Maddoc and I were eating at Arby’s, trying to get her some protein in her diet (the better to help her recovery they tell us), and Skyfall by Adele came on. I realized I think that’s an underrated song and made me think that I should do a ranking of the best songs from the James Bond movies.
The first version of this piece was just my ranking and me noting the top 10 or so of the other rankings I found. But then as I started going, I found a wide range of what people think are the top Bond songs. So, for fun, I decided to do a spreadsheet and put in all of the rankings I could find and then average them out. Yeah, ok, maybe that’s not fun fun. But interesting nonetheless.
Here are the links to the other rankings I used:
Rolling Stone; Esquire; Culture Sonar; Business Insider; Consequence of Sound; Digital Spy; High Snobiety;
In the interest of showing my work, I’ll throw the table of rankings and the averages down below. Some thoughts on the process with my ranking below. Keep in mind that my ranking is based on how I like the song. I didn’t gauge how well the song was used in the movie or use the videos of the songs for or against them (which is a good thing in Duran Duran’s case).
24. Kingston Calypso – Byron Lee and the Dragonaires (Dr. No) – This wasn’t really a true Bond song and didn’t get included in all the lists that I looked at.
23. We Have All the Time in the World – Louis Armstrong (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) – This song was a surprising #1 on one of the lists. Nothing against Louie, but the song did nothing for me.
22. Moonraker – Shirley Bassey – Yawn!
21. You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra – This song did pretty well on a couple of the lists, including a surprising #1 on a list. I had to go back to listen to the song again to make sure I had been paying attention the first time through. I did and I think it deserves this spot, but, to be fair, I may be the outlier here.
20. From Russia with Love – Matt Munro – Ranged from a high of 6 to a low of 20 on the various lists.
19. Die Another Day – Madonna – Somehow, one of the lists put this one at #4. I couldn’t sit through the whole song and I tried twice.
18. Thunderball – Tom Jones – Tom ranged from a 5 to a 22. A love it or hate it song.
17. The World is not Enough – Garbage – My ranking was right on the average here. It’s an ok song, but not one of the best.
16. Tomorrow Never Dies – Sheryl Crow – I’m pretty close to the average here too. I like Sheryl Crow sometimes, but this didn’t fit her or vice versa.
15. Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey – Overall average of 8.1 on the ranking. I wasn’t the only one to put Ms. Bassey this far down though.
14. License to Kill – Gladys Knight – I’m nailing this part of the ranking.
13. Writing’s on the Wall – Sam Smith (Spectre) – Honestly, I could put this one down farther. He won an Oscar for this?
12. Another Way to Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys (Quantum of Solace) – These middle range songs could all move up or down a couple of spots and it wouldn’t matter much.
11. The Man with the Golden Gun – Lulu – I was a bit of an outlier here. Average was 18.5. I just liked it, I guess, and it is my ranking after all.
10. Goldeneye – Ike & Tina Turner – I went into this song figuring I wouldn’t like it. I didn’t get into Tina Turner’s 80s What’s Love got to do with it stuff. But I really dug this song. Could probably be higher in the ranking really. But I’m pretty close to the average here.
9. All Time High – Rita Coolidge (Octopussy) – This is a total 80s pop song. The range on the lists was from 7 to 23. Not a song to listen to a second time, but the first time was a nice memory, so that’s why it’s here.
8. For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton – My ranking is about the average. It’s a recognizable and singable song, so here it sits.
7. The Living Daylights – a-ha – Another outlier for me. I just really like a-ha’s sound and this song sounds like them. The average is 15, so I’m not in line with the other lists.
6. Nobody Does it Better – Carly Simon (The Spy Who Loved Me) – Another good pop tune. Late 70s but still very memorable.
5. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey – The overall average ranking winner in an upset. Very solid marks across all of the lists let Ms. Bassey get a win. And for the old style Bond songs, this one holds up well.
4. A View to a Kill – Duran Duran – Rankings range from 1 to 19, so big difference of opinion here. I’m an 80s guy and this sounds like them. It’s got some fun poppy things going on. If I took into account their “blow up the Eiffel Tower” video, this would slide down the rankings.
3. Skyfall – Adele – The song that caused me to go through this ranking process in the first place. Would have been #2, except that I just started listening to the Cornell tune over and over and it got stuck in my head.
2. You Know My Name – Chris Cornell (Casino Royale/Daniel Craig) – I’m an outlier here and I don’t even care. Great tune!
1. Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney – Recency bias could have led me to move this one down to #2 because of the Cornell tune, but I just couldn’t push Paul down. This one should have been the ranking average leader, but it had a #10 ranking on one of the lists that brought it down just below Goldfinger.
|Kingston Calypso or Theme (Dr. No)||24||5||n/a|
|We Have All the Time in the World – Louis Armstrong or theme (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)||23||9||8||20||16||4||1||23||13|
|Moonraker – Shirley Bassey||22||10||18||16||21||14||20||20||17.6|
|You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra||21||3||4||7||12||7||8||1||7.9|
|From Russia With Love – Matt Munro||20||13||16||10||7||10||6||11||14.1|
|Die Another Day – Madonna||19||17||20||24||10||22||23||4||17.4|
|Thunderball – Tom Jones||18||7||22||9||22||9||5||22||14.3|
|The World is Not Enough – Garbage||17||11||10||13||18||16||11||6||17.5|
|Tomorrow Never Dies – Sheryl Crow||16||16||13||17||23||21||15||19||17.8|
|Diamonds are Forever – Shirley Bassey||15||5||6||14||3||5||10||7||8.1|
|License to Kill – Gladys Knight||14||14||12||22||13||19||9||18||15.1|
|Writing’s on the Wall – Sam Smith||13||17||8||24||15||18||17||16|
|Another Way to Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys||12||21||11||18||11||18||21||14||15.8|
|The Man with the Golden Gun – Lulu||11||22||21||21||15||23||19||16||18.5|
|Goldeneye – Ike & Tina Turner||10||15||9||15||17||13||12||8||12.4|
|All Time High – Rita Coolidge (Octopussy)||9||18||7||23||19||17||22||21||17|
|For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton||8||8||5||6||8||11||16||13||9.4|
|The Living Daylights – a-ha||7||20||19||11||14||20||14||15||15|
|Nobody Does it Better – Carly Simon (The Spy Who Loved Me)||6||6||2||3||5||3||4||9||4.8|
|Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey||5||1||3||4||2||1||3||3||2.8|
|A View to a Kill – Duran Duran||4||12||14||19||1||6||13||2||8.9|
|Skyfall – Adele||3||4||15||2||9||8||7||5||6.6|
|You Know My Name – Chris Cornell (Casino Royale)||2||19||23||12||20||12||17||12||14.6|
|Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney||1||2||1||1||4||2||2||10||2.9|
2 thoughts on “Bond Songs, Ranked”
Well, “Goldfinger” edges out “Live and Let Die” by 0.1 on the average, but I could see that one going either way. But of course, there’s this one, which was supposed to run, but was replaced…
I like Alice, but the Lulu version fits better I think. And the Alice tune is off somehow. Kind of like Sheryl Crow’s Bond tune. It didn’t fit her style on all the rest of her original music. Square peg/round hole for both.