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James Bond Theme Songs Worst To Best

James Bond is known for having a winning formula. One of the many parts to that formula is the opening theme song. Every songs has it's own style while trying to translate the main character either from a different view point or via the story telling related to the movie using a different style. Sometimes the blend is flawless. Sometimes it becomes a little contrived. And other times, it just plain does not work. However, as is all ranking lists, what falls as best and worst relies solely on the tastes and preferences of the individual. As a long time Bond fan, I always get nervous when it comes to the music. Why? Because most music I do not like. I am a rock'n'roll fan...and that's pretty much it. When it comes to choosing musicians or singers to helm the main Bond theme, I don't want the filmmakers to pick someone that I cant stand to listen to, such as Adele (don't hate me yet). But when they choose someone that I think can capture the feeling of Bond, I get hopeful. When they pick an artist rooted in Rock, I get excited. So how would this long time Bond superfan rank all of the Bond theme songs? Well, I'm sure the top two answers should not be a surprise...but all of the other 22 entries will more than likely vary from most lists. Let's start with what is the worst in the franchise.

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#24 Die Another Day by Madonna

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Many consider "Die Another Day" the movie altogether to be the lowest point in the franchise, and for good reason. I agree. Madonna's theme song does not help at all. Although very well received outside of America, the techno sound and nasal vocals did not age well. This was during the time when movies were heavy with CG and songs were ramped up with digitization and electronic techno sounds. Madonna incorporated this into the theme. This is a far departure from the traditional Bond format. There are instances in which departure can be a good thing when done well...this is the example of what not to do.

#23 Moonraker by Shirley Bassey

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I'm sorry Shirley. You are a beloved icon in the Bond community and cinema in general, but a bad song is a bad song. I believe you have Hal David to thank for that. But can you really blame all involved with this song? The orchestration is nice, but is just a little boring. Shirley does a great job as she always does. But the lyrics, as is some of orchestration, is just boring. This really shouldn't be a surprise because it's very difficult coming up with a cohesive song that fits with the movie with "Moonraker" as it's title.

#22 The Man with the Golden Gun by Lulu

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The lyrics fit with the plot to the film nicely. But the lyrics are sung with Lulu's brassy, loud, and grading voice. This is also one of the rare instances in which the song is about the villain and not Bond. That really isn't a bad thing. Even though the lyrics fit with the story, they still really aren't that good. The orchestration by John Barry kind of feels half done, as much as it pains me to say it. There is hardly anything enjoyable about this song; not the music, the lyrics, or the vocals.

#21 Diamonds Are Forever by Shirley Bassey

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Now we enter the section of the list where all of these entries are fairly close and have pretty much the same end result of...meh. Poor Shirley again has to sing a song with poorly constructed lyrics. A good Bond song is fun to listen to outside of the context of the movie. This is not one of them. Although a fairly clever ploy along the lines of "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" motto, this is another fairly boring entry in the Bond franchise.

#20 All Time High (Octopussy) by Rita Coolidge

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Making Bond history of being the first Bond song to never use it's main title, it is no surprise. Seriously, can you think of a song with "Octopussy" as it's title and it not end up being suggestive? At this point in the franchise, the past three entries in the Bond Theme Library were slow and melodic songs and this one followed suit. Unfortunately, it's just boring. The orchestration is nice and the lyrics are nice as well. Just something about this is boring. Plus the porn sounding opening saxophone doesn't help.

#19 The World is Not Enough by Garbage

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Not the first time but still a rarity, a band serves as the performers of the Bond theme. I do very much enjoy the lyrics to this song, and also is alternative rock which is somewhat up my alley, it doesn't mesh well with the Bond sound. I also didn't care that much for the lead vocals of Shirley Manson. I'm not saying she isn't a skilled singer, I just personally didn't care for the way she sounded which is a big draw back.

#18 You Only Live Twice by Nancy Sinatra

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The lyrics to this song, much like the last one, are quite good. I find myself singing this one fairly frequently. We are now getting into territory that I think is good, but not great. Even Nancy Sinatra's vocals are nice. I do feel the sound of the song is a little dated. Some songs sound timeless and some are a product of their time (I'm looking at you "Die Another Day.") This is indeed a product of its time. It has aged well due to the lyrics and vocals, but also a little too slow paced and relaxing for my liking. Plus, this is a 007 shouldn't be relaxing. It should either be emotional or exciting.

