Best James Bond Songs (part two)

After covering the bottom of the pile in part one, let us now turn our focus to the middle of the table. Quality is definitely improving, everything here is perfectly respectable if lacking some of the “wow” factor which seperates them from the top entries (in part three). Without further ado:

18. If The Was A Man (The Pretenders, from The Living Daylights)
Like the other Dalton film, The Living Daylights ends on a love song. This theme is integrated throughout the main score. It’s technically the last Bond song we get from John Barry and whilst its lush and romantic, it isn’t necessarily that Bondian.

To be honest, I preferred their other collaboration with The Pretenders on the film – Where Has Everybody Gone which definitely is very Bondian. In fact this song just “SCREAMS” Bond with its muted wah-wah brass. The track is technically exempt from this list being as it’s not used during any titles (I’d place it higher). That said I’m going to post it here anyway because it is one of my absolute favourites (even if it isn’t a song which is widely recognised):

17. Moonraker (Shirley Bassey)
Whilst not one of the more popular entries, it has grown on me over the years. There are two versions: the more common mellow opening titles and an upbeat disco version for the ending which isn’t anywhere near as effective (even if I do like the funky opening part). The falling string motif on the opening version is absolutely sublime. However this is clearly not a song written for Shirley Bassey’s booming vocal talents (indeed both Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis were initially considered). I suspect there is a reason you don’t see Shirley Bassey perform this one as often as her other Bond songs but it’s classy entry nonetheless.

16. Thunderball (Tom Jones)
Expecting to get some heat for the low-ish placement of this song. The track is actually a late replacement for the film’s original song (Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang sung by Dionne Warrick, Shirley Bassey also recorded a version of this song). This song was dropped because it didn’t contain the title of the film in it (but you can hear it played all over the film’s score). Back to what we got: Thunderball has a masterful opening/ending and Tom Jones clearly is belting it out here. Whilst these elements are powerful and bombastic I would not consider this one of Tom’s better songs (and indeed the same applies as a Bond song). That end vocal note though is mighty impressive and you have to give Tom top marks for holding it (rumour has it he almost passed out)!

15. Nobody Does it Better (Carly Simon, From The Spy Who Loved Me)
Again, expect some heat for this. Never really been a favourite of mine- despite the nice piano intro. I can’t quite place why this one doesn’t work for me as it is clearly loved by so many. It was the first time a main-title song wasn’t named after the film (a sign of things to come).  The song went on to receive an Academy Award nomination.

14. Goldeneye (Tina Turner)
I wanted to like this one more. Perhaps it is the fact it isn’t woven into the score. Perhaps it’s the fact that I expected better from U2 members Bono and The Edge. To be honest their earlier effort for Batman Forever: ‘Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me‘ was a superior song. I do love the opening strings, the piano motif and Tina’s voice however. And if nothing else it is better than The Experience Of Loving!

13. The Living Daylights (A-Ha)
John Barry and A-Ha notoriously fought during the making of this track – despite being initially excited at the prospect of working together. The end result is better than it probably should be, but is a little bit hodge-podge. It lacks the bite of the previous film’s song (A View To A Kill) and is seemingly rather mellow in some parts. Considering all the conflict involved making this record it is interesting to compare the film version with A-Ha’s album version.

12. For Your Eyes Only (Sheena Easton)
I think this one surprised many people. Scottish Singer Sheena Easton also has the honour of being (to date) the only Singer to actually appear in the title sequence. This was also the first Bond film I saw in the cinema, so I have a soft spot it!

11. Skyfall (Adele)
It’s getting painful now, so many good tracks remaining, only a limited number of spaces. It was nice to see Bond songs return to their former glory after the Another Way To Die/Quantum of Solace mis-step. Adele does – well – her Adele thing to good effect. The end result is good, if somewhat lacking in terms of originality. Special kudos to Epstein for his lovely arrangement in the background accompanying Adele’s sultry vocals. This was the first Bond song to win an Oscar, it also nearly won the UK chart battle.

10. You Know My Name (Chris Cornell, from Casino Royale)
Speaking of chart battles, I have no idea where things went wrong for this song. In fact I’m not even sure if a single ever even released (I remember looking at the time) and it wasn’t on the album soundtrack either . This is a real shame and wasted opportunity as now we are rocking! It is a harder edge sound for a harder edged Bond and former Soundgarden frontman gives it his all. I always love the bolder Bond songs. The lyrics are very fitting for the film and it is all woven into the main score – the way things should be for Bond!

With tomorrow drawing close, I look forward to covering my favourites (no doubt you can work out what’s still to come). Also looking forward to finally hearing the latest song for the first time. Click here to read part three (the top entries in the list).


4 responses to “Best James Bond Songs (part two)

  1. Pingback: Best James Bond Songs (part three) | Ferny films

  2. Pingback: Best James Bond Songs (part one) | Ferny films

  3. Andy, there WAS a single released for You Know My Name. Hard to find, but I have a copy in my shelf. It contained a nice version of the eponymous theme (well… nice if you happen to like it) plus an acoustic rendition of Black Hole Sun. You can easily find the cover on Google.

  4. Thanks, will have to look for it.

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