Top 10 Best James Bond Theme Songs & The Worst

With the latest James Bond movie raking in boffo dollars at the box office, I thought it was the perfect time to share my favorite theme songs from the spy series. Originally, I wanted to write this post the second I heard Adele’s “Skyfall“. In the end, I decided to wait a few weeks since I was on an emotional high hearing new music from the “Rolling In The Deep” singer. Her moody, smoky contribution is the epitome of what a 007 song should be. That said, how does it stack up to my all-time favorites? Let’s face it, some songs stand the test of time better than others, while others are instant trainwrecks the second they are released.

With 23 films made, dating back to 1962, picking a favorite song from the spy franchise is a daunting task. Just like the actors portraying the bed-hopping agent, everyone has their own opinion and personal favorite. In the end you’re never going to please everyone. So without further ado, I present to you my Top 10 Best James Bond theme song list? Hope you enjoy.

Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs

10. Another Way to Die (Quantum of Solace)

Singers: Jack White & Alicia Keys
James Bond: Daniel Craig
US Peak: 81
UK Peak: 9

For Daniel Craig’s second outing as 007, producers decided they needed not one, but two singers for the job. Alicia Keys and Jack White collaborated for first ever duet of the series. I love the juxtaposition of White and Keys’ style. Together, they make a mysterious and sultry song worthy of a 007 film.

9. Tomorrow Never Dies

Singer: Sheryl Crow
James Bond: Pierce Brosnan
US Peak: Did Not Chart
UK Peak: 12

Surprisingly, the “All I Wanna Do” singer’s breathy slinky delivery really lends itself for a Bond anthem. With her toned body, Crow could easily have been used as one of the signature silhouettes for the intro.

8. Licence to Kill

Singer: Gladys Knight
James Bond: Timothy Dalton
US Peak: 6
UK Peak: Did Not Chart

Definitely one of the more underrated theme songs in the franchise history. Knight’s soulful pipes signaled a new era in Bond history, marking Timothy Dalton’s debut in the iconic role.

7. GoldenEye

Singer: Tina Turner
James Bond: Pierce Brosnan
US Peak: Did Not Chart
UK Peak: 10

Love, love, love this song. Written by U2, Turner’s take on this track harkens back to the glory days of Bond theme songs when Shirley Bassey reigned supreme. Sad it never resonated with US radio.

6. Skyfall

Singer: Adele
James Bond: Daniel Craig
US Peak: 8
UK Peak: 2

Picking Adele to sing the title track was a no-brainer. She’s current and churns out smash hits. Plus, she continues the long tradition of UK singers lending their voices for 007 including Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, Shirley Bassey, LuLu and faux Brit Madonna. LOL. Obviously, I kid about the last one.

5. Live and Let Die

Singer: Paul McCartney & Wings
James Bond: Roger Moore
US Peak: 2
UK Peak: 7

You know a song is great when you instantly hum the hook the second you read the title. Then follow it up with an air guitar move. Classic track.

4. A View To A Kill

Singer: Duran Duran
James Bond: Roger Moore
US Peak: 1
UK Peak: 2

Believe it or not, it’s the only James Bond theme song to hit Billboard Hot 100’s No. 1 slot. Some really hate the Duran Duran contribution to the series, but I love it. It suits the 80s perfectly.

3. Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me)

Singer: Carly Simon
James Bond: Roger Moore
US Peak: 2
UK Peak: 7

This Carly Simon ballad is so good it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song and used for a Fleecy fabric softener commercial. Now that’s versatility. I’m a huge fan of Simon so naturally this had to land in the Top 3.

2. For Your Eyes Only

Singer: Sheena Easton
James Bond: Roger Moore
US Peak: 4
UK Peak: 8

I have to admit, Moore is one of my favorite Bonds, if not my favorite. To say, I’ve seen this film several times would be an understatement. This song was a worldwide hit and remains one of Sheena Easton’s biggest hits. She definitely kicks her fellow Scots’ respective butts (Lulu & Garbage) with regards to Bond theme songs. If I was an American Idol contestant this would be my choice to sing during movie theme week.

