The James Bond Theme
Written by Monty Norman and performed by the John Barry Orchestra (1962)
Every film in the official series has used this iconic theme, brilliantly orchestrated by John Barry, somewhere. The film also features the Eric Rogers song Under the Mango Tree-sung at one point by Bond himself.
From Russia With Love
Written by Lionel Bart and performed by Matt Monro (1963)
One of the most lush and romantic of Bond themes. The film also features 007 by John Barry, instantly recognisable and tells you the action is about to begin. It seems to have been dropped since the days of Timothy Dalton.
Written by John Barry, Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse and performed by Shirley Bassey (1964)
Probably the most famous theme and is still dramatic and sexy even after all these years. Hear it and you’ll immediately want to watch the movie!
Written by John Barry and Don Black and performed by Tom Jones (1965)
Johnny Cash submitted a song called Thunderball, which wasn’t used. When the original theme song, Mr Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang had to be replaced, John Barry had already used it in the film’s orchestrations so snippets of both that and Thunderball can be heard throughout.
You Only Live Twice
Written by John Barry and Leslie Bricusse and performed by Nancy Sinatra (1967)
Sampled on Robbie Williams’s Millennium.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Written by John Barry and performed by The John Barry Orchestra (1969)
George Lazenby’s reboot goes back to basics with an orchestral opener, which was sampled in the trailer for The Incredibles. We Have All The Time in the World has lyrics by the late Hal David and was John Barry’s co-favourite Bond theme, the other being Goldfinger.
Diamonds Are Forever
Written by Don Black and performed by Shirley Bassey (1971)
Shirley Bassey is the only person to perform a Bond theme more than once, this being the second of three. Dame Shirley was shocked when Don Black said he’d found it difficult to write a love song to diamonds and it’s actually about a certain part of a gentleman’s anatomy!
Live and Let Die
Written and performed by Paul McCartney and Wings (1973)
The first film to feature Roger Moore didn’t have John Barry composing the music (he was very ill at the time). When George Martin stepped in, the former Beatle became the natural choice.
The Man With the Golden Gun
Written by John Barry and Don Black and performed by Lulu (1974)
The only Bond theme not to chart in either the UK or the USA. John Barry said of it: ‘It’s the one I hate most… it just never happened for me.’
The Spy Who Loved Me
Nobody Does It Better
Written by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager and performed by Carly Simon (1977)
A worldwide smash and the first to have a different title to the film. In 2004, the song was honoured by the American Film Institute as the 67th greatest song as part of its 100 Years series.
Written by John Barry and Hal David and performed by Shirley Bassey (1979)
Most people would be hard pushed to give this if asked what the third of Shirley Bassey’s themes was.
For Your Eyes Only
Written by Bill Conti and Michael Leeson and performed by Sheena Easton (1981)
The only Bond title sequence to feature the singer on screen and it made Sheena Easton a huge international star after Blondie turned it down. It was nominated for an Oscar (losing out to the theme from Arthur) and a Golden Globe.
All Time High
Written by John Barry and Tim Rice and performed by Rita Coolidge (1983)
The music video shows Rita Coolidge in soft focus in what purports to be an Indian palace, but is, in fact, the Royal Pavilion at Brighton.
A View to a Kill
Written by John Barry and Duran Duran and performed by Duran Duran (1985)
The band’s bassist John Taylor is a massive Bond fan and had been pestering the producers to let them do one.
The Living Daylights
Written by John Barry and Ah-ha and performed by Ah-ha (1987)
Over the film’s closing credits, If There Was a Man by The Pretenders is played and the band also has Where Has Everybody gone on the soundtrack.
License to Kill
Written by Narada Michael Walden, Jeffrey Cohen and Walter Afanasieff and performed by Glayds Knight (1989)
Listen carefully to the chorus and Gladys Knight does appear to sing “license to kilt”! Over the closing credits is Patti LaBelle’s If You Asked Me To.
Written by Bono and The Edge and performed by Tina Turner (1995)
How come it took so long for Tina Turner to sing a Bond theme? This clever mix of modern with classic 007 drama was specially written for her by U2’s hitmakers.
Tomorrow Never Dies
Written and performed by Sheryl Crow (1997)
New Bond composer David Arnold wrote an alternative theme, Surrender, which is performed by k.d. lang over the closing credits.
The World is Not Enough
Written by David Arnold and Don Black and performed by Garbage (1999)
David Arnold wanted to make it very Shirley Bassey-esque and Shirley Manson certainly has the voice for it.
Die Another Day
Written and performed by Madonna (2002)
This the only time the performer of the title song has appeared in the movie, but most of us wondered why they’d bothered (Madonna has a tiny cameo but it’s just awful).
You Know My Name
Written by David Arnold and Chris Cornell and performed by Chris Cornell (2006)
I have to confess I really hated this song at first, but it does grow on you with repeated viewings/listenings. As Bond doesn’t say the famous line ‘The name is Bond, James Bond’ until the very end of the film, the song’s title acknowledges that he really needs no introduction.
Quantum of Solace
Another Way To Die
Written by Jack White and performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys (2008)
The movie’s a bit of a muddle and so is the theme song, with lots of plinky atonal piano. The only theme performed by a duo so far.