James Bond 007: The Best And Worst Theme Songs

Everyone has their favorites, right?

A new Bond film being released is like an international holiday for many. Part of the tradition is listening to the new Bond theme song when it’s released. So, in honor of Sam Smith’s “The Writings on the Wall” being released we wanted to take a look back at previous songs from the franchise and pick the best and worst from each Bond era.

The Best:

Harold Sakata (Oddjob) is the Korean butler with incredible power and a razor-sharp bowler. He does not speak one word throughout the whole of the film.


There’s a reason why Adelle’s song one an Oscar. There’s a defiant energy to this one that fits the movie perfectly. Adelle’s voice crackles, building to a really powerful climax by the song’s end.

You Know My Name

Okay, so we lied just this once about the one song per Bond rule. Chris Cornell’s rock song is firing on all cylinders, ushering in the Craig era with a bombastic confidence that would characterize the character for years to come.

The World Is Not Enough

Probably better than the actual movie, Garbage’s theme is confidently led by Shirley Mason’s seductive voice that echoes the themes of the actual film.

The Living Daylights

Pretty much everything that’s good about 80s pop. A-Ha manages to capture the danger and duplicity of Dalton’s first outing of Bond well.

Nobody Does It Better

This is a song that’s managed to transcend the franchise while still being a mascot for it. It’s grown in popularity over the years to the point where many are surprised the song originated from a Bond film. The actual title has also become something of an unofficial slogan for the franchise.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Theme

While it isn’t an actual song, it did play over the main titles so we’re gonna count it. Everything that was cool about 60s spy movies is distilled into this theme. It moves well, has an element of daring intrigue to it, and really helped elevate the film. All in all, it’s considered one of the best instrumentals of the franchise and was even included in the trailer for SPECTRE.


Another undisputed classic. Shirley Mason just kills this song on every level. It sets up the villain far before we actually see him, putting a veil of menace over the entire film. Considered by many to be the quintessential Bond theme.

Honorable Mentions:


A View To A Kill

Duran Duran rocks and so does this song. Easily the best thing about the film. We had to choose Nobody Does It Better, however, due to its iconic status.


Bono and the Edge wrote this one and Tina Turner’s vocals really let it shine. While there’s a disconnect between the song and the rest of the film, its sass and mystery set the stage so well we can’t help but give it a shout out.

Live and Let Die

This song is amazing and also considered a true classic. If it weren’t for Carlie Simon’s Nobody Does It Better being so iconic for the franchise this would have easily nabbed the Roger Moore spot.

The Worst:


Another Way To Die

Jack White and Alicia Keys are amazing artists, but their duet together just feels like they’ve been mismatched. There are moments when it works, but overall it’s about as much a misfire as the film it was written for. It does, however, have its fans.

Die Another Day

We love Madonna, but if it weren’t for some cool violin sections this song would be a complete dud. The lyrics are nonsensical, it’s overproduced, and you’re left wondering what it’s actually all about by the end. Actually… come to think of it that perfectly describes the film too.

Licence To Kill

Remember what we said about The Living Daylights being the best of 80s pop? Well, Licence To Kill is the worst. It’s not terrible, but it’s overlong and meandering.


For such a ridiculous movie, Moonraker’s theme doesn’t have much going on. They’re clearing going for majestic but end up just being sleepy.

We Have All The Time In the World

Speaking of sleepy, the second theme from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service just goes on… and on… and on… *snore*

We tried to pick a worst song for Connery, but the truth is none of them are actually bad. Of course, we’re willing to bet not everyone is going to agree with us on these. Where do you guys think the theme for SPECTRE fits in? We’d love to hear your favorites and least favorites in the comments!



One Comment

  1. I probably shouldn’t take a list that starts with,”There’s a reason Adele’s song one an Oscar” but the sheer amount of wrong that made the worst list is staggering in it’s lack of objectivity (to say nothing of a lack of taste). Some of those wouldn’t have made my best list but they’d be far from the worst of the 23 or so tracks that the Bond movies have graced us with. I agree with most of the best ones, which is why it’s stunning how bad you got the worst list so wrong.

    And View to a Kill really should be in the best list over Living Daylights.

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