1. Diamonds Are Forever

Singer: Shirley Bassey
James Bond: Sean Connery
US Peak: 57
UK Peak: 38

Between you and I, I could’ve easily put Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds Are Forever” in the 1-2 slot, but decided to only give the singer one. Guess which one won out? LOL. This should be the archetype of what every Bond song should embody. Bassey’s brassy big and slinky delivery is absolute perfection. No wonder producers hired Shirley a record three times for the spy franchise.

What's Your Favorite James Bond Theme Songs?

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Worst James Bond Theme Songs

After narrowing down the field to a few misses, I couldn’t decide between these two offenders. Please help me decide between the greater of two evils.

The Living Daylights

Singer: a-ha
James Bond: Timothy Dalton
US Peak: Did Not Chart
UK Peak: 5

If there was ever any doubt that a-ha was a one hit wonder, this trainwreck should seal the deal. It’s a poor man’s Duran Duran “A View To A Kill” and an even poorer man’s version of their “Take On Me” global smash.

Die Another Day

Singer: Madonna
James Bond: Pierce Brosnan
US Peak: 8
UK Peak: 3

Producers courted the “Material Girl” many times for the Bond films. They eventually won her over by giving her a cameo in the film. This is the ONLY time in Madonna’s film career that her acting was better than her soundtrack contribution. HAHA. Truth be told, it’s not a bad song just not for a Bond film. I’m sure producers regretted their pursuit of Madge after this abysmal track.

Honorable Mention

If You Asked Me To (Licence to Kill)

Singer: Patti Labelle
James Bond: Timothy Dalton
US Peak: 79
UK Peak: N/A

Several Bond films have two signature songs, but only one official theme song. Labelle’s track was used in the closing credits of the film. Her version did well on the R&B charts, but it wasn’t until Celine Dion’s cover that people fell in love with the ballad.

Now that I’ve shared my favorite and least favorite Bond theme songs, I’d love to hear yours. Do you disagree with any of my choices? Sound off below.

  • JMC

    Your first three selections are often listed in Worst 10 Bond themes although I do like Tomorrow Never Dies it isn’t strong enough to be a Bond theme. Another Way To Die was horrendous just like the film it proceeded.

  • Hugo

    The world is not enough by Garbage. Enough said.

  • Matt

    Die Another Day is atrocious. The worst.

  • Rob

    I don’t aggree with A-ha as one of the worst. Actually I think it was pretty good and pretty atipic for 007 themes: they usually have this very traditional balade scheme and this one was very innovative and modern.

    I do aggree with Hugo, Garbage did a really good job.

  • Rob

    Oh and I know you totally put Madonna to create some controversy (blink)
    In the total I would say it was just blah-generic-not-original-boring-kinda-techno-typical-stuff-produced-by-others. Not the best, but at least it was kinda memorable bc of Madonna brand so that only should keep it off the bad rank 😛

  • JMC

    A lot of people don’t understand Madonna’s Bond song.

    Barbara Brocolli and Michael G Wilson wanted Die Another Day, the film, to bring the Bond franchise into the 21st century being the first Bond of the new millenium so the plot revolved around a new millenium threat, North Korea, and lots of futuristic technology and Bond gadgets. This is why Barbara approached Madonna and asked specifically for a techno theme as a one off for this film which was meant to ear mark the next generation of Bond. It’s also the second most successful Bond song of all time.

  • DouggSeven

    JMC said “A lot of people don’t understand Madonna’s Bond song.”

    No no, we have ears – it was terrible.

  • MauiJim

    I guess the 60s are off the chart, here. Along with “Nobody Does it Better,” my faves are “You Only Live Twice” and “Goldfinger.” Yes, I realize that the latter is campy as hell. but “Twice” is beautiful.

