For Thanksgiving, I was going to post something different but this little topic recently popped into my head. This is something I’ve wanted to blog on, so this feels like the right time to do it. Besides, there’s probably a James Bond marathon on TV somewhere. I remember TBS or SpikeTV would do marathons of all the James Bond movies. I’d sometimes tune in especially if it’s one of the good ones.
If there’s one thing that always a “must have” about the movies, it’s the theme song and opening. The visuals and the music combine to make something that shouldn’t be missed. It’s not the visuals that folk center on so much as it is the songs themselves. Unfortunately, someone didn’t tell Sam Smith that with SPECTRE. I mean, the guy isn’t a bad singer, but I thought “Writing’s On the Wall” was not a good one. I think Smith’s style wasn’t to my liking there with that whining he does. So, here are my 11 favorite Bond theme songs. I’m also including the instrumental ones too. They’re also not in order favorite-wise but you’ll know what I think are the best of these bunch.
1. James Bond Theme from Dr. No (John Barry Orchestra) – You can’t go wrong with this one. Heck, it’s Bond’s own theme and it’s followed him all this time. While some of the later opening themes are a bit more impressive, you can’t leave this out.
2. Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey) – It’s a fine theme for a pretty good movie. It’s also probably one of the only good themes that’s about the villain of the piece. “The Man with the Golden Gun” was not that good in my opinion. Anyway, there’s not too much to say about this song. Just know that the singer will be back for more themes.
3. Thunderball (Tom Jones) – I think this one is my favorite from the Connery era. You can’t go wrong with Tom Jones especially at the end. If I need to do some karaoke one day, I might start out with this one.
4. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service “Opening Titles” (JohnBarry Orchestra) – There’s not much to say about this one. It’s an instrumental piece and a good one at that. I do think it was weird it was used at the beginning and Louis Armstrong’s “We Have All the Time in the World” was stuck at the end. Still, considering what happens at the end, I see why that song got stuck there.
5. Diamonds Are Forever (Shirley Bassey) – We have another one from Shirley Bassey for Connery’s official last film. I don’t know where Never Say Never Again fits anyway. I don’t remember much about Diamonds Are Forever, but the theme kicked some butt. I can see why Kanye West sampled some of the music from here. It’s probably my second-favorite theme from this era.
6. Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings) – If there’s one thing I can say about this one, it would be this: switch to decaf! Seriously, this song starts out as a ballad, jumps into some rock, and tries to get funky on us. Luckily, it’s a combination that works out since this a pretty good one. It’s one the best themes from the franchise.
7. A View to a Kill (Duran Duran) – Yes, I like some of Duran Duran. I don’t have to give up my “Awesome Black Dude” card for this, right? Oh well, I lost it years ago. Sarcasm aside, I actually really like this one. It starts out pretty cool and just has that new wave thing going on. Hey, it’s probably one of the only good things that’s part of A View to a Kill, so it gets that at least. Who knew my first Bond movie would be one of the lesser ones?
8. The Living Daylights (Aha) – It’s far from my favorite theme, but I needed some filler on here. This is one of the movies I haven’t seen all the way through too. It’s not a bad song though. You can at least do a dance to it. Plus, Aha gets another song out there right along with “Take on Me.”
9. “License to Kill” (Gladys Knight) – Here is another one I think is really good. It’s not my favorite from the franchise but it’s pretty close. It takes some inspiration from “Goldfinger” at the beginning which is cool. Plus, Gladys Knight makes it a good listen. If it just had the Pips around, it would have been gold.
10. You Know My Name (Chris Cornell) – For Casino Royale, you know they needed something good to start it out with. Cut to Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell. I think it’s safe to say it my favorite theme from all the movies so far. It’s loud, fast, and just sounds good. It really feels like it’s a theme about a bad mofo named James Bond.
11. Skyfall (Adele) – Finally, we have Adele’s song which won a few awards. It’s easy to see why it did that. The song took inspiration from the best themes and added an awesome singer into the mix. It’s not my favorite theme, but it is pretty cool. The opening for Skyfall itself was especially cool visually.
“Snake Eater” (Cynthia Harrell) – If I had to give an honorable mention to one song, it’d be this one. This was the opening theme to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Even though it’s not a Bond song, it definitely has the feel of one. It was what the creators of that game wanted and definitely got. Heck, the game in itself is a callback to those movies.
That’s all I got for this one. If you have any favorite themes of your own, let me know. If you’re the one person who likes Madonna’s “Die Another Day,” that’s probably something I need to know. We have to have a talk. Well, I’m outta here. After my clothes dry, it’s back to Pulaski for the rest of this week. Peace, God Bless, and have a happy Thanksgiving.