By Brett Bickley
Just announced is the news that British songbird, Adele will be crooning the theme song for SKYFALL, the next installment in the James Bond/007 film series. Which gives us pause to look back and see where a theme song made or broke a movie’s box office take. Because when it comes down to James Bond films, great title songs make for big bucks. And, crappy songs seemed to go hand in hand with bad moviemaking. So! Let’s breakdown the past 22 theme songs and evaluate them against the quality of the cinema in which they coincided. From #22 (The WORST!) to #1 (The BEST!).
#22 …. OCTOPUSSY – “All Time High” by Rita Coolidge
It’s RITA COOLIDGE. ‘Nuff said.
#21 …. LICENSE TO KILL – “License To Kill” by Gladys Knight
Sorry, Gladys. Maybe one or two Pips might have helped, but you all by yourself, with this lackluster soul/pop number just didn’t get it done.
#20 …. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN – “The Man With The Golden Gun” by LuLu
Shirley Bassey Lite. One of the better Roger Moore BOND films, but LuLu should have stayed “Downtown” with “To Sir, With Love” rather than to attempt to be a 007 songstress.
#19 …. TOMORROW NEVER DIES – “Tomorrow Never Dies” by Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow? SHERYL CROW?!? NEXT!!!
#18 …. YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE – “You Only Live Twice” by Nancy Sinatra
Those boots were made for walking, Nancy, and that’s just what they should have done. Walked away from this travesty of a theme song.
#17 …. ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE – “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” by The John Barry Orchestra
OK, John. You performed, and continue to do so, the original JAMS BOND theme, so we won’t be too harsh about this one-off theme song for that one-off James Bond, George Lazenby.
#16 …. DIE ANOTHER DAY – “Die Another Day” by Madonna
Aw, Madge. Maybe if this had been 1983 it would have been a really cool idea to have you do a BOND theme song. But, in 2002, you’re a mother of 2 with a predilection for a bad British accent and worse acting roles.
#15 …. MOONRAKER – “Moonraker” by Shirley Bassey
Now, now, now. Shirley B is the QUEEN of James Bond theme songs. This just wasn’t one of the better ones. And, in all fairness, it’s one of the weakest Bond films EVER.
#14 …. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE – “James Bond Is Back/From Russia With Love” by The John Barry Orchestra
Look, everyone knows the sophomore effort of any artist is always weak no matter how spectacular the first go-round. So, buck up, Johnny B! Sure, this one sucked Oddjob’s bowler hat but you will always be THE MAN for the original Jimmy B spy song!
#13 … FOR YOUR EYES ONLY – “For Your Eyes Only” by Sheen Easton
The Poor Man’s Olivia Newton John. Need we go on?
#12 …. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME – “Nobody Does It Better” by Carly Simon
Let’s be honest. Every Carly Simon song sounds like it could be used in a ketchup commercial.
#11 …. GOLDENEYE – “Goldeneye” by Tina Turner
OK, written by Bono and The Edge and belted out by the amazing Tina Turner? The song is better than the film so it almost made the Top 10. Almost.
#10 … THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS – “The Living Daylights” by a-ha
LOL It’s a-ha. Seriously, the “Take On Me” pencil-drawn MTV video Swedish guys. That alone scores this one some bonus points, plus it was a pretty good JB movie.
#9 … THUNDERBALL – “Thunderball” by Tom Jones
C’mon!! It was 1965!! Tom Jones was the Justin Timberlake of his times. Not to mention, guys in scuba gear fighting underwater with spear guns? It doesn’t get much better than that.
#8 … DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER – “Diamonds Are Forever” by Shirley Bassey
Sean Connery’s swan song as James Bond and he went out in style. One of the best Bond films made and the theme song by Ms. Bassey was CLASSY with a capital ‘C’.
#7 …. GOLDFINGER – “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey
She was the Queen of James Bond theme songs for a reason. And, this is one of them.
#6 …. THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH – “The World Is Not Enough” by Garbage
Sure, the label said, Garbage. But, it was all the sweet sultry sexiness of that Scottish siren, Shirley Manson. Mediocre Bond film, spectacular theme song.
#5 …. CASINO ROYALE – “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell
James Bond Goes Grunge? Not as hideous as Limp Bizkit being signed to do the the theme song for a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie, we’ll give him that.
#4 …. QUANTUM OF SOLACE – “Another Way To Die” by Jack White & Alicia Keys
Great film. Great theme song. Great actor playing the greatest spy of all time. The hat trick of James Bond movies.
#3 … A VIEW TO A KILL – “A View To A Kill” by Duran Duran
Exactly. Who, in a million years, would guess Duran Duran would record one of the greatest BOND theme songs of all time. Not us. But, here it is.
#2 … DR. NO – “James Bond Theme” by The John Barry Orchestra
Best. Guitar. Lick. EVER!
And …. at #1 ….. LIVE AND LET DIE – “Live And Let Die” by Paul McCartney & Wings
That’s right. No surprise. Leave it to a freakin’ BEATLE to record the biggest most badass James Bond movie theme song of all time. Hands down. This song to this day is one of the greatest rock songs ever written and recorded. Hell, it even makes you overlook the fact that it was a Roger Moore BOND film, on top of that.
Today also marks the release of the ‘Bond 5o’ Blu Ray Set: