Unveiled in the run-up to Quantum of Solace...
GIGWISE
12:41 23rd October 2008

In the run-up to the eagerly anticipated release of Quantum Of Solace, Gigwise is unveiling the greatest James Bond theme songs of all time - as voted for by the fans. Each movie is only allowed one entrant with the list starting at number 22 (the song technically deemed the worst) and counting down to the very best James Bond theme at number one. Click through to see who makes the top spot...

  • 22. Rita Coolidge: 'All Time High' (Octopussy, 1983) – Written by John Barry and Andrew Lloyd Webber's chum Tim Rice, 'All Time High', is in our opinion one of the direst and cheesiest James Bond theme. Unsurprisingly it was the least successful Bond song of all time, charting at a mere number 75 in the UK charts. Coolidge herself said she did not like the song complaining it was hastily put together and unfinished.

  • 21. Lulu: 'The Man With The Golden Gun' (The Man With The Golden Gun, 1974) – Far from our favourite James Bond song, the then 26-year-old Lulu was drafted in to sing the John Barry theme tune. Incredibly, Alice Cooper's song of the same name was in the running to appear in the movie, until the powers that be axed it. We reckon they should have axed Lulu's.

  • 20. Sheryl Crow: 'Tomorrow Never Dies' (Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997) – English composer David Arnold made his debut on Bond theme song duties with this Sheryl Crow number. Loved by many, derided by many, the main criticism fired at 'Tomorrow Never Dies' is Crow's vocal style not the accomplished production from Arnold – a composition which directly nods towards John Barry. KD Lang was originally set to perform the title song but was eventually relegated to end credits.

  • 19. A-Ha: 'The Living Daylights' (The Living Daylights, 1987) – At the height of their fame following the huge commercial success of 'Take On Me' two years earlier, the Norwegian pop trio were asked to sing the theme to Timothy Dalton's first outing as Bond. Just like Duran Duran, the band co-wrote the song, with Paul Waaktaar-Savoy teaming up with Bond song writing legend John Barry. The results are a bit Marmite: You either love it or hate it.

  • 18. Sheena Easton: 'For Your Eyes Only' (For Your Eyes Only, 1981) – With the dawn of the eighties came a suitably tacky Bond tune in the shape of 'For Your Eyes Only'. The song was written by Bill Conti and Michael Leeson and picked up an Academy Award nomination despite its highly dubious quality by today's standards. Easton is the only Bond theme singer to be seen performing the song in the opening credits.

  • 17. Garbage: 'The World Is Not Enough' (The World Is Not Enough, 1999) – Together with David Arnold, the man behind the well-received theme tune was writer Don Black who had previously penned lyrics for Tom Jones' 'Thunderball' and Shirley Bassey's 'Diamonds Are Forever'. A trademark Bond song, the only slight let down is that Manson's vocals aren't quite as big as the song itself.

  • 16. Byron Lee & The Dragonaires: 'Kingston Calypso' (Dr. No, 1962) – Known as the 'The first man of James Bond music', East London born Monty Norman penned the legendary James Bond theme in 1962 together with the soundtrack to Dr No. It would be unfair to include that on the list as it was used in every subsequent movie, so we've opted for the lilting 'Kingston Calypso' penned by Norman and sung by Byron Lee & The Dragonaires.

  • 15. Chris Cornell: 'You Know My Name' (Casino Royale, 2006) – Just like Daniel Craig being unveiled as the new Bond, when it was revealed that Cornell was singing the Casino Royale theme song it provoked some serious opposition. In our opinion, unlike Craig who silenced the critics, Cornell didn't quite pull it off. The rockier vocals may suit the rugged new 007, but they meld awkwardly with the orchestral arrangements.

  • 14. Madonna: 'Die Another Day' (Die Another Day, 2002) – A deviation from the Bond themes of yesteryear, 'Die Another Day' has an electro edge thanks to acclaimed Parisian producer/writer and long-term Madonna cohort Mirwais. With its spliced vocals and funky grooves it's far from a traditional Bond theme but must be commended for dragging Bond music into the twenty-first century.

  • 13. Gladys Knight: 'Licence To Kill' (Licence To Kill, 1989) – With bold orchestrations and Knight's powerful vocals, 'Licence To Kill' was the hardest-hitting and most traditional Bond theme since Shirley Bassey's 'Moonraker' a decade earlier. The song was a top ten hit and was chosen ahead of an Eric Clapton penned song. John Barry temporarily abandoned composing duties as he underwent throat surgery, with Michael Kamen stepping in.

