A look at iconic James Bond film themes over the years

Sep 13, 2015, 02:42 IST | Nikshubha Garg

Fifty-three years since the first 007 film made its way to theatres, the fever refuses to die down. Just before the unveiling of the new theme song, here’s a look at other tracks from the franchise that, over the years, have left an indelible mark

As much as people recognise the Bond series for the cars, guns, gadgets and of course, the girls, the theme songs have also contributed significantly in making it the franchise it is today. From Shirley Bassey to Adele, a variety of artistes have been part of these sassy numbers. Last week, Grammy winner Sam Smith recorded, Writings On The Wall, the theme for the upcoming 007 film, Spectre. While fans of the series wait for the track to release on September 25, we pick the most memorable numbers of the lot:

Shirley Bassey

Film: Goldfinger (1964) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Singer: Shirley Bassey
Goldfinger: This number has become the benchmark for all Bond themes, so much so that it got inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006.

This was the first theme song, which played over the opening credits — a style that was to become a trademark for all Bond movies. With her full-bodied vocals, Bassey made this song about the villain sound delicious.

Diamonds Are Forever: You might recognise this one, courtesy Kanye West who recreated this track for Last Registration’s Diamonds from Sierra Leone, but the original  is far superior.

Diamonds Are Forever

The element of intrigue coupled with Bassey’s teasing vocals was a recipe for success hard to replicate.  

Film: Skyfall (2012)
Singer: Adele


Creating a perfect Bond song is no easy task. It is expected to comprise elements of drama, romance, glamour and intrigue and all of this should be delivered in a span of 4-5 minutes. So, what made this theme song click?

Skyfall (2012)

According to critics, this Oscar-winning song became such a huge hit with the audiance because it stuck to the basics while taking cues from the vintage classics.  A few minutes into the song and you know that this is a quintessential Bond number. Yet, Adele makes sure the song that bears her distinct signature.

Film: A View To A Kill  (1985)
Singer: Duran Duran

Duran Duran packed a punch with this one (and also earned a Golden Globe nomination).

The amalgamation of rock with traditional orchestral textures of Bond songs made this a favourite in the ’80s. This was also the last time the original five members of Duran Duran worked together.

Film: Live and Let Die (1973)
Singer: Paul McCartney and Wings

Leave it to Paul McCartney to make a Bond theme distinctive. From pop ballad to classical, he has everything covered in this song. He reunited with Beatles producer George Martin to record this this number for Roger Moore’s debut film.

In 1991 Guns n’ Roses imbued new life to the song when they came up with a cover of the same.

Film: From Russia With Love (1963)
Singer: Matt Monro

Matt Monro

High on the retro vibe of that era, this old-school song  featured towards the end of the movie. Recorded in the
pre-Beatlemania months, the song had English singing sensation , Matt Monro crooning away about Russia and love.

The song did well on the charts and went on to become a huge hit as an instrumental number topped heavily with a jazz organ.

Film: Thunderball
Singer: Tom Jones

Tom Jones

He always runs while others walk.
He acts while other men just talk.
They call him the winner who takes all
And he strikes like Thunderball. ...
Any woman he wants, he’ll get;
He will break any heart without regret.


The Welsh singer’s style of singing seems to be just perfect for the not-so-subtle tone of the film and as well as the song.

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