Bondathon: Ranking the theme tunes (10-6)

Having gone through from 25-21, then 20-16, then 15-11 – you should hopefully have a reasonable idea as to what is left, and what might be featuring in this penultimate post… There’s a decent mix of up-to-date and classic Bond themes in each post, though for this one we are looking back a bit further on the whole. That’s personal preference for you!

10 – Nobody Does It Better from The Spy Who Loved Me (Carly Simon)
Simple, but absolutely classic. It feels like the kind of song that will immediately spring to mind if someone says the phrase ‘Bond theme’; thematically, the song could potentially be attached to any of the films – but it does, of course, have the film’s title included in the lyrics. That’s the best of both worlds for me, with my penchant for the song having its own title but also lyrically fitting the film in some way. It’s a gem of a tune, and works perfectly as a follow-up to that opening sequence…

9 – The Living Daylights (a-ha)
There were five Bond films made in the 80s, yet only two of them (to my ears, anyway) have a quintessentially 80s theme song – and this is one of them. I listen back favourably to this song in part because The Living Daylights is one of the best films in the franchise, and definitely one of my favourites, but it’s also a great example of the music of the time gelling with the Bond theme history. It’s incredibly catchy, even if it just uses the title as a chorus without really elaborating on the phrase!

8 – A View To A Kill (Duran Duran)
This, in case you haven’t guessed, is the other full-on 80s theme song. If I was solely analysing the song objectively, it perhaps wouldn’t be quite as high in the list, but I do love a bit of Duran Duran – and it sounded absolutely epic when I went to the cinema screening of A View To A Kill a few months ago. There’s something about the punchy keyboards and John Taylor’s bassline that really powers it on. Admittedly, the lyrics are mostly nonsensical, but it kind of adds to the charm of the song for me.

7 – Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey)
This is another theme tune that will instantly leap to mind if the topic of Bond themes comes up. Shirley Bassey is a legend of the franchise, and this first effort is a classic combination of 60s diva and Bond 101. The lyrics theatrically tease the listener about the title character, as we don’t meet the arch-villain in the opening sequence – although Jill Masterson’s fate quickly corroborates Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse’s words. This song is the benchmark for all the Bond themes that followed, being the very first to feature a pop artist performing a specially commissioned song, and it set a very high bar indeed.

6 – James Bond Theme from Dr No (John Barry Orchestra)
You can’t really go wrong with this one, can you? I’d be willing to bet that the majority of the global population would recognise that guitar riff and be able to hum along to the tune. It’s suave, yet sinister; the orchestra sections adding the grandiosity of a full throttle Bond stunt – this sets the tone for the franchise immediately, and summing up the character in musical terms in a neat 1 minute 50 seconds. A game-changing composition from Monty Norman.

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