#17 Writing's on the Wall (SPECTRE) by Sam Smith

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Sam Smith is one of the many artists I can't stand to listen to. So when I heard he was doing the new Bond theme, I wasn't thrilled (although he was not on my list of artists I absolutely did not want to sing the Bond song). It was reported that he had spent 20 minutes writing the lyrics to this song, and it shows. The lyrics are made to sound like they are coming from Bond's perspective. If Bond thinks anything like what this song indicates, he is a whiney, needy, love struck boy in an adult's body. Does that sound like Bond? I didn't think so either. I am being a little hard on the lyrics because they really aren't bad, but they simply don't sound like Bond. Also, I don't like Sam's vocals. I never have. However, the orchestration is quite good. The song sounds like a classic Bond theme. If Sam has spent more time with the lyrics this could've been a much better song, even with his ridiculous high vocals.

#16 The Living Daylights by A-ha

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Here is another performing band. This is a product of it's time as well as a departure from the classic Bond formula. Is it bad? No. Is it good?'s alright. I do find myself singing this one a lot too. This song is rather catchy and not a bad tune when listening to it out of the context of the movie. It really shouldn't be a surprise that the filmmakers went with this band after the huge hit Duran Duran's previous song was (more on that later). A-ha (much like Sam Smith) had a lot to live up to, and (much like Sam Smith again) they didn't.

#15 GoldenEye by Tina Turner

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"GoldenEye" is one of my favorite Bond movies ever. Even the opening credits are one of my favorite sequences in the franchise. As for the song however, not so much. The lyrics by Bono & The Edge are decent. They do manage to find a way to shoehorn in the title as well as give some adequate lyrics to fit the mood of the movie. The sound of the song is amazing. The tune is an infectious one that easily will get stuck in the listener's head. So, why so low on the list? The answer is easy, Tina Turner. No disrespect to her. I don't dislike her music like I do Sam Smith's. I do not however like her scooping vocals in this song. I'm sure most would agree, as good and catchy as a tune to a song can be, if the listener doesn't like the lead vocals to a song it can kill the replay value and enjoyment. Such is the case here.

#14 For Your Eyes Only by Sheena Easton

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Sheena Easton made Bond history as being the only artist to be featured in the opening title sequence. Okay, let's make this quick. Is the song good? Yeah, I'd say so. The lyrics are nice, the sound is nice, and the vocals are nice. However, I can't help but every time I hear this song to hear a strong similarity to the theme to "The Love Boat." Am I the only one?

#13 Licence to Kill by Gladys Knight

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We have now reached the section of the list where I have no genuine complaints with the song. They all seem to be nice songs and it relies more on which song do I like more. Gladys Knight has some great vocals and is a shame that her song wasn't better. I'm not saying the song is bad because it isn't. But like so many others on this list, it's okay. No fault on her behalf though. The song is nice to listen to, the lyrics are decent, and the vocals are great. It's just a decent song.

#12 Tomorrow Never Dies by Sheryl Crow

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Overall, I really enjoy this song. There a few moments that I don't care much for Sheryl's vocals, but as a whole this is a decent entry. This song gets a lot of flack from critics and film lovers. I can understand why, but I don't think it's as bad as everyone says. The music behind this is a very well orchestrated piece. The lyrics are good as well. Notice I said good, not decent. It's a step up. Not a bad song, not a decent song, and not a great song. So I stick with "good." The main downfall is Crow's vocals when it comes to the chorus.

#11 Another Way to Die (Quantum of Solace) by Jack White & Alicia Keys

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The third Bond song to not use the title anywhere in it's lyrics. I'm sure many of you are staring at the screen thinking to yourself "What is this guy thinking? Another Way to Die this high on his list? This song is terrible." I disagree. Again, I love rock therefore I love what Jack White did. I also don't mind Alicia Keys. This is the only duet in Bond history. Many say combining the three (I say three because Jack White's Rock, Alicia Key's Vocals, and the JAMES BOND mood) didn't work. I say it did. I love the rhythm of this song. It reminds me of how "Live and Let Die" combines the slow and fast paced tempo throughout the song. I have no complaints with this song. I enjoy this song a lot.

