Steve Eighinger

007 music as important as villains, gadgets and girls

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 8, 2020 12:01 am

The countdown continues.

So does the anticipation.

While the next James Bond movie, "No Time to Die," doesn't hit theaters until late November, we've tried to keep all the 007 fans' collective appetite whetted with occasional columns dealing with the world's most famous secret agent.

Today we're looking at the best theme songs from Bond movies. Granted, there have been more than a few clunkers -- "Die Another Day" from Madonna in 2002 immediately comes to mind -- but for the most part, a 007 movie becomes as memorable for its music as it does its villains, gadgets and girls.

Here's my picks for the top 10 Bond themes since we were first introduced to the man who prefers his favorite beverage shaken, not stirred:

1. "Goldfinger (1964)," by Shirley Bassey: This is, was and will always be the gold standard for Bond themes. Bassey went on to perform "Diamonds Are Forever (1971)" and "Moonraker (1979)," and as classic as those two were in their own right, "Gold-finguh" is, was and will always be the best. When discussing 007, this song is as iconic as the Aston Martin Bond drove or the Walther PPK he used to ward off the bad guys.

2. "Nobody Does It Better (1977)," by Carly Simon: While Simon won a Grammy, Marvin Hamlisch's piano work in this classic is often overlooked. (From "The Spy Who Loved Me.")

3. "For Your Eyes Only (1981)," by Sheena Easton: Easton's stirring interpretation was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe award

4. "All-Time High (1983)," by Rita Coolidge: Bond films from the 1980s are, for the most part, not regarded as classics of the genre -- and rightly so. But that decade at least provided us with a couple of great theme songs. (From "Octopussy.")

5. "From Russia With Love (1963)," by Matt Monro: Like the film itself, this song has a specific 1960s feel to it, and the two work perfectly as one.

6. "Skyfall, (2012)" by Adele: Moody, brooding, much like the film itself. Daniel Craig brought a new feel to the Bond character, and this song was the perfect compliment.

7. "You Only Live Twice (1967)," by Nancy Sinatra: This may have been the finest effort of Nancy Sinatra career. This is one of the few low-key Bond themes, relying more on an artist's interpretation than the all-too-familiar showy glitz.

8. "Diamonds Are Forever (1971)," by Shirley Bassey: With three Bond theme songs to her credit, Bassey, now 83 and a native of in Wales, is the lone artist to perform more than one.

9. "GoldenEye (1995)," by Tina Turner: The movie was not necessarily memorable, but Turner's song certainly was.

10. "Thunderball (1965)," by Tom Jones: Nothing says the mid-1960s any better than James Bond -- and Tom Jones.