The next installment of Daniel Craig as British Secret Service agent James Bond is set for November 2015, and it looks like our newest 007 theme song diva will be Sam Smith. Unconfirmed reports indicate he edged out Lana Del Rey for the job.
It’ll make him the first openly gay singer to provide a Bond song. Fun.
Smith will be joining a pretty exclusive club by gracing the opening credits of the new film. It’s an impressive bunch to come before him, though not all the songs can be called “good” exactly.
These ones can, though.
Scroll down for a countdown of the 10 best Bond theme songs:
10. Alicia Keys & Jack White – “Another Way To Die” (Quantum of Solace, 2008)
This unusual pairing of talent paid off. The odd couple of brilliant songwriters delivered something rock enough to feel edgy for Bond, but still classy in its own right.
9. Louis Armstrong – “We Have All The Time In The World” (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969)
This was the last song Louis Armstrong recorded before he died, and rumor has it he laid it down in one take. There’s a bittersweet element to the track, perhaps because Louis’ own time was so close to being up as he sang “we have all the time in the world for love.” The song was rereleased in 1994 and got to number 3 on the UK charts.
8. Carly Simon – “Nobody Does It Better” (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)
This song was a big hit for Simon, and in 1977 she was at the very top of her game. Cover versions can be heard in other flims — Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Little Black Book, Lost in Translation and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
7. Garbage – “The World Is Not Enough” (The World Is Not Enough, 1999)
Garbage did what a few artist before them had tried unsuccessfully to do and modernized the classic “Bond song” style. We hope Shirley Bassey was happy with this one, but more on her later.
6. Gladys Knight – “License To Kill” (License To Kill, 1989)
“I’ve got a license to kill, and you know I’m going straight for your heart.” The corny lyrics to this song set against a distinctly late-’80s synthesized soundscape are the exception to the rule. In this case, two wrongs definitely make a right.
5. Tina Turner – “Goldeneye” (Goldeneye, 1995)
Tina is the perfect seductive songstress in this mid-90s throwback to Bond’s classic late 60s, early 70s power ballads. Plus she can’t even be bothered to stand up for most of this video — she’s clearly confident the song does all the heavy lifting.
4. Madonna – “Die Another Day” (Die Another Day, 2002)
A new decade needed a new Bond sound, and Madonna served a track that worked in movie theaters and dance parties alike. We can’t be the only ones who had this one stuck in out heads for a few months.
3. Adele – “Skyfall” (Skyfall, 2012)
Adele was the perfect choice for a slicker, more stylized Bond. Her voice is simultaneously enormous and soulful, and the way she manages to incorporate the classic Bond theme is expertly done. And it’s just a damn good song.
2/1. Shirley Bassey – “Goldfinger” (Goldfinger, 1964) / “Diamonds Are Forever” (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971)
When you talk about Bond songs, there is only one real choice for number one. In this case, Shirley Bassey gets the one and two slots, for “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Goldfinger.” Shirley is the definitive image of a Bond diva — she created the template, after all. There’s a reason these songs feel iconic even decades after they were first heard in cinemas, and Shirley is it.