All 25 James Bond theme songs ranked from worst to best (2022)

From John Barry's original score to Billie Eilish's stoic ballad, you can't have James Bond without a theme tune.

A good James Bond theme is as important to any decent 007 adventure than a shaken (not stirred) vodka martini or a flamboyant villain with questionable motives.

We've gone back through every single theme tune to pick our very favourites, from worst to best.

  • Rita Coolidge - 'All Time High' (Octopussy)

    Yep, it's the one you probably forgot about and normally have to look up which film it was the theme tune for.

    It's not a bad song at all, in fact it's a cracking '80s sax-fest. But it's just not a great Bond theme in comparison to the rest. It sounds like it should be the theme to a Moonlighting spinoff.

  • Shirley Bassey - 'Moonraker'

    Compared to Shirley Bassey's previous efforts ('Goldfinger' and 'Diamonds Are Forever'), this was a sadly forgettable theme. Sorry, Shirls. Brilliant chorus, though.

  • Lulu - 'The Man with the Golden Gun'

    Another example of when the theme tune was one of the best parts of the movie in question, and this time it was Lulu's turn.

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    However, composer Barry wasn't a fan, later saying: "It's the one I hate most... it just never happened for me."

  • Madonna - 'Die Another Day'

    Disclaimer: We have a strange soft spot for this bonkers Bond theme from Madonna, but...

    While it was amazing to secure one of the biggest popstars of all time, the choice to go down the electropop route with lines such as "Sigmund Freud: analyse this", was just an odd way to go for Bond.

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  • Sam Smith - 'Writing's on the Wall'

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    Now, this is a beautiful ballad by Sam Smith, but it just doesn't quite sound like a Bond theme.

    It's got all the moody strings and all, but it doesn't really go anywhere. Sam's voice is hauntingly brilliant as ever, though. It was however the first Bond theme to finally go to number one in the UK.

  • Matt Monro - 'From Russia With Love'

    The first 'proper' Bond theme came from the UK's answer to Frank Sinatra, and was composed by Oliver!'s Lionel Bart.

    An old school take on a Bond theme, it describes the plot of the movie without delving into the innuendo nature of later tunes.

  • Sheena Easton - 'For Your Eyes Only'

    Like 'Nobody Does It Better' before it, this '80s ballad by Sheena Easton is able to exist as a genuinely great love song in its own right.

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    Dusty Springfield and Donna Summer were also considered before newcomer Sheena Easton was selected, and she remains the only singer to actually appear in the movie's famous intro.

  • Garbage - 'The World is Not Enough'

    Lyricist Don Black teamed up with composer David Arnold for this Brosnan-starring title track, taking Bond into the late '90s alt-rock era.

    Like Sheryl Crow before, it may have been forgotten in comparison to others, but it's one of the hidden gems of the Bond theme oeuvre.

  • Billie Eilish - No Time To Die

    After a highly successful couple of years, 18-year-old became the youngest person ever to write and record a James Bond theme song.

    A moody and dark theme that doesn't quite have the bombastic nature of classic Bond themes, it's a refreshing take on the genre and one that will potentially sum up Daniel Craig's final outing as 007.

  • Jack White and Alicia Keys - 'Another Way to Die' (Quantum of Solace)

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    In a rather forgettable Bond outing, this was one of the few shining lights for Craig's second film.

    It's a bit of a Marmite song, with a pairing that we would never have thought of at the time in Jack White and Alicia Keys, but the pounding piano and guitars are so awesome that it works.

  • Sheryl Crow - 'Tomorrow Never Dies'

    KD Lang also recorded a song of the same name written by the movie's composer David Arnold, but this track by Sheryl Crow was chosen instead, with KD's slipped into the end credits.

  • A-ha - 'The Living Daylights'

    After the success of Duran Duran, the first Timothy Dalton movie secured the services of another huge '80s band for the theme tune in the shape of a-ha.

    While not quite as great as its predecessor, it was a brilliant way to usher in the new moody era of 007.

  • John Barry & Orchestra - 'James Bond Theme'

    In the first James Bond film Dr No, there wasn't a particular theme tune in the way we've become accustomed today. Instead, there was a main theme tune written by Monty Norman.

    However, the theme has become so iconic that it's a piece of cinematic history, and is still heard in every Bond film to this day.

  • Chris Cornell - 'You Know My Name' (Casino Royale)

    For Daniel Craig's first Bond movie, composer David Arnold worked with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell on the main theme.

    It was an offbeat choice of artist compared to what came before, but it's underrated rocker that definitely deserves more love.

  • Duran Duran - 'A View to a Kill'

    After a somewhat strange choice the previous year in Rita Coolidge, they stepped it up a notch for Roger Moore's last movie, by hiring the biggest band on the planet: Duran Duran.

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    Written by the band alongside John Barry, it remains the only Bond theme to score a US number one.

  • Tom Jones - 'Thunderball'

    What do you do after the success of Shirley Bassey's 'Goldfinger'? Get another Welsh powerhouse!

