The Top 007 James Bond Theme Songs

Skyfall is coming out on Bluray in a few days! I can't wait. I've seen the film twice already and look forward to seeing in while laying in bed during the cold of Winter.

Anyway... I love theme songs. I love long running franchises. I love lists. Put them all together and here are my favorite seven of the twenty-three James Bond theme songs!

007. Licence to Kill (1989) Sequence - Full Song

I'd like to start this list by saying that this film is entirely underrated. Yes, it is a very different James Bond film... Apparently the people who complain about it were too busy shoveling popcorn in their faces during the scene where James quits his job near to the beginning of the film.


Great song by the great Gladys Knight. It does a fantastic job of blending modern R&B with a classy horn section. I can understand why some people don't like this one, but I feel like this is the last of the classic Bond theme songs. Maybe the song Adele *cough*OVERRATED*cough* did for Skyfall is similar in that nostalgic-modern feel, but this one is sung by a pro rather than someone who sounds like they're wiped out on xanax.

006. You Know My Name (Casino Royale-2006) Sequence - Full Song

This might be a great song on it's own, but this song probably holds the destinction on this list as the best used song in it's film. If you haven't seen the first ten minutes of this film...see it. This song fits tighter than the suit that Bond wears with such disdain.

This may not be the biggest departure in style for a Bond theme, but it certainly is the rock'nest.

005. Live and Let Die (1973) Sequence - Full Song

This song is a little goofy and all over the place, but it's always been one of my favorites. It kind of sets the tone for Roger Moore's tenure as Bond. It's a little carefree and wacky but knows how deliver the action to make it memorable.

I also like the fact that it's randomness isn't all that random at all. This song is basically made up of various musical cues from the film...or am I getting that backwards? Either way...all the random little bits in this song are peppered throughout the film.

004. You Only Live Twice (1967) Sequence

This is the grandest Bond film of Sean Connery's tenure as James Bond. The sets, the locations, and the story make this an enormous film. Just think about it...James Bond DIES...ends up on a mission in Japan...which leads him to a hidden space shuttle launch site inside of a volcano. The song for this film had better be good. Luckily it is probably one of the most memorable and recognizable Bond themes of all time (Goldfinger definitely has it beat). The making of this song was a long and difficult road according to some historians. It was almost this. Then it was almost this. In the end we got a dreamy song that is damn near perfection.

Poor Aki :(

003. For Your Eyes Only (1981) Sequence - Full Song

This was the movie where they briefly slammed on the brakes for Roger Moore Bond's reign of terror. In the past two movies he'd been in an underwater base and then a space station (complete with lasers!). There have been very few films where the song didn't atleast somewhat match the film's tone. This song is no exception. It is very grounded film with both snow and aquatic settings. I guess the best way to think of this film and song are the great outdoors and how great they are. Well, except the lyrics. The lyrics are probably the opposite of all of that. Heh.

002. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) Sequence - Full Song

There is a new Bond in town...and he's Australian and weird. On Her Majesty's Sercet Service picked up where the previous films left off (kinda) and yet the new Bond makes reference to "the other fellow" (Sean Connery). To make things even weird the next film, Diamonds are Forever, picks up where this movie ends...and Sean Connery returns as Bond. George Lazenby only portrayed James Bond in one film which somehow even shows in the music.

Instead of going with another vocal theme song (as they'd been doing for pretty much every film since "From Russia with Love") they went with an instrumental theme song. The film might not be a straight-up adventure movie, but it does have several notable action scenes for which this music fits perfectly. It think it can be most closely linked to the ski chases. Infact, the melody from this theme made it's way in the background music for the ski chase in "A View To a Kill" sixteen years later. Outside of the "James Bond Theme" no theme song has ever been so prominently featured...especially several years later.

001. Living Daylights (1987) Sequence - Full Song

At the top and bottom of my list are the theme songs for the two Timothy Dalton Bond films. How weird is that?

Of all of the James Bond songs I could have liked, the one that tops my list is probably the poppiest of the lot (Duran Duran's weird theme for "A View To a Kill" is probably poppier, actually). This is a song that I enjoy more in it's full version than the sequence edit.

Like the song for "You Only Live Twice" (see #4) this song was apparently made with difficulty...but for different reasons. The band, A-ha, wasn't agreeing on a direction with composer John Barry. This resulted in two versions of the song. The version that A-ha preferred ended up on their album while the version with Barry's heavier influence ended up being used for the film's opening sequence.

I prefer the film version myself, though the consensus seems to be split down the middle on this one. Truth is, both are fine songs. I just feel that the singing is heaps better in the film version and some of the elements that I like the most seem to be absent in the album version. Both versions are on my daily playlist...so I'm never without this song for very long.

Oh...so why do I like it? I just do. It's a great song and it reminds me of how great the movie is everytime I hear it.


THE WORST. Die Another Day (2002)

Seek this song out at your own risk.

It sounds like robotic buttsex. Gross, I know. Those were my exact words to the lady who surveyed me at MGM Studios back in 2002 after a screening of the movie.


So there is my seventh Top Seven list. If you want to read more, have at it...

Top Seven Sentai Themes
Top Seven Sentai Mecha Themes
Top Seven Sentai Suit Designs
Top Seven Metal Hero Themes
Top Seven Kamen Rider Themes
Top Seven Ultraman Themes




  1. I love James Bond, so it's awesome to see your ranking of the themes. (I hope you don't like it, but I'm glad "Nobody Does It Better" didn't make the list -- it's the original "Skyfall," in that everyone rates it higher than it's actually worth.)

    Then again, my top 5 is full of choices nobody seems to like. I like "All Time High" for some reason. I liked Garbage's theme for "The World Is Not Enough." But my favorite theme is probably GoldenEye's -- there's a kind of eeriness to the music and an anger in Turner's vocals. What made the song really stick out for me was when my sister came up with an interpretation that the lyrics could be from Trevelyan's point of view, the 00 who spent his life in Bond's shadow, jealous and out for revenge. (That's more interesting than the jilted lover angle that Bono probably wrote it to mean.)

    I also used to think "Die Another Day" was the worst Bond theme, and then "Another Way to Die" came along. Madonna and her techno crap is an easy target, but nobody seems to want to tear down "Another Way to Die" because of how music critics worship White and Keys.

    1. Yeah. "Nobody Does It Better" is way overhyped. I like the end, but the rest is fluff.

      I think if my list was a top ten "All Time High" and "The World Is Not Enough" would be on it along with "Moonraker" at 10. Not sure why I liked the Moonraker song...that and "All Time High" are the bright spots in otherwise awful movies.

      The Goldeneye song was always middle of the road for me. I never thought of it that way, from Trevelyan's POV. Listening again, it seems like every applicable line of lyrics is cancelled out by the next. Heh.

      Oh, and no. I will not accept anyone saying there is a worse Bond theme than "Die Another Day". When she says "Sigmund Freud!" I really want to give myself a swirly in hopes that listening to that song becomes the second worse thing to happen that day.

      "Another Way To Die" is 22nd on the list. Heh.