Here Are The Best And Worst Bond Theme Songs! 007’s Newest By Billie Eilish! Plus A Mashup Of Them All!

Ready For “Bond 25?”

Yes, the TWENTY-FIFTH James Bond 007 film, “No Time To Die” will finally hit theaters this fall after being delayed due to the pandemic,,,,the film promises to be Daniel Craig’s 007 swan song…and speaking of songs, what did you think of Billie Eilish’s theme song?

Billie Eilish Has “No Time To Die!”

Yes, it was BIG Bond news in 2019 when Billie Eilish was announced as the Singer/Songwriter for the new theme song!

As The Los Angeles Times reported:

The latest James Bond installment, “No Time to Die,” has enlisted the 18-year-old anti-pop phenom to co-write and perform the film’s title track, making Eilish the youngest artist ever to write and record a Bond theme song.

“It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way,” quoting the “Bad Guy” singer. “To be able to score the theme song to a film that is part of such a legendary series is a huge honour. James Bond is the coolest film franchise ever to exist. I’m still in shock.”

But what about the song?

Decide for yourself:

Hypnotic to be sure – but is it a Bond theme?

Let this debate begin!

The Best And WORST Bond Themes!

As we await the 25th installment of the 007 franchise, the Producers have taken some big gambles with the theme songs – and they have pandered to the “star of the moment” – and some have worked while many haven’t.

Daniel Craig’s run as Britain’s greatest Secret Agent has had incredible “Skyfall” highs and a few “Quantum” lows, but hopefully the studio will make the 25th James Bond film the best ever…after all, it’s one of the most iconic lines in movie history:

Sean Connery james-bond


“My Name’s Bond…James Bond.”

Whether you like hearing those words as uttered by the first James Bond, Sean Connery…or the latest, Daniel Craig, it signals the beginning of a great new adventure. Oh, and here are the 15 best utterances – all compiled for you!

Thanks to home video, we can watch any and all of these classic action films…every Bond at any time!

Equally as exciting as the movies themselves is THIS THEME SONG:

James-bond-skyfall-bond-24

It’s a legendary opening theme – tight electric guitar, subtle horns that suddenly burst forth, and a just a touch of menace. From “Dr. No” on, this has been how the films have opened….well, except for the “Casino Royale” series reboot…shocking to fans – the theme was moved to the END of that movie!


Rock On, James!

A recent poll voted Paul McCartney’s “Live And Let Die” as the best Bond theme ever, and I won’t argue: incredibly catchy, bombastic, and pure Macca…

live_and_let_die_voted_best_james_bond_theme_by_bbc_radio_listeners

Is That The Best Bond Theme?

The answer is, obviously, YES! I love McCartney’s catchy, bombastic take on Bond, and here is a great clip of him performing it on his 1976 worldwide tour!

Paul and Linda McCartney LIVE

McCartney captured the right amount of bravado AND subtlety in the song – Bond’s best – but there have been many others that were great as well, such as this classic:

Goldinger!

Sassy, confident, oozing with sensuality, let’s give this classic theme song a listen:


Shirley Bassey Scores Again!

Shirley Bassey’s voice was sexy, fun, menacing and provocative – just as the films themselves became pop culture sensations – “Goldfinger” was one of the first true blockbusters, and the 007 series never looked back – and Producers began to look for an iconic theme song for every film…

Tom Jones thunderball

The very next film, “Thunderball” had Tom Jones, who was hugely popular at the time – then “You Only Live Twice” had Nancy Sinatra, Frank’s daughter – and Shirley Bassey returned to record this classic theme, “Diamonds Are Forever”:

adele James Bond Theme

Most fans felt Connery was walking through “Diamonds” a bit, but it is fair to hold that against the song? Speaking of which, one of the WORST Bond movies ever, “A View To A Kill”, had a GREAT theme song!