#10 From Russia with Love by Matt Monro

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Welcome to the top ten. "From Russia with Love" was the first to give a swooping orchestration combined with passionate lyrics. Matt Monro's smooth vocals blended perfectly with the entire theme. Although the lyrics of the song aren't played until the end of the movie, the theme is still one of the best in the franchise.

#9 Thunderball by Tom Jones

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Following "Goldfinger" is no easy task, but somehow Tom Jones did it. Not only did he accomplish a decent follow up, it also is one of the best in the franchise. The strong brassy music mixed with his booming vocals topped with some catchy lyrics is a perfect blend of Bond.

#8 Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney and the Wings

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The first band featured in Bond history and also the first major departure from the classic feel. As stated before, I'm not opposed to breaking from tradition and trying something new as long as it's done well. This is a perfect example. The easy sounding opening hits audiences hard with it's abrupt change of sound and pace which elevates the excitement. Not only is this a good Bond song, it's a good song outside of the Bond franchise. Something that most songs in the franchise have a hard time accomplishing.

#7 A View to a Kill by Duran Duran

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Another strong departure from the Bond formula, another featured band, and an extremely welcome back to the fast paced excited tempo. Not since "The Man with the Golden Gun" were audiences given an upbeat rhythm for fear of repeating the mistake of that theme. Duran Duran came in and took the world by storm. Not a traditional Bond theme at all, it was Bond's biggest musical success. A definite product of it's time but a beloved and often revisited one.

#6 Skyfall by Adele

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As stated in the opening description, I do not like Adele. In fact, I loathe her music. Nothing against her, because she is inarguably talented, I simply cannot stand her music. When I heard she was going to be singing "Skyfall" I became enraged and told everyone that asked me what I thought that this song was going to be terrible. I relinquish that claim and gladly eat my words. This is one of the best songs in the franchise. This is a strong throwback to classic Bond. The orchestration is beautiful, the lyrics are beautiful, and vocals are beautiful. This is worthy of all of the praise it has received. Now if only the radio would stop playing all her other songs and play "Skyfall" only...I would be a little happier.

#5 On Her Majesty's Secret Service by John Barry

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John Barry has outdone himself with this instrumental only Bond theme. Almost as memorable as the Bond theme itself, this opener rings throughout the entire film. Some later films have even incorporated some of this theme into it's score, "SPECTRE" included. No other song outside of the classic Bond theme has accomplished this.

#4 Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me) by Carly Simon

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As easily recognizable as "Goldfinger" and synonymous with the Bond franchise itself. Not only that, but also a good standalone song outside of the movies. This song starts on a quiet and easy sounding piano that builds into a ballad. This song encompasses not only the character of Bond, but inadvertently the filmmakers as well. The fact that the lyrics are good and easy to sing are a big help.

#3 You Know My Name (Casino Royale) by Chris Cornell

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I'm the minority here, but I'm sure you already knew that judging by the rest of my list. To reiterate again, I LOVE ROCK! When a good rock n roll Bond song comes into play, I rejoice. When I heard this song for the first time mixed with the brass of Bond, I couldn't get enough of it. I also loved the lyrics. I loved how it talked about the dangers of being a spy and there's not need to spell out Bond's name because audiences already know his name.

#2 Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey

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As stated in the description, the top two should not be a surprise. The first huge hit Bond had, the quintessential Bond movie, the most iconic in the franchise, and one of the best is "Goldfinger". The theme song that accompanies the film is matched with it in every way. There are two songs that are most related to Bond, even to those that have never seen a Bond film. This is the second most iconic and best Bond song. It's an inseparable entry.

#1 James Bond Theme (Dr. No) by Monty Norman

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This seems to be the top of most Bond song lists, and it's pretty much a given. This is the movie that started it all, and this is the song that perfectly matches the Bond character himself. Although "Dr. No" does have two other musical sections during the opening titles that are often forgotten (for the better) the James Bond theme is what is most recognized. It is the only song to have been featured in some form in all of the Bond movies.

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