08 November 2012

TOP 5: James Bond Title Themes

The latest James Bond flick Skyfall is officially released in the United States tomorrow and I'm just as excited about the title themes as I am the films themselves.

No question that Adele was the best choice for the title theme. The quality and power of her voice ranks right up there with classic Bond song singers like Shirley Bassey. The song itself isn't particularly adventurous in scope and doesn't stray too far from Adele's style but "Skyfall" has all the hallmarks of a classic Bond song: Powerful female vocalist, sweeping strings, epic build, soaring finish. And it has that all-important x-factor doesn't it? "Skyfall" feels like a Bond song and I haven't felt that way about a Bond song in a very long time.

Trivia: How many James Bond title themes have gone to number 1 in the US or UK? Just one. Duran Duran's "A View To A Kill" went to number 1 in the US and just number 2 in the UK.

"Skyfall" - thus far - has peaked at number 2 in the UK and number 8 in the US.

Does "Skyfall" crack the Pet Bear Sounds Top 5 James Bond Title Themes?

Spoiler Alert: No, "Skyfall" doesn't crack the Top 5 James Bond Title Themes. Listen, it's a great song. I won't deny that. But it has yet to really sexily slink into my brain like a Bond girl.

5. Duran Duran - "A View To A Kill"

A View To A Kill was Roger Moore's last film as James Bond and this 1985 single was the last one Duran Duran released in their original incarnation for about twenty years. Imagine taking one of the biggest pop bands in the world today (Beiber? OneDirection? Taylor Swift?) and asking them to do a theme for a classic franchise and then ask them to do it justice. Well, Duran Duran pulled it off quite well.

4. Paul McCartney & Wings - "Live and Let Die"

"Live And Let Die" (1973) is a song done so well that it's a staple in McCartney's live sets but I find myself wondering as I do with a lot of McCartney solo songs: Gosh, imagine if the rest of the Beatles had weighed in on this track. Never mind that, though, it's a fabulous song (I've even grown to love that reggae-ish breakdown).

3. Shirley Bassey - "Goldfinger"

This 1964 song from the third Bond film of the same name is the very definition of a "Bond song." Attempts have been made to match the song and style (including Bassey herself in "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Moonraker") but those artists have fallen short of Bassey's classic.

2. Carly Simon - "Nobody Does It Better"

Carly Simon's 1977 hit "Nobody Does It Better" easily rivals "You're So Vain" as the best song of Simon's career. Back in the '90s, Radiohead's Thom Yorke once declared that "Nobody Does It Better" was the "sexiest song" ever written before launching into a very classic (and excellent) mid-90s-Radiohead cover of the song.

The first Bond song (for The Spy Who Loved Me) since Dr. No that was titled differently from the film.

1. Garbage - "The World Is Not Enough"

The 1999 theme "The World Is Not Enough" by Garbage stands as one of the best examples of modern rock meeting the iconic James Bond franchise. Subsequent themes like Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" (for Casino Royale) and Alicia Keys and Jack White's clunker "Another Way To Die" (for Quantum of Solace) have simply fallen short.

Shirley Manson's sultry vocals, the grand production of the song (with a splash of Garbage-style electronics) create a Bond theme that feels classic but not dated, modern but not overproduced. Garbage artfully retains their unique identity in the song while creating an excellent song. And, most importantly, it feels like a Bond song.

Honorable Mentions:
* Adele - "Skyfall"
* Gladys Knight - "License To Kill"
* Matt Munro - "From Russia With Love"
* Nancy Sinatra - "You Only Live Twice"
* Tina Turner - "Goldeneye"

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