  • 12. Tom Jones: 'Thunderball' (Thunderball, 1965) – The second Welsh person to be asked to sing the James Bond theme was the ever sexed up Tom Jones. Suitably lavish and overblown, it's an archetypal tune for 007 yet it perhaps lacks the killer hook of, say, Shirley Bassey's 'Diamonds Are Forever' or 'Goldfinger'. Amazingly Johnny Clash penned a song titled 'Thunderball' for the movie, but it was snubbed by executives.

  • 11. Shirley Bassey: 'Moonraker' (Moonraker, 1979) - The story goes that Frank Sinatra and Kate Bush were considered for singing the title song, before crooner Johnny Mathis was asked onboard. When Mathis pulled out of the project as he was unhappy with the final song with just weeks to go, producers hastily drafted in Bond stalwart Shirley Bassey. As always, she lived up to the task brilliantly.

  • 10. Jack White & Alicia Keys: 'Another Way To Die' (Quantum Of Solace, 2008) – Amy Winehouse was long rumoured to be singing the Quantum of Solace theme but the drug addled star was overlooked in favour of Keys and White. The White Stripes man wrote the song complete with its James Bond theme-esque power chords, while Keys was drafted in to juxtapose his vocals. Although it initially seemed an unlikely duet, the pair have definitely pulled it off.

  • 9. Tina Turner: 'GoldenEye' (GoldenEye, 1995) – The first Bond movie in six years and the first to star Pierce needed a big song and we got it with 'GoldenEye'. Penned by U2's The Edge and Bono, produced by Nelle Hooper and sung by the inimitable Tina Turner, it was a perfect marriage of styles and yet another extremely strong Bond theme.

  • 8. Louis Armstrong: 'We Have All The Time In The World' (On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969) – Composed once again by John Barry, it's a song that's still as popular today as it was four decades ago. Louis Armstrong's more subtle, yet equally moving voice, was a change in direction for James Bond themes. The lyrics of the song are taken from the closing the line in both the Ian Fleming novel and the George Lazenby starred movie.

  • 7. Matt Monro: 'From Russia With Love' (From Russia With Love, 1963) – Velvet voiced Londoner Matt Monro was one of the biggest names in music in the sixties; he sold a phenomenal 100million during his lifetime. Composed by Lionel Bart, the From Russia With Love was epic and classy, very much setting the tone for future James Bond soundtracks. Monro died of liver cancer aged 54.

  • 6. Nancy Sinatra: 'You Only Live Twice' (You Only Live Twice, 1967) – The sweeping opening violins and French horns with Sinatra's sultry, harmonious vocals make this classic James Bond theme. Three times James Bond theme singer Shirley Bassey covered the iconic track decades later for her album 'Get The Party Started'.

  • 5. Shirley Bassey: 'Diamonds Are Forever' (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971) – With Sean Connery back in the starring role, Bassey was asked for a second time to sing the Bond theme with a typically confident and stirring song. Surprisingly producer Harry Saltzman loathed the song and had to be persuaded into releasing it. The track was covered by Arctic Monkeys at Glastonbury 2007, while Kanye West has also sampled it.

  • 4. Carly Simon: 'Nobody Does It Better' (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977) – The sweeping power ballad was composed by Marvin Hamlisch, penned by Carole Sager and sung by Carly Simon. An favourite James Bond song, aside from the Roger Moore movie it has also appeared in Bridget Jones, Little Black Book and Lost In Translation amongst other films. In the early nineties Radiohead even covered the song for live television, proving its enduring appeal.

  • 3. Paul McCartney & Wings: 'Live And Let Die' (Live And Let Die, 1973) – Written by Paul McCartney and his wife Linda, this is arguably Wings' finest moment as a band. John Barry took a break from composing Bond themes and gave the honour to Beatles producer George Martin – it was the first time he had worked with Paul since 1969's Abbey Road. The single reached number 2 in the UK charts and 7 in the United States.

  • 2. Shirley Bassey: 'Goldfinger' (Goldfinger, 1964) – The queen of James Bond themes, Bassey's powerful vocals and John Barry's voluminous brass orchestrations sound-tracked the opening credits of the third James Bond movie in style. One of the most recognisable and successful songs on the list, it was even reinterpreted in 2000 by dance act The Propellerheads for a Shirley Bassey remix album.

  • 1. Duran Duran: 'A View To A Kill' (A View To A Kill, 1985) – The song was penned by John Barry alongside the band themselves, ensuring that it had an imprint from both sides – the 60 piece orchestra and grand arrangements of Barry together with the pop sensibilities of Duran Duran. The song appears at the zenith of our list no doubt thanks to Duran Duran's enduring popularity and hardcore fan base.