Best James Bond Theme Songs

Sean Connery in Goldfinger, 1964 and Adele Wins Best Original Song Oscar Award for 'Skyfall', 2013

Cheapism / IMDb / Jason Merritt/Getty Images

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Sean Connery in Goldfinger, 1964 and Adele Wins Best Original Song Oscar Award for 'Skyfall', 2013
Cheapism / IMDb / Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The Best of the Best

There are a few iconic things about James Bond movies, such as fancy clothes, futuristic gadgets, and serial womanizing. There’s also the opening credits sequence, which has always contained a memorable theme song. If those things aren’t there, is it even a Bond movie?

Some James Bond theme songs have run the gamut from brilliant to garbage. Rather than editorialize and run down our favorite Bond theme songs, we’re going to let the U.S. Billboard chart do all the heavy lifting. Here are the 10 best James Bond theme songs, ranked by their position on the charts. Don’t blame us if your favorite isn’t here. Blame the record buyers.

A View to a Kill, Duran Duran, 1985

1. 'A View to a Kill' by Duran Duran

Billboard Peak: #1

“A View to a Kill” was the last James Bond movie to star Roger Moore. He later admitted that it was one of his least favorite outings as 007. Despite his low appraisal of the movie, the theme song of the same name was performed by Duran Duran, and it became the only Bond theme song in history to hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Live and Let Die, Paul McCartney & Wings, 1973

2. 'Live and Let Die' by Paul McCartney & Wings

Billboard Peak: #2

“'Live and Let Die” was Roger Moore’s first time playing Bond after Sean Connery had left the role. The movie is deeply problematic since it was an attempt to get in on the then-popular Blaxploitation movement. The movie’s attitudes towards Black people and New York City’s Harlem neighborhood are as evolved as one would expect, which is to say, not at all. Having said that, Paul McCartney & Wings wrote the theme song of the same name, and over 50 years later, it remains a straight-up banger.

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Nobody Does It Better, Carly Simon, 1977

3. 'Nobody Does It Better' by Carly Simon

Billboard Peak: #2

“The Spy Who Loved Me” is considered one of Roger Moore’s finest efforts as Agent 007, and it remains the movie in which Moore truly made the role his own after replacing Sean Connery. Carly Simon’s smooth, sultry theme, “Nobody Does It Better,” still stands as one of the most beloved Bond opening credit songs, and it complements the movie perfectly, even if you’re not crazy about Simon’s somewhat mediocre vocal ability.

For Your Eyes Only

4. 'For Your Eyes Only' by Sheena Easton

Billboard Peak: #4

After 1979’s “Moonraker,” which many Bond fans consider one of the stupidest films in the series, it was decided that the franchise should go back to its roots for the next movie, “For Your Eyes Only.” It was a more serious espionage caper than its predecessor, and Sheena Easton's ballad of the same name brought a touch of romance to the film, which never hurts.

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The Living Daylights

5. 'The Living Daylights' by a-ha

Billboard Peak: #5

“The Living Daylights” marked the beginning of Timothy Dalton’s tragically short-lived career as Bond, a role he would play only one more time. The Norwegian group a-ha, famous for the song “Take on Me,” brought their synth-pop magic to the opening credits, and its number five placement on the Billboard charts showed that fans found it compelling enough to justify the price of a cassingle.

You Know My Name, Chris Cornell, 2006

6. 'You Know My Name' by Chris Cornell

Billboard Peak: #7

When Daniel Craig took over the role of Bond in 2006 for the franchise reboot “Casino Royale,” the idea was to have a harder-edged 007 than the suave one people were used to seeing. It worked like gangbusters, and the movie remains one of the best in the series. The theme song by the great Chris Cornell is simply the best one to ever grace a Bond film, and this hard rock anthem matched Craig’s slightly more thuggish depiction of Bond perfectly.

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Skyfall, Adele, 2012

7. 'Skyfall' by Adele

Billboard Peak: #8

Adele’s haunting rendition of the title track to 2012’s “Skyfall” was excellent, and it’s hard to believe it only got to number eight on the Billboard chart. Still, nothing can take away the fact that it’s just a great, catchy tune that fits the mood of the movie like a glove. Many Bond fans consider “Skyfall” one of the franchise's best entries, and this theme song is one of many things that it got absolutely right.

Goldfinger, Shirley Bassey, 1964

8. 'Goldfinger' by Shirley Bassey

Billboard Peak: #8

“Goldfinger” is one of the greatest Bond movies, and it's easy to see why many fans of the franchise still consider Sean Connery’s portrayal of 007 to be the last word on the topic. The quintessential Bond opening credits song, Shirley Bassey's powerful vocal, made the theme song of the same name an instant classic. To this day, anyone who wants to write a song in the style of an archetypal Bond theme song should probably consult this one.

Die Another Day, Madonna, 2002

9. 'Die Another Day' by Madonna

Billboard Peak: #8

Many Bond fans are divided on Pierce Brosnan’s tenure as the famous secret agent. Some fans loved him and thought he was perfect for the role, while others kept asking why Remington Steele was in Bond movies. What they all agreed on was that Madonna’s theme song was pretty trite and irritating, which didn’t stop hordes of Madge fans from buying it anyway and sending it to the number eight spot on the Billboard chart.

Another Way to Die

10. 'Another Way to Die' by Alicia Keys & Jack White

Billboard Peak: #9

Rounding out the list is the collaboration between Alicia Keys and Jack White called “Another Way to Die.” It was written for 2008’s “Quantum of Solace,” a shockingly terrible movie that destroyed the franchise-rescuing that “Casino Royale” had done two years prior. The song is probably the best thing about this loud, incoherent entry in the Bond canon, which came out in the middle of a writers' strike. Hey, if everybody who can write a movie script is on strike, maybe wait until they return to make the movie?