One of the pleasures of anticipating a new James Bond film is considering which singer or band would be most appropriate to add themselves to the long and diverse list of James Bond themes. (Wouldn't a Radiohead theme song be just great? Or the Pixies?) It's almost like winning some kind of award. These songs will likely be revived and re-packaged for generations to come. Not all of the choices have been particularly timeless ("The Living Daylights" by A-ha), and many others are not without a cheeseball flavor (Tom Jones strutting through "Thunderball"). It's also obvious that a great song does not guarantee a good movie, and vice-versa. Hence, as terrific as the new Casino Royale is, the new song by Chris Cornell is only so-so.
In choosing my seven, I decided to omit Monty Norman's original, instrumental theme, written for Dr. No (1962), but used again in various forms throughout the series.
1. "Goldfinger," by Shirley Bassey
Bassey and the Sean Connery era go together like "martini" and "shaken, not stirred." She had that bold, brassy voice that sounded not unlike the wah-wah horns or the twangy guitar that accompany all that 1960s music. It's the most instantly recognizable song, and the most closely associated with its specific film. Plus how can you not love those bizarre rhymes, like "Midas touch" with "spider's touch" and "Goldfinger" with "cold finger"? Pure genius! Bassey returned to record "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971) and "Moonraker" (1979), the latter for an undeserving Roger Moore.