The 10 Best James Bond Songs (Until Adele’s 007 ‘Skyfall’ Theme Drops)
Rumor has it the producers of the next James Bond film, Skyfall, have only one diva in their sights for the sure-to-be-blockbuster theme song: multiple-Grammy-winner Adele! Nothing has been officially confirmed by either camp, but we think the platinum 21 songbird is an ideal fit for the classic James Bond motif. Not only is she dynamic enough to follow in the footsteps of Bassey, Sinatra, and, er, Garbage, she’s got the talent and smarts to make the job completely her own. UPDATE: it’s no longer a rumor — Adele’s “Skyfall” has finally been confirmed!
To further illustrate our point, we’ve compiled a Top 10 list of our favorite Bond themes of all time. (Nobody does it better, right?)
Sheena Easton, “For Your Eyes Only”: This silky theme was notable for being the first time any singer appeared in the film’s opening title sequence. It wasn’t all glamour for Easton: during filming, she had to be strapped to a chair while the director filmed multiple close-ups of her lips. Hot.
Alicia Keys featuring Jack White, “Another Way to Die”: The offbeat combination of soulstress Keys and eccentric rocker White made for one of 007’s strangest – and most exciting – musical offerings. Four years later, we’re still trying to decide if we love it or hate it. We’re also still wondering if Jack White shares a stylist with Rosie O’Donnell.
Paul McCartney & Wings, “Live and Let Die”: The “cute” ex-Beatle’s hard-rocking, schizophremic theme certainly packs a wallop! From string-laden ballad to acid rock anthem to reggae interlude, this three-minute tour de force makes us want whatever Sir Paul was enjoying when he wrote it.
Sheryl Crow, “Tomorrow Never Dies” and Carly Simon, “Nobody Does It Better”: We simply cannot choose between Crow’s relaxed sensuality and Simon’s thinly-veiled arousal — and why should we have to? We declare a tie between these are two perfectly lovely themes from two perfectly lovely singer-songwriters loved by moms the world over.
Duran Duran, “A View to a Kill”: One of the few Bond titles that was downright danceable, this ’80s offering from Simon Le Bon and Co. perfectly conveys the pulse-surging excitement of a chase through the streets of Paris. Despite the input of composer John Barry, one can’t help but wonder how much better it would be with a cameo by the film’s outrageous co-star, Grace Jones!
Tom Jones, “Thunderball”: Legendary panty destroyer Jones proved he could deliver with the best of the Bond divas in this over-the-top performance. Thunderball was originally to have a theme song by Miss Dionne Warwick, but she was canned at the last minute on a technicality. (Her song didn’t include the film’s title.) No word on whether she called Tom a “hussy” on her way out of the building.
Garbage, “The World is Not Enough”: The ’90s alterna-dance darlings enlisted soundtrack producer David Arnold to give them a touch of what made John Barry’s early Bond scores so magical: orchestral flair, an air of mystery and drama by the bucketful.
Nancy Sinatra, “You Only Live Twice”: Ms. Sinatra traded in her kinky boots for this orchestral ballad from 1967’s film of the same name, and the Top 20 hit put her firmly in the pantheon of immortal Bond divas. Could there be a Bond theme in the future for noted Sinatra acolyte Lana Del Rey? (A “gangster” one, maybe?)
Madonna, “Die Another Day”: Leave it to Madge to turn the concept of the Bond theme on its ear with a sparsely funky electroclash anthem. The last artist to put a 007 soundtrack single in the US Top 10 (it hit #8 back in 2002), La M earns extra points for making humorous use of the franchise’s iconic props in the appropriately violent video. Poor Blofeld’s kitty!
Shirley Bassey, “Diamonds Are Forever”: The classy Dame Bassey made a name for herself as the singer of John Barry’s Goldfinger score, but this timeless, diva-licious gem is considered by most to be the quintessential Bond theme. (And now you know where Kanye West got that sample for “Diamonds From Sierra Leone.”)
Here’s the thing, though: none of these classics actually took home an Oscar. But — spoiler alert — Adele wins the Oscar for “Skyfall”. Why? Because, evidently, nobody does it better.