jones
Sir Tom Jones comes big and strong. It’s a big band, John Barry classic that helped to cement the James Bond template.
Skyfall – Adele
Adele was the perfect candidate to do a track. Her massive voice is reminiscent of how Shirley Bassey powered through the classics. Is it as good as some of the classic bond tracks? I don’t think so. But it’s still a cracker nonetheless.
The World is not Enough – Garbage
Easily the best part of this movie was the soundtrack. I love the rocky, trip hoppy vibe brought by Garbage. It’s another example of popular music that really complements the big band of Bond tracks.
Goldeneye – Tina Turner
I love the movie. I love the game. I love the song. This feels like a tried and tested formula of lots of brass and a big powerful voice. Tina Turner really delivers.
Live and Let Die – Wings
Yes the breakdown in the middle is a little weird. The backing vocals are sickly sweet. But this is irresistible. This was the first attempt to modernise the title music, and I think they killed it. It’s fun and campy, but also dramatic. Just like the movies.
You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
This song always stood out as unique because it had a mysterious vibe. The strings are not used for drama, and it really compliments Nancy Sinatra’s more delicate delivery.
The Living Daylights – A-ha
Can you tell I have a big soft spot for the 80s. The overblown pop aesthetic perfectly matches with the dramatic strings of James Bond.
Casino Royale – Chris Cornell
This is may be my favorite. It balances the Chris Cornell’s rock vibes, with the grandiose 007 tone pretty effortlessly.
Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey
For me this sets the tone. When I think of James Bond and soundtracks, my first thoughts are Dame Shirley Bassey and those trumpets.
This is not a good mention. I just wanted to talk about how bad the Die Another Day track by Madonna is. All good James Bond songs feature some compromise with the James Bond aesthetic. This was just Madonna singing like a robot.