Ranking the 5 Best James Bond Theme Songs

James Bond is known for two things: being one of the world’s greatest spies and having terrific theme music. With a slew of books and movies out in the world dedicated to the handsome sleuth, including rumors of the next one, we thought it best to explore the British spy’s best tracks. Here below, we will look at the top five James Bond theme songs, from the mysterious to the classic.

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[RELATED: The Meaning Behind Billie Eilish’s Oscar-Winning “No Time to Die” and How She and Finneas Used to Write James Bond Theme Songs for Fun]

5. “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey from Goldfinger (1964)

This song hit the No. 8 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its release in 1964 as the title song for the James Bond film Goldfinger. Oozing a mysterious quality, Shirley Bassey, who will appear again later on this list, is the quintessential Bond theme singer. The song, which was composed by John Barry and includes lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, has since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. And on it, Bassey sings,

He’s the man, the man with the Midas touch
A spider’s touch
Such a cold finger
Beckons you to enter his web of sin
But don’t go in

4. “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings from Live and Let Die (1973)

This song from the former Beatle and his band Wings was the title track for the 1973 Bond film Live and Let Die. Written by Paul and his wife Linda and produced by George Martin, this track is bombastic and sticky, much like many of the songs McCartney has written and released over his career. And on it, he sings,

When you were young and your heart was an open book
You used to say live and let live
(You know you did, you know you did, you know you did)
But if this ever changing world in which we’re living
Makes you give in and cry

Say live and let die
(Live and let die)
Live and let die, let it die
(Live and let die)

3. “Skyfall” by Adele from Skyfall (2012)

The most recent song on this list comes from the British-born, big-voiced singer Adele. The title song for the 2012 film Skyfall, this track was written by Adele and Paul Epworth and features Adele’s emotive, swelling, and full voice. It builds and builds over its nearly four minutes and in the end, Adele is a ball of fire swirling and singing,

This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again

For this is the end
I’ve drowned and dreamt this moment
So overdue, I owe them
Swept away, I’m stolen

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together

2. “Diamonds Are Forever” by Shirley Bassey from Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

The second song from Bassey on this list, many younger music fans might know this song from when it was sampled by Kanye West for his track “Diamonds from Sierra Leone.” But Bassey’s version, written by John Barry and Don Black, is the title track to the 1971 Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. On the song, Bassey sings of jewels, offering,

Diamonds are forever, they are all I need to please me
They can stimulate and tease me
They won’t leave in the night
I’ve no fear that they might desert me

1. “James Bond Theme” by John Barry & Orchestra from Dr. No (1962)

This instrumental theme song has been used in each of the James Bond movies ever since the 1962 film Dr. No. It has become part of popular culture and as a result, the soundtrack to any spy thriller scene. Written by Monty Norman, the song was produced by John Burgess. Together, they created a classic track and the No. 1 James Bond song of all time.

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