What do Rita Coolidge, Sheena Easton, and Chris Cornell have in common (aside from jockeying for position in a future "Where Are They Now" segment on E!, that is)? That's right, they all sang the title song in a James Bond movie. They also are conspicuously absent from this list of the best Bond theme songs of all time.
5. "A View to A Kill" - Duran Duran
Using Day-Glo opening titles and a song by these New Romantic stalwarts might seem like a weak attempt to draw in the coveted youth audience, but it was a pretty bold move for a film franchise previously mired in easy listening hell (Rita Coolidge's "All Time High" graced Octopussy, the preceding movie). This remains the only Bond theme to hit #1, and it was one of the last songs the group would record with their original lineup.
4. "Nobody Does it Better" - Carly Simon (The Spy Who Loved Me)
You might have misgivings about this slow-tempo song at the outset, and to use Simon's romantic interests as a metaphor, "Nobody Does it Better" does start off a little James Taylor. Lucky for us it finishes mostly Warren Beatty, with just a dash of Kris Kristofferson.
3. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" - John Barry Orchestra
The composer of the famous "James Bond Theme" gets his crack at the title tune. Of course, it was in the movie with "the other guy," and there weren't any lyrics, so it dropped off a lot of people's radar faster than the Avro Vulcan bomber SPECTRE hijacked in Thunderball.
I think I've done too many of these...
2. "Live and Let Die" - Paul McCartney and Wings
Remember when Wings didn't suck? Ha ha, trick question...they always sucked. Except when they were making Bond themes, that is. The creepy transition between human face and fiery skull was also pretty frightening, provided you were five years old the first time you saw it (as I was).
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1. "Goldfinger" - Shirley Bassey
Reasonable people can reasonably disagree about things like 'Who was the best 007?' or 'What was the best Bond movie?', but I think we can all agree that anyone who tries to tell you "Goldfinger" isn't the greatest Bond theme song of all time should be shot in the face with a speargun.
-- Pete Vonder Haar