One of the greatest and most popular movie franchises of all time, James Bond movies have always been successful both at the box office and with critics. The very first Bond movie graced our screens in 1962 when Dr. No was released in theaters in the United States and other countries.
Nearly sixty years later, Bond is still a relevant character, and movies with the 007 moniker are still a huge draw at the box office.
As fans await the release of the latest iteration of the franchise, “No Time to Die”, now is a great time to revisit some of the best songs from Bond movies.
There have been some incredible songs made for the James Bond soundtracks, both modern and historically. Now that we can look forward to singers such as Billie Eilish appearing on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie, let’s take a look back at the top five James Bond theme songs from the past.
1. Wings – Live and Let Die
When the 1973 Bond movie, Live and Let Die, came out, fans were very excited about the theme song for the film. Considering the influence of popular Beatles musician Paul McCartney and his wife Linda McCartney, fans were very excited to see what the theme song would turn out to be like.
Live and Let Die is a song that captures the very heart of what someone would expect from a James Bond tune. With a symphonic rock beat, great lyrics, and an intensity that you can only expect from a Bond theme, the song was an instant success worldwide.
Sung by British-American rock band Wings, Live and Let Die reached the number one spot on several United States charts. The song was no.2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it did make it to no.1 on two other charts at the time.
Live and Let Die also did very well in the UK, reaching no.9 on the UK Singles Chart at the time of its release.
One of the more interesting aspects of this James Bond song is that not only was it very popular on release, but its appeal has endured. McCartney still plays the song when he does solo tours, and the band Wings also performed it regularly when they were still doing live shows for fans.
2. Shirley Bassey – Goldfinger
Goldfinger is another classic James Bond tune, which also has the same name as the Bond movie that came out in 1964. John Barry is credited with composing the song, while Shirley Bassey did an outstanding job bringing the tune to life with her vocals.
The song was a huge hit when it came out, reaching number eight in the Billboard Top 100. Throughout her musical career, Bassey only had one top forty hit – Goldfinger.
One of the reasons why Goldfinger was such a popular song was because it combined the excitement and thrill of a Bond movie with the fresh pop sound that was taking hold of the music scene at the time. Fans of all music genres enjoy the tune, and it was certainly a favorite for all Bond fanatics.
3. Adele – Skyfall
When you combine a world-famous and talented singer with a franchise such as James Bond, you definitely have a winner on your hands. Adele’s Skyfall has the same title as the Bond movie that was released in October 2012.
Even though the Bond franchise is one that includes a lot of similarities in its themes and plots, there is scope for creativity. That is what Adele showed us with Skyfall, as she combined the best of Bond music with her orchestral pop magic to create the perfect theme song.
Skyfall was a huge hit in the UK, reaching the second spot on the UK Singles Chart. While it did well in the USA, it could only manage a high of eight on the Billboard Hot 100. Adele sold more than seven million copies of the song, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.
4. Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
What everyone looks for in a Bond theme song is a tune that captures the imagination. That is exactly what fans and critics got from Carly Simon and her song Nobody Does It Better.
The song was widely adored when it came out in 1977 as part of the soundtrack to The Spy Who Loved Me. Bond hysteria was at its peak during those years, which is why the song also made its way to a very high spot on the singles charts.
Nobody Does It Better was a worldwide hit, spending three weeks at the very top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The tune was also up to no.7 on the UK Singles Charts in the same year.
5. The Bond Appeal Remains
One of the great charms of the James Bond franchise is that it retains its core elements while modernizing with every new release. That is why Bond movies continue to make money, and why fans are always invested in the latest installment.
The same can be said for James Bond theme songs. Even though the famous Bond music is still similar to what it was many decades ago, every artist puts a unique spin on their offering.
Singers such as Chris Cornell, Nancy Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Adele, and now Billie Eilish have all left their mark on the Bond franchise. They will certainly not be the last famous singers to land the role of writing and singing the theme song for a James Bond movie.