| Bassey, Madonna: 007 & 000
Los Angeles, Nov. 24 (AP): When it comes to James Bond theme songs, nobody’s done it better than Carly Simon — except maybe Shirley Bassey.
Some of them endure — especially the signature theme by the John Barry Orchestra, introduced at the start of the franchise in 1962’s Dr No — while others have come and gone as quickly as Bond girls. They’ve all unquestionably been products of their times, though, including You Know My Name by Audioslave lead singer Chris Cornell, which opens Casino Royale.
A look at some of the best and worst tunes from the past 21 films:
Nobody Does It Better from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Many would choose the next song on the list, and they’d be totally justified. But this one just stands out after all these years. The touches of melancholy in Simon’s haunting vocals mix with the mystery required of any great Bond tune.
Goldfinger (1964). A complete classic in the canon, of course. The combination of Bassey’s big, jazzy vocals and Barry’s orchestra interweaving pieces of the Bond theme make this a perfect song for the franchise.
Live and Let Die (1973). The rockingest song Paul McCartney and Wings ever came up with, it was the theme for Roger Moore’s first time as Bond, and one of the few times we’d be able to take him seriously in the role.
A View to a Kill (1985). One of the whinier songs from Duran Duran, but they were at the height of their powers at this point, and the air of international intrigue they’d created for themselves through their jet-set videos made them a perfect fit for the world’s most famous superspy.
Thunderball (1965). Tom Jones at his most swinging and schmaltzy; the song definitely captures the lavish romance and unabashed extravagance of the franchise.
For Your Eyes Only (1981). It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Sheena Easton was hot. And the Scottish beauty actually appears on screen to perform it, the only time in the entire Bond history.
The Living Daylights (1987). Did you remember that the Norwegian trio a-ha had another song besides Take On Me' Yeah, didn’t think so. This one definitely sounds dated, all tinny and hollow from the synthesizers, and it’s too happy. As forgettable as Timothy Dalton, appearing here in the first of only two Bond turns.
All Time High from Octopussy (1983). Just a syrupy, lame, corny love song by Rita Coolidge.
Die Another Day (2002). A product of Madonna’s unfortunate electronica phase. She also had a brief cameo in the movie, Pierce Brosnan’s last. Not one of her better songs, but at least it’s one of her better acting performances.