James Bond Songs

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James Bond Backing Tracks – A View To A Kill   …  All Time High  …   Another Way To Die   …  Diamonds Are Forever   …  Die Another Day   …   For Your Eyes Only  …    From Russia With Love  … Golden Eye  …  Goldfinger  … James Bond Theme – Dr No  …   James Bond Theme – 007  …   Licence To Kill  …   Living Daylights  …  Live and Let Die  … Man With The Golden Gun  …  Moonraker  …    Nobody Does It Better  …  No Time To Die  …  Skyfall  …  Thunderball   …  -Tomorrow Never Dies  …  We Have All The Time In The World  World Is Not Enough  …  Writing’s On The Wall   …  You Know My Name   … You Only Live Twice   … 

 

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James Bond film series features numerous musical compositions since its inception in 1962, many of which are now considered classic pieces of British film music. The best known of these pieces is the ubiquitous “James Bond Theme”. Other instrumentals, such as the “007 Theme” or “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, and various songs, such as Shirley Bassey‘s “Goldfinger”, Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die”, Carly Simon‘s “Nobody Does It Better”, Sheena Easton’s “For Your Eyes Only” and Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” have also become identified with the series. Two Bond songs have won the Academy Award for Best Original Song: “Skyfall” by Adele and “Writing’s on the Wall” by Sam Smith.

Facts about James Bond Songs:

The “James Bond Theme” is the main signature theme of the James Bond films and has featured in every Eon Productions Bond film since Dr. No, released in 1962. The piece has been used as an accompanying fanfare to the gun barrel sequence in every Eon Bond film before Casino Royale.

007 Theme“, not to be confused with the “James Bond Theme”, is an adventure theme composed by John Barry in 1963 for the Bond film, From Russia with Love. “The John Barry Seven” had pop chart hit with a cover version of Elmer Bernstein’s theme to The Magnificent Seven that included seven beats repeated throughout the theme. Barry used seven beats throughout the “007 Theme”.

It became a secondary theme for the Bond films, being used throughout the series, primarily during action scenes. Its most notable appearances are:

  • From Russia with Love – played during the gypsy camp gunfight and also during Bond’s theft of the Lektor decoder from the Russian embassy in Istanbul.
  • Thunderball – played briefly in a climactic underwater fight; a similar but different theme of seven beats is played when Bond runs from SPECTRE during a parade and during the climax.
  • You Only Live Twice – played during the flight of “Little Nellie” before Bond battles four helicopters that attack him.
  • Diamonds Are Forever – played during Bond’s destruction of Blofeld’s Headquarters.
  • Moonraker – played during the Amazon River chase.

The theme has not been used in its entirety in a Bond film since its use in Moonraker.

This piece of music was also used by Al Primo, the news director at KYW-TV in Philadelphia for its long-time theme to Eyewitness News, and was adopted by other Group W stations in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Boston and San Francisco as well as other non-Group W stations, including WLS-TV in Chicago. The theme was also sampled by Big Audio Dynamite for the 1986 song “Sightsee M.C!”

The “James Bond Theme” is the main theme for Dr. No, and has featured in all the Eon Productions Bond films in different versions. The theme has also featured on the gun barrel sequences at the beginning of the films. The original theme was written by Monty Norman, and was performed by John Barry and his orchestra in 1962. In the opening credits of Dr. No, two other pieces were played: an untitled bongo interlude and a Calypso-flavored rendition of “Three Blind Mice”, titled “Kingston Calypso”. Due to this, Dr. No is the only film to have more than one opening theme. The “James Bond Theme” reached No. 13 in the UK Singles Chart, and remained in the charts for 13 weeks.

The opening credits of From Russia with Love were accompanied by an instrumental version of the main theme, arranged by John Barry and written by Lionel Bart. A single by The John Barry Orchestra reached No. 39 in the U.K. At the film’s end, a vocal version by English singer Matt Monro is heard. This song spent 13 weeks in the U.K. charts, peaking at No. 20.

Goldfinger was the third soundtrack composed by John Barry, and this time the theme song had lyrics written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. The soundtrack reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and spent 70 weeks on the charts. It also peaked at No. 14 on the UK Albums Chart, and received the Bond series first Grammy Award nomination, Best Original Score from a Motion Picture or Television Show.

Welsh singer Shirley Bassey is the only singer to perform more than one Bond theme – she recorded the themes to GoldfingerDiamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker. Bassey also recorded her own versions of “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” for Thunderball and it was rumoured that “No Good About Goodbye” was intended for Quantum of Solace, however David Arnold said ‘No Good About Goodbye’ was never intended as a Bond song.

Paul McCartney’s performance of “Live and Let Die” was the first Bond theme song to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song; it reached No. 2 as a U.S. single, and No. 9 on the U.K. charts.  George Martin’s work in the song won the Grammy for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists.

Marvin Hamlisch’s (music) and Carole Bayer Sager’s (lyrics) “Nobody Does It Better” (performed by Carly Simon) received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, as did Bill Conti’s “For Your Eyes Only”, which was performed by Sheena Easton.

It was not until the 2013 Oscars that a Bond theme song finally won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the theme song from Skyfall by Adele. Thomas Newman’s score also got the first nomination for Academy Award for Best Original Score in the series since Hamlisch’s own for The Spy Who Loved Me, while winning the Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Adele’s song also won the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.  Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre would also win the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Duran Duran and John Barry’s “A View To A Kill” topped the singles charts in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the only Bond theme to hit No. 1 in the United States.  No James Bond theme had topped the charts in the UK until Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” entered the charts at number one on 2 October 2015.

Several of the later films have alternative theme songs, often during the closing credits. The Living Daylights featured The Pretenders performing “If There Was a Man,” composed by John Barry with Chrissie Hynde. Licence to Kill has “If You Asked Me To” sung by Patti Labelle. GoldenEye featured Éric Serra’s “The Experience of Love”. Tomorrow Never Dies included k.d. lang’s “Surrender” during the closing credits, a song which was originally proposed by composer David Arnold to be the title sequence theme instead of the Sheryl Crow title song. The “Surrender” theme is heard throughout the score while the melody of Sheryl Crow’s song is not used again during the film. This hearkens back to the Thunderball soundtrack, where Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was originally proposed as the opening credits music, only to be replaced by the eponymous title track as sung by Tom Jones.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service featured an instrumental theme tune, something which remains unique amongst the post-From Russia with Love films, and included a vocal theme in the form of Louis Armstrong’s performance of “We Have All the Time in the World”, written by John Barry and Hal David.