Nobody does it better: Ranking all James Bond theme songs

Over 60 years of films and over 60 years of terrific theme songs.
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With the series beginning in 1962 with Dr. No, James Bond films are part of one of the longest-running and highest-grossing film franchises of all time. While the films are known for their high-stakes action set pieces, devious villains, and stunning “Bond women,” there is one aspect of James Bond films that sets them apart from other notable franchises: theme songs.

Every Bond film, save for a very select few, features a singular song by a different popular artist written exclusively for usage in each film’s opening credits – which themselves are always a trademark element for the franchise, as they foreshadow the theme of the film or particular plot points elegantly and stylishly.

Seeing as the Bond franchise has existed for over 60 years now, these songs are – as one would expect – something of a time capsule from the era that birthed them. From a Sinatra-lite crooner doing a simple pop song for 1963’s From Russia With Love to Duran Duran’s 1980s classic new wave theme for A View To A Kill to the moody, slinky torch song by Billie Eilish for 2021’s No Time To Die, listening to Bond songs in order is an exercise in tracking the history of pop music.

Bond songs tend to serve as time capsules for the era that spawned them.

Note: George Lazenby’s sole outing as James Bond, 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, features two notable songs. The theme song is an instrumental track and, thus, not listed, though the overall theme song of the film is likely Louis Armstrong’s “We Have All The Time In The World,” which also featured heavily in No Time To Die. Due to the confused nature of that film’s musical elements, neither are listed here.

Honorable Mention: The James Bond Theme from Dr. No

While not technically a “Bond song” in the sense that it’s an instrumental, the entire musical output of James Bond songs wouldn’t be complete without including John Barry’s legendary theme from the original 007 movie. Seeing as how many songs on this list include at least a brief instrumental motif based on this theme, it’s almost certainly the most notable musical element from the entire franchise.