Ever since last Sunday when the Academy thought Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On The Wall” was an Oscar-worthy song (seriously), this James Bond fan was inspired to create a list of her top ten Bond opening songs.
I remember last year when they finally released Smith’s song. I got home from work and excitedly turned the song on, ready for another memorable Bond song. Sure, it was memorable…for how cringe-worthy it was.
At first I thought, hmm, maybe it’s building up and the song will really explode. It did have that big orchestra intensity in the beginning. And then I was left sitting there excitedly waiting for the song to please end. “Writing’s On The Wall” went nowhere.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like Sam Smith. His voice is beautiful and he can hit notes incredibly well. But this just does not feel like a Bond song. If anything, it reminds me of past boring Bond opening songs. For example: Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” or Rita Coolidge’s “All Time High.” Although, I read a few comments on YouTube underneath videos for both of these songs with people actually listening to them to try and forget Smith’s song. Ouch.
I found a comment made by Deadline’s Ross A. Lincoln in his article about “Writing’s On The Wall” when the song was released and pretty much agree with him.
“The melody and arrangement are wonderful, and I actually like Smith’s singing voice a lot. But the lack of meaningful percussion is really driving me crazy. It’s all buildup, no release. Kind of like how you’d feel if you were a British superspy interrupted in the middle of a very successful date by a henchman bent on killing you, and afterward all you felt like doing was drinking another vodka martini and going to bed,” Lincoln wrote.
Like I said, the song went nowhere. And according to a comment made by a Jack Meyhoffer underneath the article, “James Bond would shoot his stereo system if this song started playing.” Tell us how you really feel, Jack. Even though, I do believe that.
Anyway, shall we begin?
10. “Thunderball” by Tom Jones (1965)
Now this feels like a Bond song. And kudos to Jones for holding that note at the end of the song for as long as he did.
9. “Licence to Kill” by Gladys Knight (1989)
Maybe this is a little more ballad-like, I guess you can say, but it still has that intensity and drama that builds and doesn’t leave you disappointed.
8. “A View to a Kill” by Duran Duran (1985)
Oh, Duran Duran definitely brought that 80s feel to this opening but it still fits well and you gotta love the neon colors.
7. “The Living Daylights” by A-ha (1987)
Timothy Dalton is not one of my favorite versions of James Bond but I do like this opening song. And let me answer that question that may have just come to mind for you: Yes, A-ha did have other songs aside from “Take On Me.”
6. “Diamonds Are Forever” by Shirley Bassey (1971)
This is only one of three Bond songs Bassey sang and with lyrics like: “Unlike men, the diamonds linger; Men are mere mortals who are not worth going to your grave for. I don’t need love, for what good will love do me?” “Diamonds never lie to me, for when love’s gone, they’ll lustre on.” This song is by far one of my favorites.
5. “Tomorrow Never Dies” by Sheryl Crow (1997)
Crowe brought that 90s feel to this Bond song and the opening bars are incredible.
4. The World Is Not Enough by Garbage (1999)
Garbage’s Shirley Manson has such a gorgeous voice which only made this song even better. It has such a mesmerizing feel to it and fits perfectly for Bond.
3. “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell (2006)
And with this badass song began the James Bond era of Daniel Craig.
2. “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey (1964)
The first of three songs sung by Bassey and one of the best vocals-wise, in my opinion.
Also, side note: apparently when “Writing’s On The Wall” was released, it was Bassey’s name that trended on Twitter instead of Smith who actually sang the song. Ouch yet again.
*Drum roll* No. 1 on my Bond song list is: “Skyfall” by Adele (2012)
This song blows “Writing’s On The Wall” away completely. And fun fact, “Skyfall” made Daniel Craig cry. I’m not surprised at all because I remember getting chills the first time I heard it. Four years after Quantum of Solace was worth the wait for this song and this movie.
“I cried. From the opening bars I knew immediately, then the voice kicked in and it was exactly what I’d wanted,” Craig said, “It just got better and better because it fitted the movie. In fact the more of the movie we made, the more it fitted.”
There you have it. My top 10 James Bond songs. I’m not saying this should be every Bond fan’s list, it’s just my version. Although I hope some of you can agree on this ranking. I’d also love to hear your personal top 10 Bond songs or your variation of my list in the comments below!
Until next time, I couldn’t think of a better way to end this post than with the song we all know and love, John Barry & Orchestra’s “James Bond Theme.”