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    While Tom Jones's effort isn't as well remembered as others, we'd argue this is an underrated song that's so much fun and couldn't be more '60s Bond if it tried.

  • Nancy Sinatra - 'You Only Live Twice'

    This was the first time Bond went a bit melancholic with its theme tune, and it worked brilliantly.

    Its famous opening strings were famously later sampled by Robbie Williams on his 1998 hit 'Millennium'.

  • Shirley Bassey - 'Diamonds Are Forever'

    After critics weren't too kind with Lazenby's Bond at the time, the next instalment went back to the drawing board and brought back not only Sean Connery, but Shirley Bassey too.

    The theme tune was the best thing about the movie, with the lyrics written by the legendary Don Black.

  • Louis Armstrong - 'We Have All the Time in the World' (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)

    OK, this was technically not the main theme tune for George Lazenby's single outing as Bond, but it's far more memorable than its instrumental title track.

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    An ageing Louis was the surprise but perfect choice for this ballad, and was chosen by John Barry because he felt he could "deliver the title line with irony". The title line is taken from Bond's final and emotional quote in the movie.

    It returned to great effect in Daniel Craig's final outing No Time To Die, marking the first time a theme was used more than once in two different movies.

  • Carly Simon - 'Nobody Does it Better' (The Spy Who Loved Me)

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    One of the few Bond themes which you can actually listen to as a downright amazing pop tune before you think about 007 at all.

    The power ballad from Carly Simon broke away from the George Martin or John Barry mould of writing Bond themes, and it was a breath of fresh air.

    Extra points for always making us think of Alan Partridge with those 'clang-a-lang''s.

  • Tina Turner - 'GoldenEye'

    For Pierce Brosnan's first Bond movie, they went for the tried and tested formula of landing a legendary soul icon, Tina Turner, to belt it out, and man it was amazing.

    You may not have realised that it was written by... U2's Bono and The Edge!

  • Adele - 'Skyfall'

    There was only one person who was going to record the theme tune for Daniel Craig's third movie in 2012 (though Muse gave it a very good go too that year).

    Adele's ballad became one of the best-selling singles of all time, won an Oscar and is basically the most successful Bond theme ever.

  • Shirley Bassey - 'Goldfinger'

    This was the song that made James Bond's theme music come alive. In the first two movies, they were something of an after thought, but Shirley's theme tune to 'Goldfinger' went POW!

    Co-written by crooner Anthony Newley, the song was inspired by 'Mack the Knife' and was produced by Beatles legend George Martin.

  • Gladys Knight - 'Licence to Kill'

    We reckon this Gladys Knight belter is an underrated gem of a Bond theme that harks back to the Shirley Bassey classics of old, bringing it smack bang into the late '80s.

    Try not banging along to the chorus, we bet you can't.

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  • Wings - 'Live and Let Die'

    It was a stroke of genius hiring Paul McCartney's new band to record the theme tune to Roger Moore's first Bond.

    Even with the strange breakdown in the middle of the track, you can't argue that this song has something truly special and timeless about it.

  • FAQs

    What is considered the best James Bond theme song? ›

    The 11 Best James Bond Theme Songs, Ranked (Videos)
    1. “Goldfinger” – Shirley Bassey.
    2. “Skyfall” – Adele. ...
    3. “Live and Let Die” – Paul McCartney and Wings. ...
    4. “Nobody Does It Better”- Carly Simon. ...
    5. “A View to a Kill” – Duran Duran. ...
    6. “You Only Live Twice” – Nancy Sinatra. ...
    7. “You Know My Name” – Chris Cornell. ...
    8. “Thunderball” – Tom Jones. ...

    Who sang the most James Bond theme songs? ›

    John Barry

    How many James Bond theme songs have won Oscars? ›

    The last two Bond songs to take home an Academy Award for best song were Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith's “Writing's on the Wall” from “Spectre” in 2016 and Adele and Paul Epworth's “Skyfall” from 2013.

    What does M stand for in James Bond? ›

    In the final novel of the series, The Man with the Golden Gun, M's full identity is revealed as Vice Admiral Sir Miles Messervy KCMG; Messervy had been appointed to head of MI6 after his predecessor had been assassinated at his desk.

    Who is the best James Bond? ›

    Here's All the James Bond Actors, Ranked
    • 8 Barry Nelson.
    • 7 David Niven.
    • 6 Timothy Dalton.
    • 5 George Lazenby.
    • 4 Roger Moore.
    • 3 Pierce Bronson.
    • 2 Sean Connery.
    • 1 Daniel Craig.
    Jul 20, 2022

    Who did the last Bond song? ›

    Billie Eilish - No Time to Die (2020)

    Written by Eilish and her brother Finneas O'Connell, the latest Bond theme song had its grand unveiling at the Brit Awards in February 2020 – only for the No Time To Die film to be delayed 18 months to September 2021.

    What does the 00 in 007 mean? ›

    Description. In the first novel, Casino Royale, and the 2006 film adaptation, the 00 concept is introduced and, in Bond's words, means "that you've had to kill a chap in cold blood in the course of some assignment". Bond's 00 number (007) was awarded to him because he twice killed in fulfilling assignments.