  • Jasper

    Isn’t the bond from Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan?

  • Fratoni

    Yet another chance to slqm Madonna sorry folke not the best of the themes ,but def not the worst . it’s what it was how about the HORRIBLE song to Moonraker. One of my fav Bond films , but lets face it one of the worst theme songs ever to a Bond film

  • Martin

    i agree with most of the list… Goldfinger,to me, was the best though

  • Philip

    As much as I HATE to say it, Madonna doesn’t deserve to be on the worst list. Definitely not the best but not the worst either. I’m very happy Carly Simon made it on there though!

  • kctan

    I love ‘All Time High’ by Rita Coolidge from Octopussy. Ah, the 80s…

  • Johan

    Definitely Garbage as number one.

  • rogelio

    one of the “worst” Bond songs is the 2nd most succesful song from a Bond movie only… Nominated to a Golden Globe and a Grammy, but also to a Golden Raspberry, that’s funny. I like it though…

  • craig

    don’t agree with you placing A-HA on the worst list. That was a great song. I still love listening to it.

  • maximreed

    i love die another day. 🙂
    garbage should definitely be in the list!

    but my alltime favorite is you know my name (chris cornell in casino royale) this song is awesome!

  • lex

    where is garbage one of the best bond songs

  • Sone

    I agree, Garbage’s “The World Is Not Enough” should be in the top 10 best Bond songs.

  • Ivan

    The worst by a mile was Never Say Never by Lani Hall. Don’t worry – no one knew who she was in 1983 either. Except her husband, Herp Albert that is. Wonder why she was hired? lol Before posting this I tried to listen to it again on youtube. Lasted 20 seconds before I had to shut it off. P. U.

  • daws

    The World Is Not Enough by Garbage. Easily one of my faves, if not the best, and the video is awesome.

  • Alex

    for me Tom Jones’ rThunderball was my favorite, followed by Skyfall and The World is Not Enough.

  • KL

    This list cannot be taken seriously when it exclude Goldfinger and yet touted GoldenEye and Another Way to Die as one of the best. At least Die Another Day doesn’t have Madonna jam as many words as she can in the chorus. And Die Another Day didn’t have to be edited heavily for the film. Madonna’s effort wasn’t the best, but certainly is not one of the worst. It is that a lot of people do not like her because of her longevity.

  • michael

    I have to agree with other posters that Goldfinger is a glaring omission. And Garbage’s The World is Not Enough should be in the Top Ten.

  • Rob

    You Know My Name (Casino Royale) is tops.

  • AnimalBear

    Goldeneye Forever!

  • MinHellE

    The Shirley Bassey performing a medley of her three bond theme’s on youtube is brilliant. I can’t stop listening to it!

  • Royalpride

    Die another day is my favorite bond theme song, up there with skyfall! I don’t understand how you put it in the worst

  • Wayne

    As they say one mans treasure is another man’s trash,with that in mind my favorite of all bond films is Madonna’s “Die another day” some songs have more meaning when you are WATCHING the video as you are listening vs just listening.. it captured the theme in a most amazing way.. I like 2nd live and let Die followed by Sky fall ( theme songs that is..)

  • Roms

    To me, a James Bond song has to be mysterious and sensual.
    GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough, Goldfinger, and SkyFall are my top best.

    You Know My Name, Another Way To Die, Die Another Day are at the top of my worst list. The songs arent bad but they just don’t say “Bond” to me.

    Tomorrow Never Dies is in a separate category. I LOVE Sheryl, the song, and Lyrics but I don’t think Sheryl Crow was the right person to sing this song. Her voice gets annoying at times. Sorry Sheryl!!

  • Al

    Different surveys, different results.

  • pio

    i think die another day it is not a bad song after all.i don’t know why but this song is so unique in my opinion and i kept remember that song since in was 6 years old when i first hear that song in some radio