You see, some Bond themes can overcome subpar 007 films and that was the case here…

James Bond logo

What makes this better is that you see lots of Duran Duran and you don’t see a lot of Bond! The series entered into a rut of trying to get the hottest pop act of the moment, which led immediately to the debacle of “a-ha”!

worst james bond themes ever

A-ha had one hit song, but the Producers must have thought they were hit-making machines because they turned over this valuable real estate to a band that promptly disappeared – list if you dare!


“Make It Stop”!

Ouch! What an awful theme! And there have been more as well…Sheena Easton, anyone? Chris Cornell? Producers chose Music Artists who may have been big at the time, but a Bond theme has a certain style and tone you have to respect!

Does anyone remember this duet?

Alicia Keys and Jack White teamed up for “Another Way To Die”, the theme for “Quantum Of Solace” – the plus? Actual echoes of a Bond sound, with a depth that stands up to the best themes…could it have a better hook? Sure, but it’s serviceable…

Here is the video:

Sheryl Crow even delivered a theme song – here is the video for “Tomorrow Never Dies”…

Moody and haunting, it’s fine, would have been better with a stronger hook, but it works well enough…especially when you compare it to what is considered by many the worst of all time:

The Worst Bond Theme Ever? Contender #1:

There have been some pretty mediocre songs pawned off on us – A-ha, for example. But two are beyond awful:

Roger Moore was quickly running out of steam by the time “Octopus” was released, but even worse was their choice for the theme:

Rita Coolidge sings an insipid ballad that has ZERO to do with 007, ZERO connection to the film or the character, and absolutely nothing in it that sounds like anything that makes a Bond theme…

Plug your ears – here comes an atrocious “All Time High”:

Ouch!

What could possibly be worse?

The Worst Bond Theme Ever? Contender #2:

This time Pierce Brosnan was quickly running out of gas, and not only is the film mediocre, but the song is horrific!

Here it is, a song that has absolutely NO connection to the film, no understanding of what a 007 theme song should be at all:

worst james bond theme ever

Love her or hate her, Madonna delivered a theme song that IN NO WAY captures James Bond 007 – this song exists as an Artist’s effort to usurp what it means to be a Bond theme!

Adele’s Terrific “Skyfall!”

Using a pop star doesn’t have to spell disaster – Adele’s theme for “Skyfall” was a great return to form: big, dramatic and in the style of what a 007 theme should be – here it is:

As much as I hate “Die Another Day”, at least Madonna got to have her song heard – here are two cases where songs were ultimately rejected:


Censored Bond Music!

Did you know why this guy, Alice Cooper, is so sad – he he also wrote a Bond theme! But as you can see, he’s not to happy about how it turned out!

Alice Cooper was one of the biggest bands of the mid-70’s, and the group was asked to record a Bond theme song, and it was rejected! Read all about Alice Cooper’s “Man With The Golden Gun” debacle by clicking on my story here:

You see, it might be an honor to record a Bond theme song, but that doesn’t mean it gets used!

007-Legends-logo

Radiohead Does 007! And Gets Whacked!

As always, it began on social media – after the release of the latest film, “SPECTRE” came this announcement from Radiohead’s lead singer:

Thom Yorke ✔@thomyorke
“Last year we were asked to write a tune for Bond movie Spectre. Yes we were”

And with that tweet, another chapter in the “censored” James Bond theme songs was written!

radiohead 007

Radiohead fans got the greatest Christmas present ever – the band released their “Spectre” theme song on SoundCloud – yes, Radiohead recorded a James Bond theme!

radiohead rejected james bond 007 song

Lead singer Thom Yorke announced on Twitter that Radiohead did “write a tune” for the latest film in the James Bond series, but it didn’t end up “working out”, according to him.

Fans flooded the internet with their versions of the film’s opening titles – with the Radiohead song – take a look!

Sam Smith was ultimately chosen to record the movie’s theme song, “Writing on the Wall,” which in my opinion is an AWFUL Bond song – it’s a ballad, not a theme song!

