The theme song for CASINO ROYALE is so bad, that it made me long for the good old days of Shirley Bassey. Here’s my ranking of the Bond songs…
1. Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey)
2. Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney)
3. Tomorrow Never Dies (KD Lang) The original intended opening theme song. It played over the end credits and is referenced throughout the score
4. Diamonds Are Forever (Shirley Bassey)
5. Thunderball (Tom Jones)
6. Goldeneye (Tina Turner)
7. Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me) (Carly Simon)
8. A View to a Kill (Duran Duran)
9. For Your Eyes Only (Sheena Easton)
10. You Only Live Twice (Nancy Sinatra)
11. We Have All The Time in the World (Louis Armstrong) (This technically wasn’t a theme song…but it plays a big role in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
11. Tomorrow Never Dies (Sheryl Crow)
(from this point on, they are all pretty bad, so it’s hard to rank them)
12. Die Another Day (Madonna)
13. From Russia, With Love (Matt Munro)
14. You Know My Name (Casino Royale) (Chris Cornell)
15. Man With The Golden Gun (Lulu) (As bad as this song is, it’s one of my guilty pleasures anyway…it’s so incredibly cheesy that it’s irresistable…"love is required, whenever he’s hired, it comes just before the kiillllll…")
16. Never Say Never Again (Lani Hall)
17. License To Kill (Gladys Knight)
18. The Living Daylights (Ah-ha)
19. The World Is Not Enough (Garbage)
20. All Time High (Octopussy) (Rita Coolidge)
21. Moonraker (Shirley Bassey)
UPDATE: A bigger geek than me has edited the original TOMORROW NEVER DIES theme (KD Lang’s SURRENDER) into the movie’s main title sequence so we can see how it might have been if the producers stuck with it instead of going with Sheryl Crow. Thanks to William Simon for the link.
Someone else with way too much time on their hands put Alice Cooper’s rejected attempt a MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN theme (released on his "Muscle of Love" album) onto the main titles of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN.
20 thoughts on “The Name is Geek, Big Geek”
Agree 100% on the KD Lang song; see:
for how it might have been.
I’d have to argue, though, over #2. For me, the main theme to ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE is one of the premiere pieces of Bond Music ever done.
How can you rank the fulsome voice of Matt Monro behind Madonna’s techno warble? Great call on kd lang’s “Surrender,” though. She’s got the ideal Bond theme voice and deserves a chance at another song.
You didn’t like Madonna’s Die Another Day? Heathen you are! (g)
My fave ever Bond theme is Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better, and McCartney’s Live and Let Die.
I don’t like You Know My Name, but I loved the motif from it that was referenced throughout the score, I thought that was an incredibly nice touch.
I also loved hearing the strings from the Bond theme when he was revived in his car–I took to suggest that this was his first time to cheat death.
And the reason Goldeneye is nice? It was written by Bono and The Edge.
I can’t believe how far down you put Thunderball, which is part of a matched set of perfect Bond songs with Goldfinger. To say it’s not as good as Diamonds are Forever? That’s just nuts.
For anyone out there who has wondered what it must have been like growing up in the Goldberg home, understand that this list represents what I consider the 10 worst years of my life. A boy can only sit outside of his brother’s bedroom for so long, listening to that brother warble along to Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey, before he goes a little fucking nuts.
Tod, what were you doing sitting outside your brother’s bedroom in the first place?
There are theme songs for all these Bond films? The opening credits usually had me so hypnotized by the silhouettes of naked women doing gymnastics in the nude while fingering handguns that I missed the music.
My faves are Live and Let Die, Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, Goldeneye, and Die Another Day (Madonna sounds great).
My uncle made a good point about the theme songs for Bond movies. All of the songs have been have been hits because of the movies. But most people don’t know any of the lyrics besides the actual movie title. (Here my uncle shouts out “Thunderball!” Yeah, that’s the only part of the song I remember.) He’s right. While I can remember the tunes well, I only remember the parts of the song with the actual movie title in the sentence.
And this is the first Bond song without the name of the movie in it. Let’s see how much of the song I’ll remember in a couple weeks. Let alone the name of the song.
The Carly Simon song for The Spy Who Loved Me.
I would put “Diamonds Are Forever” and “You Only Live Twice” right at the top. — I also respectfully disagree with your assessment of “License to Kill” and “The World of Not Enough” … I love them both.
I loved All Time High by Coolidge and pretty much hated that Sheryl Crow song. I have no idea why Sheryl Crow is famous. Even though I generally like Tom Jones (cheez) I dislike Thunderball the theme though the movie is finally growing on me. And Moonraker isn’t that bad.
That evil Madonna song lodges in my head and I hate it.
It was outside the official series of movies, but I always liked the theme to the first version of ‘Casino Royale’. I suppose that makes me some kind of Bond heretic, but it had a great, bouncy, maybe cheesey, hook to it. And my memory can always easily summon it from the depths.
Maybe if this new theme is that reviled, they should have picked up the rights to the original and reworked it; sort of as a symbol that the whole franchise was being rebuilt…..
I remember watching Live And Let Die, just because I loved the theme song.
“Seven James Bonds at Casino Royale, they came to save the world and win the gal at Casino Royale. Six of them went to a heavenly spot, the seventh one is going to a place where it’s terribly…hot.”
“He’s got a red-head in his arms. Oh, he’s a lover, when you’re in trouble have no fear, look who’s here, Jaaaaames Boooond. They’ve got us on the run…with guns…and knives…we’re fighting for our lives…have no fear Bond is here. He’s going to save the world at Casino Royale…James Bond, is here, so have no fear…”
Yeah, great song. Burt Bacharach at his worst.
I’m a Chris Cornell/Audioslave/Soundgarden fan, so I don’t mind the new Casino Royale song. It’s not up to Chris’s usual stuff, but I don’t think he wrote the music. I believe that was David Arnold.
But his voice will always be fantastic.
I’d love to chat with the guy whose eyes rolled back into his head at the meeting where they decided to go with Sheryl Crow over kd lang for TOMORROW NEVER DIES. I remember sitting in the theater thinking “this song sucks” and then being amazed by the kd lang song. I sort of assumed that the front and back of the movie placement had be contractually obligated before the songs were recorded and lang’s turned out to be so much better. But, as they say, at a certain large values, incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
I thought the Madonna song was bad on first listening, but it is a goddamm earwig.
Gee, Anonymous, I was talking about the music, not the lyrics. I still think it’s a neat tune and I’d like to see someone update its orchestration for today.
Those lyrics (and I agree those are really stupid) can be jettisoned in favor of the reworking I called for…
The reedited title sequences are fun. The TMD one works better than TMWTGG, but I was impressed that the person who did the latter edited Alice Cooper’s name into the titles.
I wonder if anyone has edited “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” into the opening titles for THUNDERBALL, or Anthony Newley’s wan rendition of the title song into the opening titles for GOLDFINGER. (Of course, since the GOLDFINGER opening titles are nearly perfect, why re-edit them?)
One reason that TMD works better was because the main titles were designed for the song…that wasn’t the case with Alice Cooper’s song.
Someone has edited “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” into the THUNDERBALL main titles and it works perfectly…again, because the main titles were originally cut to the song. See for yourself: