James Bond is iconic for a number of reasons; action sequences, beautiful women and unforgettable music. James Bond music is special because it is always delivered by the best voices of the era. It should be memorable and iconic and it should evoke sensations of adventure, excitement, mystery and a dash of eroticism. Just like the Bond films themselves.
James Bond has dominated our screens for nearly 54 years and the films and the music will have different meanings and memories for everyone, but, to me, there are some definite stand out examples from half a century’s worth of music. So, without further ado…
5. Sheryl Crow – ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’
Despite an iconically Bond introduction, this song suffers from a real lack of memorability. It’s a good song and Sheryl Crow is one of my favourite voices of the 90s but there’s nothing very Bond about it once the intro is done with. I also don’t find it particularly memorable. Basically, nothing special at all.
4. Shirley Bassey – ‘Moonraker’
It pains me to add a Shirley Bassey song to the worst list because she is just a fantastic powerhouse of a voice. Nonetheless, for such a talented woman to sing such a forgettable song puts this on the worst list. Moonraker is a fantastic song and I wouldn’t ever say otherwise but it lacks the glitz, the power and excitement that makes other Bond songs stand out.
3. Sheena Easton – ‘For Your Eyes Only’
I think this is a very lovely song but the problem is, that’s as far as it goes. Where’s the dramatic tension? Where’s the oozing sensuality? Nope, this one just didn’t cut it for me.
2. Rita Coolidge – ‘All Time High’
Frankly this song is kind of boring. I’m sure it’s brilliant and possibly a question of taste but to stand out amongst Bond you just need something more and this just doesn’t deliver. Not memorable in the slightest.
1. Madonna – ‘Die Another Day’
To me, there could be no other choice for the worst of the worst. This song is not only a poor Bond song, but it’s a poor pop song and a poor Madonna song. Unlike the above, this one is memorable and for all the wrong reasons!
So, out of the darkness and into the light, here is the very tough decision, the top five James Bond songs!
5. Chris Cornell – ‘You Know My Name’
Possibly a controversial choice to be on the top five, but Chris Cornell’s ‘You Know My Name‘ packs a punch in all the right ways. It builds on a sense of power and adventure and sets the tone for a really excellent film.
4. Nancy Sinatra – ‘You Only Live Twice’
I honestly adore this song. It oozes sensuality but hits all those key themes that makes it a James Bond classic. ‘You Only Live Twice’ itself is such a powerful statement which gives it that iconic, memorable feel that meant it just had to be in my top five.
3. Garbage – ‘The World is Not Enough’
I’m completely biased as Garbage is one of my favourite bands of all time but second to Shirley Bassey, I can’t think of a singer whose vocals are better suited to a Bond theme that that of Shirley Manson. Sultry, sexy and dangerous, this song has it all and summarises to me what a James Bond film is all about.
2. Shirley Bassey – ‘Diamonds Are Forever‘
‘Diamonds Are Forever‘ is one of those fantastic Bond themes that is just memorable and iconic in its own right. Shirley Bassey could have sung this without the accompanying film and it would still be a karaoke classic. It’s distinctive, memorable and holds all the allure that a Bond song should.
1. Paul McCartney – ‘Live and Let Die’
There could be only one and although it’s been a fiercely hard choice, ‘Live and Let Die’ just squeezed into the top spot. The perfect mixture of excitement, danger, exoticism and memorability, this is the ultimate Bond anthem (you know it is, you know it is, you know it is).
So that’s my run down, what would you do differently? Leave us a comment below or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.
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