Sam Smith Spectre theme song

No disrespect to Sam, he did what he was told probably, but even “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” relegated their ballad to the middle of the film, NOT the theme song!

Yes, the love song from “OHMSS” by Louis Armstrong, “We’ve Got All The Time In The World” wasn’t used as the theme!

And remember, this will always be the best Bond theme…


But I Need To Hear Them All!

Of course you do, but don’t worry! To help you decide the best and the worst Bond themes, here is a twelve minute compilation that includes ALL of them!

Ok, enough about the theme songs, what about the Bonds?

Who’s the best Bond? the worst 007?

See my analysis here:

Oh, and one last thing to share:

This documentary about the “one and done” Bond, George Lazenby, is a terrific mix of archival footage, a new and very candid interview with Lazenby, and reenactments of some of his wildest stories!

Click here to see the trailer – it’s so good!

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https://johnrieber.com

Let me know your personal best and worst Bond themes – and here’s a pic of my choice as the greatest 007 of all time!!



Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Action Films, Art, Books / Media, British Cinema, Classic Rock, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Great Films, London, Movies, Music, Obscure Movies, Obscure Music, Pop Culture, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities

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21 replies

  1. I’m amazed at how many of these I’ve never heard before or don’t remember, especially by some big-time artists. I’d say we anticipate a certain sound with Bond movies, but some of the haunting, slow, melodic ones aren’t bad either. My two favorites would be Live and Let Die and Skyfall. The Rita Coolidge song seems the most curious choice to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi John, my favourite Bond theme songs are Live and Let Die and Goldfinger so I’m right their with the majority. Sean Connery and Roger Moore are the only Bonds for me.

    Like

  3. Terrific post John! I absolutely agree with your pick of Live and Let Die as #1. I also love Adele’s Skyfall and of course the incomparable Shirley Bassey. As for No Time to Die, I’m psyched for the movie, but although I’m a fan of Billie Eilish, I think the song is to subdued.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting! I’ll use License To Kill as an example…you can start soft, but a Bond theme has to building space just like Skyfall did…too many of them are soft, brooding ballads – oh, and Craig is way too dour as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess my age has a lot to do with it, but Bassey’s Goldfinger ranks tops for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the song, but probably a bit understated. excited for the 25th bond!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess you know what I am going to say.
    “You mean there have been some good Bond theme songs, John?” 🙂 🙂
    (Imagine me saying that in an accent a bit like Bob Hoskins’, with my eyebrows raised)

    Okay, even I like this version.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This latest 007 has been a long time coming. I imagine some people’s hopes have climbed rather high now. I wonder if it’ll be a disappointment?

    I’d not heard this Eilish track before. I like it. But no, it’s too weak for 007. Unless it’s a rather different movie to what it’s been before, more reflective and sombre. I still really like the Garbage version.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The 25th? Hard to believe. This was a trip down memory lane. “Live and Let Die” was absolutely the best, as was Sean Connery. Thanks for a super post, John.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Ha, a great post!! I think I agree with all parts of it! I think Radiohead’s effort could have been tweaked and would have been far better track than Sam Smith’s inspid muzak. I am happy that Alice Cooper wasn’t chosen as I think Lulu’s song hits all the right Bond notes! I always think that Robbie William’s Millennium (yes, I know its already a Bond parody but it still works!) was far better than either of the Bond tracks released either side of it 😉
    And in which movie did Q issue Roger Moore with that cannon?? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • First of all, I LOVE you idea of “Millennium” – it’s exactly what a Bond them should sound like, and Robbie would have sold it with the “majesty” that he had when he commanded a stage!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, yes, it just has Bond DNA somehow! 😉
        A few years ago, my son introduced me to a song called “I wish I was James Bond” and some bright spark has, unofficially, set it to a Bond action compilation. If it’s still on Youtube, it IS worth checking out! 😉

        Like

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