    Has a Bond movie ever won an Oscar? ›

    To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser. No James Bond film has won an Oscar for 47 years, but that could all change at Sunday's award ceremony where Skyfall is up for five nominations, including Best Song for Adele's track Skyfall. Norman Wanstall won the first James Bond Oscar in 1965.

    Who is next Bond? ›

    Let's start, in time-honoured spy film fashion, with a red herring: Lashana Lynch is the next 007. As you'll have seen in No Time to Die, she goads Bond that he probably thought they'd retire his number, as if MI6 is Birmingham City and he's a swole Jude Bellingham. So, job done.

    Is James Bond MI5 or MI6? ›

    MI5 - Domestic intelligence, MI6 - foreign intelligence. Interestingly, that makes James Bond a member of MI6.

    What does C stand for in MI6? ›

    The chief of the Secret Intelligence Service serves as the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, also commonly known as MI6), which is part of the United Kingdom intelligence community. The chief is appointed by the foreign secretary, to whom they report directly.

    What is James Bond's real name? ›

    Commander James Bond CMG RNVR is a character created by the British journalist and novelist Ian Fleming in 1953. He is the protagonist of the James Bond series of novels, films, comics and video games.
    ...
    James Bond (literary character)
    James Bond
    Created byIan Fleming
    In-universe information
    Alias007
    GenderMale
    11 more rows

    Why do James Bond songs sound the same? ›

    Why does James Bond sound like James Bond? - YouTube

    Who is the first songwriter to win an Oscar for a James Bond theme? ›

    We think the likely answer to this clue is ADELE.
    ...
    First Songwriter To Win An Oscar For A James Bond Theme Crossword Clue.
    RankWordClue
    94%ADELEFirst songwriter to win an Oscar for a James Bond theme
    3%CRAIGJames Bond player Daniel
    3%STIRDisobey James Bond when making a martini
    17 more rows
    Jun 26, 2022

    Which Bond themes have won Oscars? ›

    A History of Oscar-Nominated James Bond Themes: What (and Who!) Won and When
    • of 07. 'No Time to Die,' No Time to Die. ...
    • of 07. 'Writing's on the Wall,' Spectre. ...
    • of 07. 'Skyfall,' Skyfall. ...
    • of 07. 'For Your Eyes Only,' For Your Eyes Only. ...
    • of 07. 'Nobody Does It Better,' The Spy Who Loved Me. ...
    • of 07. ...
    • of 07.
    Mar 28, 2022

    Why do James Bond songs sound the same? ›

    Why does James Bond sound like James Bond? - YouTube

    What music does James Bond listen to? ›

    For rather than wooing the ladies on the set of new Bond movie "Quantum Of Solace" with some seductive jazz, 007 listens to crazy German heavy metal and showtunes from Grease. The actor revealed: “I have about 5,000 songs on my iPod. It’s very eclectic - anything from Kate Bush to The Raconteurs".

    Who will be the new James Bond? ›

    Ahead of the film's November 2020 release date, Lashana Lynch was revealed to be taking on the 007 designation, making her the first female and first Black actor to have the iconic codename.

    How many James Bond theme tunes are there? ›

    All 24 James Bond theme songs ranked from worst to best, based on musical merit
    • Madonna - Die Another Day (2002) ...
    • A-ha - The Living Daylights (1987) ...
    • Alicia Keys & Jack White - Another Way To Die (2008) ...
    • Tom Jones - Thunderball (1965) ...
    • Sam Smith - Writing's On The Wall (2015) ...
    • Lulu - The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
    Sep 29, 2021

    Who was the 1st James Bond? ›

    Sean Connery played the big screen's first James Bond in Dr. No (1962), a role he played an additional five times in the official series, while other actors inheriting the role have included George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and, most recently, Daniel Craig.

    Is Tom Hardy the next Bond? ›

    The next 007 has a high hurdle to clear, but thanks to the producers looking at two very specific requirements, Idris Elba and Tom Hardy just got ruled out as the next James Bond.

    Will there be a Bond 26? ›

    Broccoli stated that she doesn't believe filming on Bond 26 is likely to start until summer 2024, meaning it will likely not be ready for release until some time in 2025.

    Has a Bond movie ever won an Oscar? ›

    To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser. No James Bond film has won an Oscar for 47 years, but that could all change at Sunday's award ceremony where Skyfall is up for five nominations, including Best Song for Adele's track Skyfall. Norman Wanstall won the first James Bond Oscar in 1965.

    Who has done Bond themes? ›

    Every James Bond theme ever and where they charted
    YEARTITLEARTIST
    1964GoldfingerShirley Bassey
    1965ThunderballTom Jones
    1967You Only Live TwiceNancy Sinatra
    1969We Have All The Time in the WorldLouis Armstrong
    21 more rows
    Sep 27, 2021

    How old is Billie Eilish? ›

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    4. The Ultimate James Bond Medley - Every song from the 25 movies including No Time To Die!
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