Shaken, Not Stirred – James Bond Theme Songs
Last week, producers of the new James Bond movie Skyfall dropped the epic theme song from the movie, by British singer Adele. When it comes out in the United States Nov. 9 (Oct. 16 in the U.K.), Skyfall will be the 23rd James Bond movie since 1962, and each has had its own theme song.
Some of the world’s biggest artists performed these songs, including Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Paul McCartney, Madonna and Alicia Keys. Which one is your favorite? “Skyfall” certainly measures up to some of the better songs from years past – so let’s take a listen to that one first.
Aside from Adele, which theme songs from James Bond flicks are the best? Let’s pick a handful of our favorites:
The best known song from all the Bond films may also be one of the best: Shirley Bassey sang the theme from 1964’s Goldfinger. This was the Welsh singer’s only U.S. Top 40 hit.
Flip the coin and you get Matt Monro, a British singer who was a huge international star in the 1960s. He cut the title song for 1963’s From Russia With Love, but it didn’t run over the opening credits, as has become the tradition. Instead, an instrumental version ran at the beginning and Monro’s vocal version was heard on a radio in the film and over the closing credits.
OK, so you may have noticed something else up there in the From Russia With Love clip – it starts out with a shot of Bond through a gun barrel, or an eyeball. That iconic opening actually comes from the first James Bond film, Dr. No, from 1962. That little ditty you hear over it was composed by Monty Norman and arranged by the great John Barry – it was the first true James Bond theme song. It’s followed by a highly stylized main title sequence, usually both created by Maurice Binder, but in this case Binder only designed the gunbarrel sequence. Robert Brownjohn is responsible for the title sequence in From Russia With Love.