The Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs

Andy Greene
Rolling Stone

The James Bond series has undergone many changes over the decades, but the films' producers have never stopped asking the biggest pop stars of the day to record theme songs. Adele is the latest member of the club, with her new title song for Skyfall. Many of the Bond themes that came before her have become classics, while others were quickly forgotten. Which way will her song go? While we wait to find out, here's a look back at the 10 greatest James Bond theme songs.

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10: Tom Jones, 'Thunderball' (1965)

Just months after Tom Jones broke onto the charts with "It's Not Unusual," the producers of Sean Connery's fourth Bond film signed him up. Jones wasn't their first choice: Shirley Bassey, Dionne Warwick and Johnny Cash also submitted songs for Thunderball, but at the last possible minute they opted for the Welsh singer. It became Jones' third Top 40 hit in America, and has been part of his Las Vegas show ever since.

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9: Louis Armstrong, 'We Have All the Time in the World' (1969)

James Bond title songs, as a rule, have the name of the movie in the chorus. That was a bit of a challenge with On Her Majesty's Secret Service, so producers opted to go with an instrumental in the opening sequence. Hal David and Burt Bacharach were brought on board to write another song for the movie, and they brought in Louis Armstrong to sing it. The 68-year-old jazz great was sick at the time, but he nailed the song in just a single take. He died less than two years later.

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8: Matt Monro, 'From Russia With Love' (1963)

Matt Monro never made a big splash in America, but in Europe the smooth crooner made the ladies swoon – at least until the Beatles came and destroyed his career. It was in those final pre-Beatlemania months of 1963 that Monro was hired to sing the From Russia With Love title theme. It's an old-school approach to the title song, but it's aged quite well and is a great time capsule of the era.

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7: Madonna, 'Die Another Day' (2002)

For Pierce Brosnan's final run as James Bond, producers called in Madonna, who was hot after the back-to-back success of Ray of Light and Music. She hired hip French producer Mirwais (who had worked on Music) to help her craft the edgy electronic track. It was a huge hit all over the world – the biggest Bond theme in years.

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6: Duran Duran, 'A View to a Kill' (1985)

Duran Duran were one of the biggest bands in the world when they signed on to write "A View To A Kill" in 1985. The Timothy Dalton movie is largely forgotten, but the song has become a 1980s classic. It's the only Bond song to hit Number One on the charts, and it is a regular part of the band's setlist to this day. The song also marked the last time the original five members of Duran Duran worked together for 16 years.

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