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Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs

With the memory of Spectre still fresh, Luke Miksa breaks down his definitive list of Bond tunes.

Spectre, the 24th James Bond film, has been out for a few weeks now to mixed reviews. I personally liked it, despite its flaws, but one thing that disappointed me was the new theme song from Sam Smith, “The Writing’s On The Wall”. This is a track which lacks excitement and is, frankly, just a little bit boring.

Don’t give me that look, Sam Smith, with your George Michael earrings and perfect voice.

Look, it’s definitely not the worst Bond theme ever produced — that honour goes to Madonna‘s “Die Another Day” (yuck!) — and it’s got some nice Bond-esque orchestration, but it is mid-tier in the canon of Bond themes. It’s especially apparent since Spectre is where modern-era Bond finally embraces some of the sillier tropes of the franchise, the song’s lovelorn lyrics simply do not resonate (much like the love story of Spectre itself).

There is a rich history of Bond music ever since that weird calypso version of “Three Blind Mice” from 1962’s Dr. No, so I have scoured the 50-plus year history to present you the Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs:

Note: The classic James Bond Theme is out of the running, because it is ubiquitous with every film. Dr. No, you’re cut.

10. “You Know My Name” Chris Cornell – Casino Royale (2006)

This song fits the era so well. Daniel Craig‘s debut as James Bond in Casino Royale was designed to update the character for modern audiences in a post-Jason Bourne world. As was the style at the time, the Bond franchise was to get its very own “gritty reboot”, highlighting a raw an inexperienced 007 for the very first time.

“You Know My Name” captures that tone perfectly, with classical Bond pomp and circumstance dropped for an appropriately grungy number from Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. This was James Bond, but as you’ve never seen him before. You know my name, indeed.


9. “Nobody Does It Better” Carly Simon – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

A guilty pleasure. At this stage, Roger Moore was halfway through his stint as 007, and the movies themselves had skewed into the quip-laden, ‘wink wink’ nature that was synonymous with his run. “Nobody Does It Better” is one of the more commercially successful Bond songs, and is among singer Carly Simon‘s most popular songs (that aren’t about Warren Beatty).

If we’re talking about bedding babes and thwarting criminal geniuses, it’s true that nobody does it better than James Bond. But The Spy Who Loved Me wound up being Moore’s highest grossing and critically acclaimed film, so really, when it came to making successful movies, nobody did it better. Top marks for confidence.

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85th Annual Academy Awards: The Good, The Bad, and The Bin

Luke Miksa's: The Negative Space Bar

Olly Moss

Olly Moss

THE GOOD

  • Bond love

On the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise that started with Dr. No in 1962, I thought it was a real treat to see The Academy acknowledge such an iconic and enduring series. The montage was okay, but Shirley Bassey sauntering on-stage for a belting rendition of Goldfinger was spectacular, as was Adele‘s performance of the Best Original Song winner, Skyfall.

Honestly, the only way this tribute could have been better is if they gathered all six Bonds together to take a bow (but I would assume that would be nigh-on impossible).

Slight negative: They couldn’t get someone with a bit more positive influence on the franchise to introduce the package other than Halle Berry (who showed up dressed like Gozer the Gozerian)?

  • Flight w/ sock puppets and other MacFarlane gems

In possibly the most criticized and scrutinized gig in all of show-business — and coming out with very mixed reactions — I thought Seth MacFarlane did a respectable job as host. It wasn’t all smooth sailing — a lacklustre crowd and casual sexism/racism really didn’t help his cause — but skits such as ‘Flight with Sock Puppets’ and the very Family Guy-esque Sound of Music bit before Christopher Plummer’s introduction were tremendous.

It’s strange that my least favourite moments in Family Guy are whenever it spontaneously breaks out in to song, but I guess the Academy Awards is the perfect stage because I enjoyed every one of his numbers (as long as you tuned out before the closing piece).

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