Ranked | All of the James Bond Theme Songs

The notion of the James Bond title song didn’t begin until the second James Bond feature (From Russia with Love in 1963), but it has been a stable staple of the series ever since, and sometime along the way, audiences began anticipating the title tune almost as much as seeing the movie itself. Which hot new pop star would be active and classy enough to tackle Bond? 

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We here at Crave have, of course, seen every Bond film, written about them extensively, and listened to all of the Bond songs. And, using our infinitely impeccable taste, have ranked them 27th to 1st (We included some ancillary Bond songs for good measure, including a few non-canonical ones). So read on, agents, to discover our findings.  

27. “Die Another Day” – Madonna (Die Another Day)

The worst of the James Bond films (seriously, Die Another Day is awful) also has the worst theme song. Madonna’s odd, bad electro-thumping sets the tone for nothing in particular, and only opens up the movie for a meaningless cameo by Madonna herself as a fencing instructor.

26. “All Time High” – Rita Coolidge (Octopussy)

So boring. Octopussy is not the worst of the Roger Moore films (that’d be Moonraker), but this tender ballad is such a snore. 

25. “Never Say Never Again” – Lani Hall (Never Say Never Again)

1983 was not a good year for Bond, as a competing studio elected to release a non-canonical Bond film with Sean Connery the same year the canonical studio released Octopussy. The formula was the same (the story was, after all, taken directly from Thunderball), but the impact deadened.

24. “Moonraker” – Shirley Bassey (Moonraker)

Bassey previously sang two Bond themes, and her inclusion here feels like a gimmick. It’s the least interesting of her songs, and she doesn’t get a chance to belt. You don’t hire Shirley Bassey unless she’s going to belt something. 

23. “For Your Eyes Only” – Sheena Easton (For Your Eyes Only)

Although For Your Eyes Only is the best of the Roger Moore Bond films, Sheena Easton’s theme song is so lugubrious and chewy, it hardly sticks in the mind at all. It’s pretty plain yogurt. Fun trivia: This is the only Jame Bond title sequence to feature the artist actually singing on screen. 

22.“Licence to Kill” – Gladys Knight (Licence to Kill)

Although possessed of a little more attitude than “For Your Eyes Only” or “All Time High,” Gladys Knight’s song leaves just as gentle an impact. Can you sing any part from this one for me?

21. “Three Blind Mice” – Monty Morman (Dr. No)

Dr. No, as the first proper James Bond feature film, technically didn’t have a trademark Bond song, opting instead to play the infamous Jame Bond intro music, and then pairing it with this bizarre little ditty about three blind mice (in the film, three assassins). It’s a fine piece, but its lack of center has it low on the list. 

20. “You Know My Name” – Chris Cornell (Casino Royale, 2006)

The 2006 “soft reboot” of James Bond is considered by purists to be the first “proper” James Bond film, and it was so good, it actually turned older James Bond fans into newfound purists. Aside from the badass opening chords, this song settles into a dull grunge rock anthem that was already 10 years too old. 

19. “The Living Daylights” – a-Ha (The Living Daylights)

The best of the James Bond songs function as standalone pop songs as well as James Bond songs. “The Living Daylights” works fine as a pop song, but it doesn’t feel much like a Jame Bond theme. Also, whatever happened to a-Ha? As it turns out, they’re still active

18. “Writing’s on the Wall” – Sam Smith (SPECTRE)

Like “You Know My Name,” Sam Smith’s newest jam for the upcoming SPECTRE feels like a pop hit that escaped from ’90s radio. It’s a dark and dour Badalamenti-ish tune that sounds like something from Lost Highway more than something from a James Bond film. But then, maybe the film itself is also dour; I haven’t seen it yet. 

17. “Another Way to Die” – Jack White and Alicia Keys (Quantum of Solace)

I actually love this song on paper. It’s a jumpy, rocking tune that feels like a genuine James Bond hit, and it would be near the top of this list were it not for the awful vocals. Alicia Keys and Jack White do not have voices that go together well at all, and hearing them sing together is rather grating. One or the other, kids. Not both. 

16. “The World is Not Enough” – Garbage (The World is Not Enough)

Hm… It’s okay. The sound and the sentiment are there. It’s ranked low because it’s just sort of flat.