The world premiere of the James Bond film No Time To Die was held at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 28 September 2021. Dame Shirley Bassey attended the premiere in Monte Carlo. Below a poll of the James Bond songs.
A gun sight centres on a man walking across screen holding a gun. Bang! Blood dribbles down. A pre-credits sequence significantly longer and more expensive than the one in the last film plays out. And then… what? Billowing strings, brazen brass and purring divas? Staccato synthpop? Grunge? Reggae?
That all very much depends on your preferences in Bond theme songs. Are you still blown away by Bassey or shaken and stirred by Billie Eilish’s latest No Time To Die entry? Is Sheena Easton for your ears only or does nobody do it better than Carly Simon? Here’s our ranking – do we expect you to agree? No, Bond fanatic, we expect you to troll…
Sam Smith, ‘Writing’s On The Wall’
From: Spectre (2015)
Byron Lee And The Dragonaires, ‘Kingston Calypso’
From: Dr. No (1962)
In the year 2BB (Before Bassey), the intro of the first official Bond film followed Monty Norman’s legendary ‘James Bond Theme’ with a spot of bongo mania and then this calypso rendition of ‘Three Blind Mice’, accompanied by the shadow of three blind men tottering along, neither naked nor swinging on the barrel of a 20-foot Luger. It would be the closest to ‘woke’ that a Bond title sequence would get for the next 60 years.
Rita Coolidge, ‘All Time High’
From: Octopussy (1983)
Tina Turner, ‘GoldenEye’
From: GoldenEye (1995)
Lulu, ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’
From: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Shirley Bassey, ‘Moonraker’
From: Moonraker (1979)
Having defined the Bond theme with her two earlier contributions ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, the franchise producers should really have kept Shirley Bassey out of the sexy trumpet cupboard until they got around to filming something similarly extravagant – The Spy With The Bitcoin Balls or something. Instead they reeled her out for the frustratingly mundane and soporific ‘Moonraker’, the song that Elaine Paige was born to sing.
Chris Cornell, ‘You Know My Name’
From: Casino Royale (2006)
Matt Monroe, ‘From Russia With Love’
From: From Russia With Love (1963)
Gladys Knight, ‘Licence To Kill’
From: Licence To Kill (1989)
Tom Jones, ‘Thunderball’
From: Thunderball (1965)
Tom’s stab at emulating Bassey’s dramatic fireworks the year after Goldfinger was certainly stalked by lascivious trumpets and beaten with so much percussion it sounded like Blofeld was interrogating him with the blunt end of a kettle drum. But its tune was working as a double agent for LACKLUSTRE and its cover was quickly blown.
Jack White and Alicia Keys, ‘Another Way To Die’
From: Quantum Of Solace (2008)
Sheryl Crow, ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’
From: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Sheena Easton, ‘For Your Eyes Only’
From: For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Billie Eilish, ‘No Time To Die’
From: No Time To Die (2021)
As one critic said: Dame Shirley Bassey used more are to blow out the candles for her 84th. birthday cake than Billie Elish used to sing this Bond song.
A-Ha, ‘The Living Daylights’
From: The Living Daylights (1987)
Shirley Bassey, ‘Diamonds Are Forever’
From: Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Just as Connery returned in the wake of George Lazenby’s brief, audience shedding stint, Bassey also reprised her bling-based theme song duties in the interest of giving the Bond crowd what they wanted – opera house diva extravagance and plenty of it.
Nancy Sinatra, ‘You Only Live Twice’
From: You Only Live Twice (1967)
From: Skyfall (2012)
Garbage, ‘The World Is Not Enough’
From: The World Is Not Enough (1999)
By the end of the ‘90s, with the arrival of composer David Arnold, the idea of moving on from the classic Bassey Bond theme gave way to the strategy of reinventing it for modern audiences. Garbage, then, were an inspired choice to perform ‘The World Is Not Enough’, their industrial textures and Shirley Manson’s roof-lifting voice made for an ultra-modern theatrical showstopper.
Duran Duran, ‘A View To A Kill’
From: A View To A Kill (1985)
Shirley Bassey, ‘Goldfinger’
From: Goldfinger (1964)
The classic to which every bombastic Bond theme pretender aspires and by which every subsequent, horn-blasted copycat effort has been judged. Do they expect you to sing? No, Shirley Manson, they expect you to wail in sequins…
Louis Armstrong, ‘We Have All The Time In The World’
From: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Carly Simon, ‘Nobody Does It Better’
From: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Wings, ‘Live And Let Die’
From: Live And Let Die (1973)