An Important Ranking Of The James Bond Theme Songs - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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An Important Ranking Of The James Bond Theme Songs

Obviously everyone will agree with this, right?

Ah, the James Bond theme tune. As integral a part of the movie franchise as "shaken, not stirred", a visit to Q branch, a top of the range car chase, and that gun barrel shot you see above. We all have our favourite theme, some of them even surpass the quality of the individual film they were composed for. Some of them, but not all of them, as we are about to find out.

Who will be performing the theme to this year's upcoming James Bond film, No Time To Die? Where will it sit in this definitive ranking of all 24 James Bond themes to date? Hopefully it won't be part of these first eight which make up the bottom section of the countdown...

24. Another Way To Die - Jack White and Alicia Keys
I mean really? How the hell do you take two talented artists, give them seemingly free reign to produce a Bond theme and end up with this garbage? It has almost no redeeming quality to it at all, except that when Quantum of Solace was released it cut Lulu a huge 32 year break from being holder of the "Worst Bond Theme Ever" trophy...

23. The Man With The Golden Gun - Lulu
I really hope Lulu sent White & Keys a thank-you note or a gift basket as this song is just terrible. Hideous. Mind you, the movie's pretty much the same.

Interesting note - not wanting to spoil the next six on the list but this theme is the oldest one to feature in the first part of our countdown. The high quality of the themes recorded for the 1960s Bond releases had clearly slipped.

22. Die Another Day – Madonna
Oh dear. In theory, having someone like Madonna record a Bond theme could be brilliant, but you have to get the right era of Madonna to make it work - basically pretty much anytime before this was released and a small window in the mid-to-late 00's. What we have here is Madonna realising she's not 18 any more and trying to be 18, and what we end up with is a disjointed Britney Spears-esque Bond theme. And surely nobody would think that's a good idea? Not even Britney Spears.

21. All Time High - Rita Coolidge
With this track we move out of the downright bad Bond theme section of the list and arrive firmly at the bland, kicking off with arguably the most forgettable Bond theme of all time (sure, you might remember the refrain of the chorus but, before pressing play on the above video, try and sing a few lines of any verse - see!). It's like some background music from a soft porn movie - so I'm told, ahem.

The biggest disappointment here is that with a movie called Octopussy, one can only imagine what an amazing title song someone like Tom Jones could've delivered.

20. For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton
This particular theme tune doesn't really 'feel' like a Bond song to me, in that it doesn't grab you at all, and there's very little power or scope to the production. Overall we have a tune that is quite dull and forgettable, and comes across more as a track that would sit somewhere in the middle of the B-side of one of Sheena Easton's less popular albums (not being an Easton fan I couldn't say if she actually has popular albums or not).

Fun fact: Sheena Easton is the only artist (to date) to be seen singing the theme song to a Bond movie during its opening titles.

Not so fun fact: For Your Eyes Only is a whiny affair, which sorta applies to the next song too...

19. Writing's On The Wall - Sam Smith
As we're discovering whilst compiling this countdown, there does seem to be a correlation between Bond theme and movie quality as all the themes on this list up to and including this one come from decidedly average Bond films.

There's an awful lot wrong with this. Shame really, as on the strength of the opening 15 seconds this could've been an amazing track, and the instrumental sections of the song are why I've ranked it this high as they work really well in SPECTRE.

The song itself also suffers because it kinda comes across as a bit of a pastiche of a 60's Bond theme. The lyrics are dreadful and Sam Smith over-sings it all by warbling around every line. I appreciate that Smith is a popular recording artiste (which I do not get as he seems to be a cross between Morrissey and Jimmy Sommerville, like a manically depressed eunuch - although I guess if you're a eunuch then that's a good enough reason for the depression), but there are many other current recording artistes who would likely be far more suited for the job. So, to me, the bastard love-child of Morrissey and Sommerville always seemed a strange choice to record Bond theme.

18. The Living Daylights - A-Ha
Odd. I don't know what it is about this one. It's got that opening which makes you sit up and pay attention, like all good Bond themes have, yet it's an opening totally different to any other. All twinkly and bright. Like rain on a conservatory roof on a sunny day.

After that the song's just... odd. Not bad, not bad at all, just... odd. I can see why A-Ha were chosen to record the theme, and on the back of the success of Duran Duran's A View To A Kill it's quite a logical move, however the end result is one the most dated Bond theme's of all time. One listen and you know it's the electronic 80s.

17. Moonraker - Shirley Bassey
Poor Roger Moore wasn't overly well served when it comes to Bond themes, four out of seven appear in this bottom eight. This one suffers from a touch of the All Time High's, because it's another entirely forgettable Bond theme. However this one comes with the added bonus of Miss Shirley Bassey and her wonderful voice. There's no denying that Bassey and Bond themes go hand in hand, but unlike her other two tracks this one lacks any of the power or punch.

There's a reason for that - it wasn't written with Bassey in mind. Originally the hope was to get Frank Sinatra to record this, for whatever reason that never happened and Johnny Mathis came on board. Mathis then dropped out, Kate Bush was briefly wooed but also declined, and so just weeks before the release of the movie John Barry asked Bassey to do him a solid.

I say "solid", more of a damp squid really.

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