James Bond Films Are Known For Iconic Theme Songs, but These Are the 10 Best
An instantly iconic theme song is one of the must haves in any James Bond movie, along with impeccable suits, nifty gadgets, creepy villains, and plenty of one-liners. For the upcoming No Time To Die, Billie Eilish has signed on to write and perform the movie's theme song, joining a top-notch group of music icons who have contributed to the Bond soundtracks. Over the decades, the Bond movies have had a pretty wide range of music for their themes — and, inevitably, there have been some absolute flops along with some absolute gems. So what are the best Bond theme songs of all time? Everyone has their favorites, but we've narrowed things down to the 10 songs we think have held up as the very best of the best. Keep reading for our picks and see if you agree with the songs we chose!
"Golden Eye" by Tina Turner (1995)
This one is definitely a bit on the controversial side, thanks to its vaguely creepy lyrics, but it has a Shirley Bassey-esque sound, and how can you not include a Bond theme by the iconic Tina Turner?
"Writing's on the Wall" by Sam Smith (2015)
Sam Smith's theme for Spectre shows how Bond themes have moved into the current era: it combines the distinctive sound of the artist with the stylish, mysterious mood of Bond.
"For Your Eyes Only" by Sheena Easton (1981)
It's so, so '80s, but in the best possible way. The catchy mash-up of country-pop was very much of its own era, but it's impossible to get out of your head.
"We Have All the Time in the World" by Louis Armstrong (1969)
In a way, it seems almost natural that Louis Armstrong and James Bond, two pop culture icons, would cross over at one point. While this isn't "technically" a theme song (in the "playing over the credits" sequence), it's the main song for On Her Majesty's Secret Service and it's a favorite of longtime Bond composer John Barry as well.
"Nobody Does It Better" by Carly Simon (1977)
Carly Simon's theme song for The Spy Who Loved Me is an unabashedly sexy ode to romance that's passed the ultimate pop culture hurdle: cultural osmosis into other movies (shout-out to Bridget Jones!).
"Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney & Wings (1973)
While Live and Let Die might not have been one of the best Bond films, its theme song is definitely one of the better tunes.
"Skyfall" by Adele (2012)
Out of the modern-era Bond theme songs, Adele's 2012 hit is by far the most popular and the most plot-heavy, with spoiler-y details hidden in the lyrics. It even became the first Bond song ever to win the Oscar for best original song!
"Diamonds Are Forever" by Shirley Bassey (1973)
Another smooth, sultry Bassey hit, this song has some unexpected content for a Bond theme. Instead of being laden with mystery or a thinly veiled tribute to Bond's romantic conquests, it's a Marilyn Monroe-esque paean to bling.
"You Only Live Twice" by Nancy Sinatra (1966)
Sinatra sang a song originally written for her father, Frank Sinatra, and she more than did it justice. It captures the style and setting of the movie in elegant fashion.
"Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey (1965)
It's tough to imagine any other Bond song in the No. 1 slot. Shirley Bassey is by far the most iconic singer to perform Bond songs (and she's done more of them than anyone else has), and "Goldfinger," the first "real" Bond theme, is a complete pop culture icon. Even if you don't think you know it, you know it.