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Top 5 James Bond Theme Songs

Zach Stetson ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

From almost the very beginning of the series, the opening theme song has been an integral part of the James Bond franchise.  The original producers of the series, Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli recruited top names in the music industry to record a song that was used as a strong selling point of the films.  Here is the cream of the crop, the best of the Bond theme songs that have come to define the series.

5. “You Only Live Twice” (You Only Live Twice) – Nancy Sinatra

Photo via mi6-hq.com.

This song comes from one of the less-memorable Sean Connery James Bond films. In the film, 007 travels to Japan so in accordance the theme song has an oriental flair to it, it is very unique for a Bond theme and very beautiful.  If you enjoy this theme as much as I do I’d suggest listening to Bjork’s cover of it, it’s a fascinating companion piece to the original Nancy Sinatra version.

4. “James Bond Theme” (Originally heard in Dr. No)

Photo via commanderbond.net.

This classic instrumental theme is an iconic staple of the franchise and can be heard in many of the Bond films, but it was featured during the title sequence of the first film, Dr. No.  The list would simply not be complete without it.

3. “Live and Let Die” (Live and Let Die) – Paul McCartney & Wings

Photo via allmovie.com.

Yes, one of the Bond theme songs is written by Paul and Linda McCartney.  Hearing Paul’s voice during the opening lyrics makes it feel like you are listening to a classic Beatles song.  This song is up to the quality of most of the songs that McCartney wrote with John Lennon while the Beatles were still together.  It even features an “A Day in the Life”-esque style change half way through.  All-in-all it’s a fantastic song that will likely get stuck in your head if you listen to it too much.

2. “Nobody Does it Better” (The Spy Who Loved Me) – Carly Simon

Photo via allmovie.com.

I picked the #1 theme song for its iconic nature and influence on other theme songs but if I were judging on mere song quality “Nobody Does it Better” would have to be at the top of the list.  It is a marvelously written pop song.  It starts off soft and then it changes into an epic power ballad.  As Carly Simon sings, “I was not looking, but somehow you found me,” it sends a cathartic wave of listening pleasure through the listener – sheer perfection.

1. “Goldfinger” (Goldfinger) – Shirley Bassey

Photo via beta.mnet.co.za.

From the huge, iconic opening notes to Shirley Bassey’s shrill vocals (in a positive way), this song is incredibly memorable and powerful.  It diverged from the themes presented in the first two films (the first being an instrumental theme and the second being a more classical, Broadway style song) and came to define what a James Bond theme song is.

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One Comment

  1. I liked your post. But I disagree with 3 out of 5 of the songs picked.
    # 1: “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds Are Forever”
    # 2: “Live and Let Die”
    # 3: “A View To A Kill”
    # 4: “Golden Eye”
    # 5: “Die Another Day”
    The signature theme song goes without saying.

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