In this age of so-called "leaks" on the internet, it is hard to resist the temptation of listening to a new Bond theme song before the film is released. But those who are brave are rewarded as the opening sequence is accompanied by the song that will forever be tied to that specific Bond film. Of course, every Bond fan has their favorite and they have their least favorite, so here are some notable Bond theme songs.
The "James Bond Theme" is the signature theme which started it all. It debuted with the first Bond film, "Dr. No" (1962). Written by Monty Norman and arranged by John Barry, there has never been a theme song that is as synonymous with a character. The cool, jazzy, steady rhythm that crashes into a crescendo, that once heard by movie goers, conjures images of Bond's fights and car chases. From "Dr. No" (1962) to "The Living Daylights" (1987) Barry composed the scores for 11 Bond films and holds the record within the multiple-decade blockbuster smash franchise.
"Goldfinger" (1964). Amongst film buffs and Bond fans alike, it is highly agreed upon that Shirley Bassey's theme song for "Goldfinger" set the standards for the future of the franchise's theme songs. It is said that when Bassey recorded the title song, she was singing along with the opening credits as it was being recorded. However, as the song came to a close, the credits kept rolling and Bassey was forced to hold the final note until she almost passed out. Bassey is the only performer to hold a record of singing more than one Bond theme song. She also recorded the title songs for "Diamonds are Forever" (1971) and "Moonraker" (1979).
"Thunderball" by Tom Jones (1965). Apparently when this song was being recorded, neither the composer John Barry or Tom Jones could connect with the song on emotional level. As Barry composed it, he couldn't see writing a song about "Thunderball" as Bond's codename or the film's story, so Barry had to focus on the Bond's character. But when Jones questioned the song's motives, Barry replied, "Don't worry about what it means, just sing the hell out of it, like only you can." So he did. Although the lyrics may still sound a bit awkward, only the collaboration of Barry and Jones could make it a powerful song.
"Live and Let Die" By Paul McCartney. The former Beatles member recorded this track for "Live and Let Die" (1973). It was the first Bond film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Today, it can still be heard on the radiowaves that are dedicated to classic rock.