Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Will Sam Smith's Bond Theme Beat These Classics?


So it's official: Sam Smith will be singing the official song for the new James Bond film, Spectre.

Perfectly timed ahead of the film's release on 26 October, Writing’s On The Wall will be out on 25 September, when we're sure everyone will have an opinion.

But how will it fare against the long list of Bond classics? We've put together our top 10 - see if you agree (spoiler: there's no Madonna).

Remember,  for your ears only.

1. Live and Let Die - Paul McCartney and Wings

The former Beatle’s bombastic effort for the 1973 film was the first Bond theme song to be nominated for an Academy Award and was one of Wings’ biggest hits. The song is big, urgent and, like all good Bond songs, difficult to get out of your head.

2. On Her Majesty's Secret Service - We have all the time in the world, Louis Armstrong

Not perhaps a very traditional Bond theme because of its more subdued note but Louis Armstrong’s beautifully mournful vocals make it one of the very best. The song was written by Bond master John Barry who said that it was the finest piece of music he had written for a Bond movie. Who are we to argue with that?

3. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey

Perhaps the iconic Bond song of all time, Goldfinger is Shirley Bassey’s first and best. The tune is perfectly suited to her powerful voice and every time she hits a big note a thousand Sunday afternoons come flooding back. Pure gold. 

4. A View To A kill – Duran Duran

Duran Duran were the biggest band around when bassist John Taylor expressed an interest in writing the next theme song to Bond impresario Cubby Broccoli. Luckily Cubby knew a good thing when he heard it and signed them up. The result was one of the band's most famous songs and the only Bond theme to this day to reach number one in the US Billboard Hot 100.

5. Nobody Does It Better –  The Spy Who Loved Me, Carly Simon

Recorded in 1977 for the film The Spy Who Loved Me, Nobody Does It Better is one of only five (now six) Bond themes to be titled differently to the film. The song was such a hit and became so synonymous with Simon’s work that it was included in the title to her greatest hits compilation album The Very Best of Carly Simon: Nobody Does It Better. Modest.

6. GoldenEye

There’s only one person in the world who could compete with Shirley Bassey for sheer vocal force and that person is, of course, Tina Turner. GoldenEye is the Bond song for anyone under 35 because it was the theme to the movie that revitalised the franchise in 1995 and, for our money, remains one of the best films (and songs) of all. For Tina, James?

7. Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey

Another belter from the Dame, Diamonds Are Forever was recorded in 1971 for Sean Connery’s final Bond film (except Never Say Never Again which doesn’t count) and is a lot of people’s favourite. Bassey was brought back again for 1979’s Moonraker but never quite managed to hit these heights. The song was made popular again after it was sampled by Kanye West in Diamonds From Sierra Leone

8. Thunderball – Tom Jones

The second biggest Welsh diva to ever sing a Bond theme, Tom Jones recorded this in 1965 after the producers had already turned down versions by Dionne Warwick, Johnny Cash and, of course, Shirley Bassey. It proved so popular that Jones still sings the song to this day in his Vegas show. Huh!

9. You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra

The twinkly violins and lush harmonies of the first few bars of You Only Live Twice are perhaps the most memorable opening of any Bond song and are yet another reminder of the genius of composer John Barry. The singer tasked with matching his quality was Nancy Sinatra who, in 1967, had just had a massive hit with These Boots Are Made For Walking. She seemed to do a pretty good job because the song has had a long life, being endlessly covered by people like Bjork and Coldplay. 


10. All Time High – Octopussy, Rita Coolidge

All Time High is a rather unusual sounding theme song but with music by John Barry and lyrics by Tim Rice (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s word man) it still has that distinctive Bond theme memorability. It was recorded in 1983 by Rita Coolidge and is as wonderfully over the top as the movie. 



ShortList Infiltrates The Set Of Spectre

bond 2.jpg

Mysterious New Spectre Trailer


Noel Gallagher: "I would do Bond Theme in a Heartbeat"


The Other Bond Cars In Spectre Revealed


15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Skyfall


15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Goldeneye



Some massive names have been added to this year's Lovebox lineup

Solange, Kaytranada and Jamie XX are all on the bill

21 Feb 2017

Why it's time to celebrate the second division Britpop bands

As Sleeper reform, this is why you need to look past Oasis, Blur & Pulp

by Dave Fawbert
15 Feb 2017

Circa Waves' Ultimate Playlist

The band's singer Kieran Shudall reveals his top tunes

by Joe Ellison
15 Feb 2017

The revenge of the Kaiser Chiefs

The indie-rock band that refuses to die

by Louise Donovan
15 Feb 2017

Star Wars' Cantina Band is Australia's favourite song to have sex to

The infectious song is the nookie tune of choice Down Under

15 Feb 2017

You can now stream Prince’s back catalogue, but would he be pleased?

Party like it's 1999

by Gary Ogden
13 Feb 2017

Adele performs stunning tribute to George Michael at Grammys

"Can we please start it again? I’m sorry, I can’t mess this up for him.”

13 Feb 2017

Watch Bruno Mars and The Time's rousing Prince tribute at the Grammys

Bruno and The Time pay their respects

by Gary Ogden
13 Feb 2017

James Corden put on a special Carpool Karaoke at Grammys last night

Brit host also rapped in front of Jay-Z and fell down the stairs in pratfall

by Dave Fawbert
13 Feb 2017

Relive the golden musical mid-2000s with this mashup generator

Too many DJs?

by Dave Fawbert
10 Feb 2017